Baptist associations formed around the voluntary membership of churches in a particular geographic region for the purposes of mutual support and encouragement, as well as to combine resources for common goals.  Given their historically fierce insistence on the complete autonomy of the local congregation, one wonders how Baptists ever managed to organize into any sort of denomination.  But they did, and one of the best records of how they did it is found in a remarkable set of grass-roots annual publications known as church association minutes.   ABHS Archivist Jan Ballard has written an article for the web site “Interpreting and Incorporating Religious History“, part of the AASLH (American Association for State and Local History).  The article showcases one of the many collections at ABHS. 

ABHS continues to collect association minutes.  Researchers can access these publications as well as many other interesting historical records of Baptist churches and association.


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