TWELFTH ANNUAL MINISTERIAL CONVENTION,
The Twelfth Annual Ministerial Convention of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ of the Pennsylvania Conference convened in Ebenezer Church, Laurel Street, Bethlehem, Pa., on October 3rd, 1901.
The Chairman, Elder R. L. Woodring, opened the Convention at 9 A. M. by singing, a few appropriate remarks on Psalm 46, and prayer, followed by the enrollment of members, after which the minutes of last year's Convention were read and received.
Elder R. L. Woodring gave an address of welcome.
RESOLVED, That all members of the Annual Conference shall be voting members, and all other members present advisory members.
The Convention bar shall occupy the first two pews and the two amen corners of the church.
Upon request the Chairman appointed Elders W. B. Musselman, C. H. Brunner, and E. T. Shick, a committee to decide which of the Essays, if any, shall be published in the Gospel Banner.
The following Essays were then read, discussed and received :
1. An Essay on "The Benefits of Our Reading Course," by Elder R. D. Dreisbach.
A preacher of the Gospel shall study.- 2 Tim. 2:15. 1 Tim. 4 tells us to read and meditate. God does not use us if we don't study. Christ said, search the Scriptures. Apollos learned of Acquilla and Priscilla. To know divine wisdom we must study, meditate. The Bible has by far the most prominent part in our Reading Course. The action of last Conference recommending a change from Theology to a Book on Bible study, was a wise one. Other books like Thatcher's appeal, showing the call of man; Neison on Infidelity, how a man was rescued from infidelity; Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation, showing how God led his people in olden times and led them up to redemption in Christ; Jesus is Coming, which is very; practical and Scriptural; Church History showing how many false doctrines came to be taught and how the Holy Spirit leads His church; Reformed Pastor gives very practical points on doing pastoral work. The various books of the Reading Course give teaching from redemption from Sin to our presence with the God in glory
2. "The Relation of our Church to the Widows of our Deceased Pastors," by Elder J. G. Shireman.
Acts 6- Widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Deacons were appointed for their care. This subject however includes only widows of our Pastors.These stood by their pastors, having forsaken their positions and suffered with them. Now they are left without support and we can say we pity them, but if we shut our bowels of compassion, how dwelleth the love of God in us.
A good way would be to found an orphanage, make these widows workers or teachers in the Orphanage and have a Spiritual man as Superintendent over them. This would benifit the orphans and would support the widows.
An offering was taken and the forenoon session closed by prayer by C, H. Brunner.
Opened by singing and prayer by Elder G. A. Campbell.
After the roll call the minutes of the forenoon session were read and received.
The questions were answered, by Elders W Steinmetz and E. T. Shick.
An Essay, by Elder G. A. Campbell, on "The Necessary qualifications of an Applicant for the Ministry." A call of God and studious habits to study the word are necessary. He needs qualifications of an ambassador in Christ's stead beseeching men to become reconciled to God.
A certain man said, if a man can stay in the home land let him not go to the Foreign field. So with the call to the ministry. Paul said, "Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel."
Aptness to teach and instruct in order to perfect God's people here below is necessary. Illiteracy is no excuse, as Peter and John did much work and people saw God with them. An applicant with too much forwardness and desire of recognition and lack of willingness to teach a class of Sunday School scholars, collect Pastor's salary, etc., should have more humility, patience and judgment. A desire for a fat living is not a quality of God's called ministers.
2. "How to Win Souls and How to Keep Them," by Elder R. L. Woodring.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he that wins souls is wise. Anarchism, powder and dynamite, assails God and his word and all other higher powers and sink people into debauchery and recklessness. If all preachers, bibles, books, were destroyed, there would be after all people who would rise and preach and win. souls to Christ. Volture said, "If there be no God it is necessary to invent one." We are to win souls. How shall they preach except they be sent. Christ called base things and filled them with zeal to fish for souls. They cast the net into the waters. Fishermen take great pains and endure perils and so preachers, and they must have the wisdom of God. God calls pastors who feed them on knowledge and wisdom from above. David's soul panted for the living God, A man who feeds on the word of God will bring forth fruits of the spirit such as love,joy, peace, long suffering, meekness, gentleness, qualities to win and keep souls.
3.An Essay on "The Dangers and Temptations to which the Faithful Preacher of the Present Day is Exposed," by Elder W. G. Gehman.
We are living in the last perilous times; men are lovers of themselves, proud heady high-minded.The bread and butter temptation is a great temptation of to-day yet. Paul worked for his support but asked forgiveness for the wrong. Praying night and day and working for the interests of the people and then be criticised, is a great temptation to impatience. There is danger of preaching either too smooth or too rough in order to have applause of man; also danger for a preacher not to be in close fellowship with the Lord. The temptation is to shrink from suffering and take the easy, popular route.
The world lieth in the wicked one, but he that is in us is greater than he that is in the world.
The offering was lifted after which it was
RESOLVED, That we elect the officers for the next Ministerial Convention this afternoon.
The following were elected:- W. K. Ziegier, Chairman ;J. G. Shireman, Secretary.
Committee to Arrange Programme:- C. H. Brunner, H.B. Musselman, E. N. Cassel.
RESOLVED, That the next Ministerial Convention beheld a day prior to the next Annual Conference and at the same place.
The session was closed by prayer by Elder W.Steinmetz.
Opened by singing and prayer by Elder A. M. Clauser.
The questions were answered. by Elders W. B. Musselman and W. J. Fretz.
The Committee on Publications of Essays recommend publication of the Essays:-"The Relation of the Church to the widows of our Deceased Pastors," by Elder J. G. Shireman, and "The Dangers and Temptations to which the Faithful Preacher of the Present Day is Exposed," by Elder W. G. Gehman.
The report was received.The following subject for discussion was opened by W. K. Ziegler.- "The New Birth, Salvation and Glorification."
An offering was lifted for the labor and expenses of Secretary, amounting to $3.86. Thanks.
The minutes of the afternoon and evening sessions were read and received.
RESOLVED, That we tender hearty thanks by a rising vote to the members of the Bethlehem class for their kindness and hospitality shown us during this Convention session.
This was followed by an invitation during which several were anointed and healed according to the word of God. The session was closed by prayer by Elder G. A. Campbell.
R. L. WOODRING, Chairman
W. G. GEHMAN, Secretary.
W. K. ZIEGLER,
H. B. MUSSELMAN,
H. B. BRUNNER.