October 2021 – Dr. Ashley Boggan Dreff T’17 is the first woman to be elected as General Secretary of the General Commission of Archives and History (GCAH).
Dreff’s role is to ensure that the United Methodist Church (UMC) understands and learns from its past in order to progress and anticipate the future. “These next few years are going to be history in the making for the UMC,” said Dreff.
“I’m so incredibly honored, excited, and humbled to have been elected General Secretary,” she added. “This is a dream come true for me. As a scholar, a Methodist historian, and the child of two UMC ministers, I’ve sought professionally to be a bridge between the church and the academy.”
The GCAH, located on Drew’s campus in Madison, New Jersey, provides historical context and insight to help denominational leadership at all levels in the visioning, planning, and programming of the UMC by offering research services, publications, workshops, and other programs.
"I can easily say I would not be in this position today without the education and experience I had while a PhD student at Drew Theological School."
A recipient of the Florence Ellen Bell Scholarship, Dreff earned her PhD from Drew Theological School. Her dissertation topic was “Methodists and the New Morality: A History of 20th-Century Methodist Sexual Ethics.”
“I can easily say I would not be in this position today without the education and experience I had while a PhD student at Drew Theological School,” said Dreff. “The encouragement and guidance of professors, but also the chance to work in the United Methodist Archives as a student intern allowed me to fully geek-out over Methodist history. It feels absolutely wonderful to be amongst Drew’s forest again and to work alongside the faculty and archival staff in this position.”
“I’m also honored to be teaching the United Methodist History and Mission course at the Theo School and helping future leaders of UMC learn how absolutely fascinating, inspiring, and even wacky our histories are,” said Dreff.
Dreff is the author of “Entangled: A History of American Methodism, Politics, and Sexuality” and “Nevertheless: American Methodists and Women’s Rights.”