Friends, we have just enjoyed a historic conference in Independence as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the John Whitmer Historical Association. What a pleasure it was to look back on our history and see the fruits of that little gathering held in the home of Richard and Barbara Howard a half century ago. And what a pleasure it was to have nearly all our living founders present with us, as well as many of the past presidents of the JWHA! Alongside our anniversary celebrations, the quality of the research presented at the conference was outstanding. Members of the JWHA remain on the cutting edge of Restoration history and theology.
With our golden anniversary behind us, I hope that we can continue to build on the foundation are laid down and look to the future. JWHA is a place of meeting for old friends and colleagues, but I hope each of us will start looking to invite new friends and colleagues to join us. It is my hope that we can focus on the next fifty years of the JWHA and the scholars who will be brought into our association in the decades to come. Every member of the JWHA appreciates the need to pass on the stories that mean so much to us and can see the need to recruit new storytellers, with diverse perspectives and narratives to add to the tapestry of our history.
We have a great thing going here. There is a warmth and fellowship at JWHA that I haven’t always felt in other associations. I was touched when one of our founders said that John Whitmer was the perfect person to provide our name because he didn’t really belong to any of the major movements. Naming our association after him was a way to say that everyone with an interest in the history of the Restoration has a home with us regardless of their background. All are welcome.
Throughout the year, I hope you will look for opportunities to invite the people in your circle to join with us. For our next conference we hope for more students to mentor, more stories to tell, and more new perspectives to learn from. You can help us continue to association and push forward the study of Restoration history by inviting the people in your life to join with us. We will have new opportunities with our Spring event, linked to the World Conference of Community of Christ, and our upcoming annual conference in Fredericksburg, Texas. The celebration continues!