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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A functional analysis of church institutions Galston, K. Blair


The tasks of an archivist demand a thorough knowledge of provenance. One means to such knowledge is an analysis of an organization’s functions and activities. Church institutions are a class of organization having characteristics about which it is possible to generalize. This thesis proposes that the Christian church as a whole, and the organizations within it, carry out five functions: worshiping, sustaining the institution, teaching, evangelizing, and providing pastoral care. To establish the validity of the analysis, this thesis examines each function in light of the historical development of the church. It lays out the common activities which are undertaken by church organizations in performing each of the five functions. It then outlines classes of records associated with the activities to give some tangible substance to the general theoretical picture. The study concludes by explaining how a general understanding of the church’s functions can be applied to archival studies. More specifically, it delineates implications of the analysis for records classification, appraisal, description, indexing, retrieval, and reference services.

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