Historical Society of UMC Honors Clear



Former Conference Historian Helen G. Clear, a member of Faith Community UMC in Rochester, PA, has been honored with a 2021 Ministry of Memory Award from the Historical Society of the United Methodist Church. She was nominated by the Rev. Ed Herald, who chairs the Western PA Conference Commission on Archives and History, for her years of work on both the Conference and Jurisdictional commissions. 

"Helen has served faithfully both as Conference Historian and Historian Emeritus, researching and writing many works. She was active on both the Conference Commission on Archives & History and the NEJ Commission," Herald said. The award was announced during the Historical Society's 2021 annual meeting, held via Zoom on Oct. 31.  (Mrs. Clear passed away on Nov. 11, 2021 at age 97. See obituary.)

The Ministry of Memory Award (MoM) is granted by the Historical Society of The United Methodist Church, with the support of the General Commission on Archives and History, to recognize and encourage excellence in archival and historical work in the local church, annual conference, jurisdictional or central conference. This award is intended to complement the Distinguished Service Award presented by the General Commission on Archives and History, which recognizes national or international leadership, usually in academia.

Helen Clear was nominated and selected for her significant efforts to preserve the history of Methodism in Western Pennsylvania, including:

  • Combing microfilm of Pittsburgh Christian Advocates from 1834-1870 indexing Marriages and Obituaries for the Pittsburgh Conference of the Methodist Church. She identified over 12,100 marriage records from a time when vital statistics were not recorded by the government of Pennsylvania. The six volumes are available online https://www.wpaumc.org/historicalrecords under "Archives Sampler".
  • Compiling “Index to Memoirs 1825-1995” of the Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, and Methodist churches published in the Conference Journals of the Pittsburgh and Erie Conferences. That work was incorporated into the Pastoral Records volume available on that same webpage https://www.wpaumc.org/historicalrecords. 
  • Preparing a biographical resource on Joshua Monroe titled “Some Travels and Experiences of the Rev. Joshua Monroe 1786-1874 and of His Family,” available from the Western PA Conference Archives. Included are 29 articles that had been published in Pittsburgh Christian Advocate between December 1856-September 1858 in a series called “Recollections of the Past.” 
"Our conference archives are housed at the local church founded by Bishop Robert Richford Roberts before he was called into ministry. Helen also transcribed a conversation penned by Bishop Matthew Simpson in 1842 called “Life of Bishop Roberts, An Autobiographical Manuscript,” also available from the Western PA Conference Archives. 

For more information on the Historical Society of the United Methodist Church, visit www.umchistory.org/