Secretaries: find help at

August 06, 2010

By Carol Johanneck

New to a church office—particularly a United Methodist church office? Or are you an experienced church office worker who is occasionally stumped by a request? The Minnesota Conference web site,, has answers or guidance for many of the tasks you face.


You may discover filing cabinets full of old worship bulletins, fliers, newsletters, rosters, and financial records. STOP before throwing them all out. Search the conference online “Forms and Documents” for “retention.” You will see a document called “Record Retention Schedule.” This information, provided by the conference archivist, tells you how long you need to keep certain items—some by law, others for reference.


Suppose someone asks a question you’ve never heard before, like “If we are videotaping our service, do we need copyright permission for each piece of music recorded?” Luckily for you, you don’t have to spend hours scanning through Google search results or listening to “hold” music. Look on the conference web site for the Quick Links box, and then click on “United Methodist Resources.” On that page, select “InfoServ.” When you get to the InfoServ page, click on “Ask InfoServ Now” and submit the requested information and your question. The InfoServ staff will respond by e-mail or phone. Your apportionment dollars pay for this service and the staff at InfoServ are a great source of information.

Have questions about United Methodism?

Speaking of apportionments—do you know what they are? Look under the Finance and Administration tab. Choose “Apportionment Information” from the drop-down box for an explanation. You can learn even more about the history and structure of United Methodist Church at, the denominational web site, or, a site for seekers. Consider taking the online course “United Methodist 101.” For more information visit and click on “Training” in the support center menu at the bottom of the page.

Want to learn from veteran church staff?

Training for United Methodist office professionals is held each year as part of the annual meeting of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS). The next gathering is on Oct. 18 at Normandale Hylands United Methodist Church, 9920 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington. The theme is “Methodist Matters II.”

The Rev. Dr. David Bard, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Duluth, will lead a workshop on polity—the structure and governance of the United Methodist Church. Learn about what bishops are and what they do, the importance of legislation at annual conference session and who is able to vote, how to address issues when your church is not following The Book of Discipline, and more.

If you have been confused by the new membership categories of baptized member, professing member, etc. now is your chance to learn from an expert. Beanie Rankin of the General Council on Finance and Administration will teach participants about membership and membership records.

You do not need to be a member of PAUMCS to attend this training. Paid office professionals and volunteers are welcome. Brochures with information about Methodist Matters II will be mailed to all United Methodist churches soon. Be sure to ask your pastor and Staff Parish Relations Committee to give you the day off with pay, cover the nominal registration fee, and reimburse your mileage. The small investment is well worth it.

More information will soon be available (you guessed it!) on the conference web site. Hover over “Finance and Administration,” then “Professional Association of UM Church Secretaries,” and then click on “Annual Meeting.”

Carol Johanneck is the administrative assistant to the finance and administration area of the Minnesota Annual Conference.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058