Watch for the latest edition of the Commission on Archives and History historical newsletter, Flashbacks, in the mail or your inbox soon. Flashbacks newsletters are a great resource for articles of historical interest, local church histories and special anniversary celebrations marked by our local churches. The upcoming edition includes details on the “50 Years Together” Annual Conference celebration, the eighth annual Archives/Heritage Retreat and local church historian workshop, and the anniversary celebrations of several Wisconsin churches.

In addition to highlighting the current outreach activities of the Conference Archives, Flashbacks continues their series exploring the theme of “A Place in the Pulpit” - Women in the UMC Tradition. This series began in the May 2017 edition and continued in the November 2017 and June 2018 editions. Below is a sample of what you will find in the upcoming issue:

Journey to Ecclesiastical Suffrage

Part 3: “Women as Ordained Supply Pastors 1924 – 1956”

When we last left the story of Methodist women and their struggle for full clergy rights, the 1920 General Conference had granted women the right to local preaching licenses but denied their request for ordination, let alone full clergy rights. However, another incremental step toward that goal would occur with the following General Conference in 1924. The push for full clergy rights at that 1924 Conference was championed by M. Madeline Southard. The 1924 General Conference responded to Southard’s plea by granting “local ordination” to women. To Southard’s bitter disappointment, women remained barred from entry into the ministerial fraternity. Full clergy rights would have to wait until 1956.

So what had been accomplished? Well, with the proper education women could be received into the orders of Deacon and Elder within an Annual Conference. However, unlike their male counterparts they would not be guaranteed an appointment or be eligible to participate in the pension program. They were required to attend Annual Conference, but were not allowed to vote. They were in the clerical limbo of what was known as an “accepted supply” pastors. And so, with the ministerial door slightly ajar, how did Methodist women in Wisconsin respond? Even under the restrictions placed on them there were a handful of determined women who responded to God’s call in their life.

If your church is looking to celebrate an upcoming anniversary, don’t forget to contact the Archives to see how they can help in your preparations. Be sure to send the Archives any special bulletins or histories or other materials that you produce to be saved in the Archives or included in the next Flashbacks.

And finally, don’t miss a special year-end opportunity to become one of Archives’ angels and have your donation to the ministry of the Conference Archives doubled thanks to a generous anonymous matching grant. Find them among the Advance projects.

If you or your church wants to be included on the mailing or email list, or if you need more information, please contact the Archives at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Previous newsletters, going back to 1973, can be found on the Archives & History page.