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Records of Congregations

The Presbyterian Historical Society supports the record-keeping activities of all entities of the Church. For congregations, we carry out that mission by digitizing records; storing records of permanent value; and providing advice on records retention, storage, and preservation.

We digitize original records and microfilm for PC(USA) congregations at a subsidized rate.

  digitization 

We hold original records of permanent value on deposit in an environmentally controlled archival storage area with specialized fire detection and security systems. Congregations can deposit records at no charge. You retain ownership of the records and may request their return at any time with written authorization from the clerk of session.

Records Deposit

ADVICE ON RECORDS MANAGEMENT

The Presbyterian Historical Society provides advice to congregations on records management but does not hold congregation records of temporary value. Our general retention schedule for congregations follows below. Retention requirements for financial and administrative records vary from state to state. For further assistance, congregations should consult Records Archivist David Staniunas, an accountant, or legal counsel.

RETENTION SCHEDULE FOR CONGREGATIONS

Types

Retention Period

Minutes

permanent

Registers

permanent

Annual reports

permanent

Bylaws/charters

permanent

Incorporation records

permanent

Annual budgets

permanent

Annual audits

permanent

Annual financial statements

permanent

 
Subject files: correspondence, minutes, or other records
surrounding subject matter of continuing administrative
or legal value, or comprising information on the mission,
vision, and actions of the congregation
 

permanent

Manuals/handbooks

permanent

Newspapers/newsletters

permanent

Brochures/promotional material (1 copy)

permanent

Photographs

permanent

Architectural drawings, plats, plans, blueprints

permanent

Wills, bequests

permanent

Legal/judicial case records

permanent

Loan agreements

satisfaction + 20 years

Property appraisals, records of sale

20 years after sale

Personnel records/employee records

employment + 7 years

Contracts

active + 6 years

Accounts payable

7 years

Accounts payable invoices

7 years

Accounts receivable records

7 years

Bank statements

7 years

Canceled checks

7 years

Cash receipt records

7 years

Donations (regular, weekly)

7 years

Expense reports

7 years

FICA / W2 records

7 years

Payroll records

7 years

Petty cash records

7 years

Receipts of purchases

7 years

Bank deposit slips

3 years

General/routine correspondence
(acknowledgments, requests, travel arrangements, etc.)

3 years

Travel plans/arrangements

3 years

Periodic financial statements

2 years

Data for updating mailing lists

1 year

Invitations

1 year

Meeting notices

1 year

Mailing lists

active

Reference/resource materials

active