It is with a mix of sadness and deep gratitude that we mark the end of Jane Bowe-McCarthy’s service as Archivist for Alberta and Northwest Conference.
Jane came to the position with a Masters of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia. Beginning in January 1997, she worked to build the Conference Archives into a valuable historical and research resource for the Church by implementing quality archival standards into the collection.
Whenever she was picking up acquisitions from Pastoral Charges in her van, responding to requests for research into records from families and individuals, or making presentations church gatherings to generate interest in the Archives and its resources, Jane charmed us with her warmth and humour, her knowledge and competency, and her genuine interest in our stories as people of faith in this part of the United Church.
Although she sometimes introduced herself as the “Conference Anarchist”, Jane trained and worked with volunteers to carefully appraise and catalogue the huge amount of material sent in from congregations and Presbyteries, always challenged by the limits of a part-time position.
She took pleasure in her close working relationships among the United Church Archivists across the country, and enjoyed her connection with the Religious Archivists Special Interest Section of the Association of Canadian Archivists.
In 2002, Jane was instrumental in negotiating an agreement between the Conference and the Provincial Archives of Alberta in Edmonton where the Conference Archives are housed. In 2005 she created a video presentation of the history of the Conference which is still a valuable resource for telling the story of our early days.
It was also her tremendous amount of research and preparation of information and documents for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission meeting in Edmonton where many of us experienced her tireless and dedicated energy to providing an accurate picture of our history.
Jane suffered a stroke in December 2015 and has turned her energy to recovering from its effects. She was determined to return to the work she enjoys and did so for a brief period early this Autumn. However, the return was not sustainable because of ongoing effects.
We are deeply grateful for Jane’s 20 years of excellent service to the Conference, and encourage her with our hopes and prayers for the future.