The Wisconsin Conference Commission on Archives and History is pleased to announce the inauguration of a new award to be presented annually at Annual Conference, beginning in 2018. The Lois C. Olsen “Ministry of Memory” award aims to honor Lois by recognizing and encouraging excellence in archival or historical work in our local churches or our Annual Conference.

Lois Olsen was a mainstay of the Wisconsin Commission on Archives and History and the Wisconsin Conference Historical Museum for the last 30 years of her life. She dedicated herself to the collection and preservation of the history of local churches throughout the Wisconsin Conference of The United Methodist Church. She served as editor of Flashbacks, the Archives historical newsletter, from 1995 to 2011. In that capacity she spearheaded the collection of local church histories from around the state. She prepared several major displays for our Conference Historical Museum in Greenfield, WI, and she authored several historical books including: Contentment is Great Gain: A Missionary Midwife in Sierra Leone; Goodly Tents: A History of Camp Meetings in Wisconsin; and All God’s Children: A History of African American Methodists.

Lois grew up in the small towns of Wisconsin, the daughter of the Rev. Clifford Olsen, a pastor in the Evangelical Church, then in the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and finally with The United Methodist Church. Lois’ early goal was to become a missionary. She succeeded and served for many years in West Africa as a missionary mid-wife. When she eventually returned to her Wisconsin home, she continued her career in nursing and mid-wifery. In addition to this, she began her work as a historian of our Wisconsin Conference and we want to honor her for all the contributions that she made to ensuring that our history be preserved and promoted throughout the state. She exemplified the view that an understanding and appreciation for our past is essential to our future. Our Commission wants to recognize and honor Lois’s passion for the history of the Wisconsin Conference of The United Methodist Church and honor those that carry on her spirit and commitment to history.

To honor Lois, the Wisconsin Conference UMC Commission on Archives and History will award the Ministry of Memory Award at Annual Conference each year to recognize and encourage excellence in archival and historical work in our local churches and our Annual Conference. All members of the Wisconsin UMC, except current CAH members, are eligible to receive this award. Anyone may submit a nomination. The Lois C. Olsen Ministry of Memory Award is meant to identify and inspire those Wisconsin United Methodists, especially at the level of the local church, who through their efforts have made significant contributions to the preservation of the records and stories that define us as a faith community.

When making a nomination, please consider any person, clergy or lay, who has demonstrated superior work in one or more areas of archival or historical work within or beyond the local church in the Wisconsin Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Nominations should consider such activities as:

  • Collecting materials at the local church or Conference level
  • Collecting and preserving historical artifacts
  • Recording oral histories and collecting local church stories
  • Leading archival or history presentations
  • Leading archival/historical groups
  • Promoting the Ministry of memory in our Wisconsin Conference
  • Facilitating the work of the Conference historical museum
  • Caring for and preserving historical records from our Conference
  • Writing local church history or Conference or denominational history
  • Preparing historical exhibits
  • Restoration of local church buildings

Nominations should be limited to one page (~500 words) describing the contributions of the nominee. The nomination deadline shall be on the timeline of other Wisconsin Conference awards. Nominations will be considered by a Committee consisting of the Officers of the Commission on Archives and History plus the Archivist. Their decision will be announced at Annual Conference.

Send nominations by April 15, 2018 to:

Lois C. Olsen Ministry of Memory Award
Wisconsin Conference Archives
750 Windsor St.
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 53590


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