The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa was born out of the London Missionary Society in the early 1880s. The Church contributed to the socio-economic development of the nation. Stored in unsuitable archives, the material is in urgent need of preservation.
The London Missionary Society (LMS) was established as a predominantly Congregationalist Mission Society. The LMS was largely Reformed in character and advocated for the emancipation of slavery. The objective of the LMS was to evangelise the world and establish foreign missions in pursuit of its objective. The society arrived in Bechuanaland (today’s Botswana) in 1835. The records of the church will show the socio-economic development of the nation.
The records are stored in obsolete archives, and there is a risk of the loss of valuable information. None of the sites has officers assigned to take care of the records. The records are exposed to damage and deterioration and stored with other items such as cleaning detergents, with no appropriate environmental conditions for the records.
The project visited 11 sites of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA). These were in all six regions of the church, which represents the geographical spread of the country. The team met with church leaders in each site and held interviews to gain more information about the documents. The project improved awareness of the importance of the documents, and promoted the inclusion of preservation methods in the archives.