Heidelberg University student Elle Dutton is working as an intern this summer for United Church Homes. Her assignment involves researching and developing brief biographical videos on individuals who have been essential to UCH’s growth. These videos will be used during the 100th anniversary celebration in 2016.
Elle is the first intern chosen as part of a newly forged relationship between Heidelberg and UCH. Given the strong affiliation both organizations enjoy with the United Church of Christ, the decision to establish a formal intern program seemed like a natural first step toward UCH aligning itself with institutions of higher learning.
She has unearthed incredibly detailed information on Rev. Dr. Ben Herbster and Ruth Frost Parker, and historic documents from the earliest days of UCH. She found the organization’s original advancement letter from 1917, along with roughly 1,000 hand-written responses to it. Her research has led to many archival collections, including Heidelberg, Syracuse University, Eden Seminary, the national offices of the United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Reformed Historical Society—not to mention a cache of 35 boxes of documents from Iron Mountain.
However, not all the information has been easy to come by for her. She’s still looking for photos and information on Rev. Robert Diller, former administrator at Fairhaven who served as the first president of United Church Homes.
“I know the information is out there,” say Elle, “hopefully we can find a way to fill in what we don’t already have. It’s been an enlightening experience.”
Anyone with photos of or information on Rev. Diller is invited to contact unitedchurchhomes.org