Guidelines for Writing Memoirs

Florida Conference - United Methodist Church 

The memoir of a deceased minister, when printed in the conference journal, becomes an important historical record. It is a document that in a few paragraphs contains basic biographical information so that it is an authentic and complete record of that person’s life and ministry.  It may also contain a simple evaluation statement 

Although certain facts are essential for inclusion, the style of writing and the method and order of presentation are left up to the writer so that the spirit and character of the individual are reflected.

A memoir is not a eulogy, a memorial or funeral sermon, or a place for sentimentality, triteness, or excessive use of adjectives.  Lengthy quotations of poems or hymns should also be avoided.

As a document encompassing the totality of an individual’s life, the memoir should contain the following information:

Personal life, early period:

Complete name of the deceased
Date and place of birth
Names of parents, including mother's maiden name
Date of marriage and name of spouse, including maiden name of wife
Full names, including married names, and birth dates of children

Educational background:

Schools and college attended, with dates
Degrees and honors received, with dates

Ecclesiastical data:

Dates of ordination and admission to the conference
Appointments served, with dates, including those in other conferences
Special areas of service on conference boards and agencies
Retirement date, and any service after retirement

Personal life, late period:

Date and circumstances of death
Date and place of funeral or memorial service and burial
Names of officiating clergy

Additional information:

Other areas of service
Special interests, talents, and avocations

The memoir for a clergy spouse should contain the same information, with the exception of the ecclesiastical data.

Submitted memoirs will be edited for publication by the Memoirs Committee and will be forwarded to the writers for final approval.  Suggested length is 350-600 words.

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