EIGHTIETH ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Annual Conference Proceedings

1963


            The Eightieth Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church convened in the Ebenezer Church, 1125 N. Main St., Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

 

            The Conference opened at 10:00 a.m., Monday, October 14, with the singing of "Like a River Glorious" directed by LeRoy S. Heller. E. W. Bean led in prayer, N. H. Wolf read Psalm 27, and Daniel K. Ziegler sang "Jesus My Lord." District Superintendent and Chairman, T. D. Gehret read II Corinthians 2:12-17 and spoke on the timely subject of "Paul's Triumphant Ministry in Christ."


            T. D. Gehret, Chairman, instructed the Secretary, N. H. Wolf, to appoint his assistants. He appointed Ernest B. Hartman, Assistant Secretary and Robert W. Smock, Recording Secretary.


Report of the Committee on Program:

MONDAY,                             10:00 a.m.                   Song Leader: LeRoy S. Heller

OCTOBER 14                                                            Solo: Daniel K. Ziegler

                                                                                    Scripture: N. H. Wolf

                                                                                    Prayer: Ernest W. Bean

Message: T. D. Gehret, Chairman

TUESDAY,                             9:00 a.m.                   Song Leader: David E. Thomann

OCTOBER 15                                                            Solo: Bert N. Brosius

                                                                                    Scripture: James A. Beil

                                                                                    Prayer: Daniel G. Ziegler

                                                                                    Message: John Dunn

WEDNESDAY,                      9:00 a.m.                   Song Leader: Harvey J. Fritz

OCTOBER 16                                                            Preachers (Junior) Quartet

                                                                                    Scripture: John E. Golla

                                                                                    Prayer: Robert F. Johnson

                                                                                    Message: Robert W. Smock

THURSDAY,                          9:00 a.m.                   Song Leader: Willard E. Cassel

OCTOBER 17                                                            Solo: LeRoy S. Heller

                                                                                    Scripture: R. C. Reichenbach

                                                                                    Prayer: Frank L. Herb, Jr.

                                                                                    Message: James G. Koch

FRIDAY,                                 9:00 a.m.                   Song Leader: Donald B. Schaeffer

OCTOBER 18                                                            Solo: Carl C. Cassel

                                                                                    Scripture: W. B. Hottel

                                                                                    Prayer: George E. Herb

                                                                                    Message: A. L. Seifert, D.S.

THE LORD'S SUPPER

Note: Devotional period 30 minutes. Message 15 minutes.

Organist - Robert W. Gehret


CONFERENCE ORDINATION SERVICE

for

Norman R. Weiss

Daniel G. Ziegler

 

THURSDAY,                          7:30 p.m.                   Host Pastor: Presiding

 OCTOBER 17, 1963                                                  Speaker: T. D. Gehret, D.S.

                                                                                    Music: Preachers (Senior) Quartet

                                                                                    Charge to the Congregation: A. L. Seifert, D.S.

Giving of Vows: C. E. Kirkwood



Program Committee

W. W. Hartman

Carl C. Cassel

David E. Thomann

            The report was adopted.

 

The following were enrolled as members of the Conference:


Ministers

            Ordained — Russell T. Allen, Paul E. Baer, James A. Beil, E. W. Bean, Bert N. Brosius, Alva C. Cassel, Carl C. Cassel, John Dunn, Harvey J. Fritz, Reynold D. Gardner, T. D. Gehret, John E. C-olla, Ernest B. Hartman, Jansen E. Hartman, W. W. Hartman, William A. Heffner, LeRoy S. Heller, Frank L. Herb, George E. Herb, F. B. Hertzog, Earl M. Hosler, W. B. Hottel, Robert F. Johnson, C. E. Kirkwood, Donald T. Kirkwood, Richard H. Kline, James G. Koch, R. C. Reichenbach, John H. Riggall, Donald B. Schaeffer, A. L. Seifert, Robert W. Smock, David E. Thomann, N. H. Wolf, W. F. Heffner, E. E. Kublic, J. B. Layne, E. J. Rutman, P. T. Stengele, A. G. Woodring.

            Probationers — John H. Herb, Norman R. Weiss, Daniel G. Ziegler.


Delegates

Allentown District

Allentown (Bethel), Kermit K. Gehman, J. Erwin Fretz

Reading, Robert Breitegam

Sunbury, Allan F. Smith

York, Spalding R. Sowers

Hatfield, Daniel K. Ziegler

Shamokin, T. Lamarn Manney

Mt. Carmel, Roy E. Williams

Harrisburg, Paul T. Rutman

Royersford, William R. Hunsberger

Spring City, R. S. Weidner

Nazareth, Ralph H. Hendershot

Catasauqua, A. W. Deppe

Graterford and Harleysville, Stanley A. Hackman

Lehighton, Willard Blocker

Lebanon, Charles W. Weaber

Stroudsburg, George R. Fish

Lancaster, Horace A. Kauffman


Bethlehem District

Bethlehem, Paul H. Cressman

Emmaus, Paul I. Wentz

Philadelphia (Salem), Byron C. Cassel Quakertown, George W. Krigor

Fleetwood, Norman L. Reed

Wallingford, Richard T. Holmes

Easton, Allen F. LaRose

Coopersburg, Harold A. Mann

Terre Hill, Robert W. Gehret

Allentown (Salem), Allan C. Palmer

Philadelphia (Calvary), Donald M. Sedgwick

Philadelphia (Emmanuel), Edward J. Dietzman

Blandon, John I. Mengel

Scranton, Carl H. Kellerman

Staten Island, N.Y., Ralph D. Cole

Zionsville, Charles G. Hersh


            Resolved, That we accept the excuses of the brethren as submitted, and when they arrive, they shall be seated in the Conference Bar.


            Resolved, That the first seven pews throughout the Church constitute the Conference Bar.


            Resolved, That no one leave the Conference Bar without the permission of the Chair except W. W. Hartman and Paul H. Cressman


            Resolved, That we accept the report as submitted by the Committee on Agenda.


COMMITTEES

            COMMITTEE ON FINANCE: Paul I. Wentz, Byron C. Cassel, Kermit K. Gehman, Paul H. Cressman, Roy E. Williams.


            COMMITTEE ON RESOLUTIONS: C. E. Kirkwood, Carl C. Cassel, David E. Thomann, Harvey J. Fritz.


            COMMITTEE ON EXAMINATION OF ANNUAL CONFERENCE RECORDS: George E. Herb, Alva C. Cassel.


            COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS: John H. Riggall, Earl M. Hosler, W. B. Hottel, Russell T. Allen, Bert N. Brosius.



            COMMITTEE ON EXAMINATION OF LOCAL CONFERENCE RECORDS: F. B. Hertzog, E. W. Bean, Donald B. Schaeffer, James A. Beil, Reynold Gardner, Frank L. Herb, Richard H. Kline, Stanley A. Hackman, William R. Hunsberger, Allan F. Smith, Norman L. Reed, Ralph R. Hendershot, Paul T. Rutman, Charles W. Weaber, A. W. Deppe, John I. Mengel.


            COMMITTEE ON AUDITING: James G. Koch, Daniel K. Ziegler, Horace A. Kauffman, Daniel G. Ziegler, Robert W. Gehret, John H. Herb, R. S. Weidner, Robert Breitegam, Ralph D. Cole, Richard T. Holmes, Harold A. Mann, J. Erwin Fretz, Edward J. Dietzman.


            REPORTER: R. C. Reichenbach.

 

TIMEKEEPER: Norman R. Weiss.


            COMMITTEE ON STATISTICS: (Appointed at Adjourned Session) Willard E. Cassel, John E. Golla, Donald T. Kirkwood, LeRoy S. Heller, John Dunn, Robert F. Johnson.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON CREDENTIALS

            The Credentials Committee of the Bible Fellowship Church held two regular meetings during the year.

            During these meetings the committee fulfilled its purpose, and the obligations assigned to it by the Annual Conference.

            The Faith and Order questionnaire was sent to each Minister in the Bible Fellowship Conference and every Minister completed and returned his questionnaire.

            The exceptions to the Faith and Order were very few and did not include any of the cardinal doctrines of the Faith.

            The Credentials Committee, after an intensive examination given to our Pastors Norman R. Weiss and Daniel G. Ziegler, believe that these men are called of God to the Gospel Ministry.

            They have served acceptably during their probationary period within our Conference, and are in accord with the Faith and Order of the Bible Fellowship Church. We therefore:

            Resolved: "That Pastors, Norman R. Weiss and Daniel G. Ziegler be ordained during the Thursday evening service of Annual Conference at the Bible Fellowship Church in Bethlehem, Pa.


            The committee received favorable reports concerning the Ministers of the Conference from the District Superintendents, and certain committee chairmen. We are grateful to our Lord for His giving of Godly, conscientious Ministers to the Bible Fellowship Church.


            The committee makes the following recommendations to the Annual Conference:

            1 . Probationers whose names are listed on the availability list shall be sent a Faith and Order Questionnaire.

            2. Ministers desiring to enter the Bible Fellowship Church must agree to the Faith and Order in its entirety, no exceptions shall be permitted.

            3. Pastors who were serving in the Annual Conference at the time of the adoption of the present Faith and Order shall be permitted to continue to minister in the Bible Fellowship Church, if their exceptions do not list any of the following articles:


            Article 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 9 - 12 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 18 - 19 - 23 - 26 - 27

(All Pastors must subscribe to the Pre Millennial return of Jesus Christ as presented in Article #24)


            Those Pastors listing exceptions to any of the above article shall be dealt with by the Credentials Committee.

            If such exceptions continue his name shall not be placed on the availability list, and the Annual Conference shall be informed, the Credentials Committee shall recommend proper action.

            In the event a Pastor fails to return his Faith and Order Questionnaire by the date specified on the Questionnaire his name shall not be placed on the availability list, and the Annual Conference shall be informed and the Credentials Committee shall recommend proper action.

            All Pastors desiring to labor in the ministry of the Bible Fellowship Church must be willing to serve under our present pulpit supply system.

            C. E. Kirkwood, Chairman     A. L. Seifert                W. B. Hottel

            John H. Riggall, Secretary      T. D. Gehret

Credentials Committee

 

The report was adopted.


            Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to meet again this afternoon at 4 o'clock.

 

Robert F. Johnson closed with prayer.


Second Meeting

Monday Afternoon, October 14, 1963

            The Meeting was opened at 4:00 p.m. with the singing of "Higher Ground". Frank L. Herb led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

Report of the Conference Treasurer: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the General Camp Meeting Committee: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Committee on Publication and Printing: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Sunday School Promotion Committee: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


            Resolved, That every Bible Fellowship Sunday School receive an offering for denominational Sunday School promotion. This offering should be mailed to the Financial Secretary of the Committee before April 1, 1964.

 

Report of the Victory Valley Board: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


            Resolved, That the dates of the camps at Victory Valley in 1964 shall be as follows:

            July 4-11                   Girls 8-12 years old.

            July 11-18                 Girls 8-12 years old.

            July 18-25                 Junior High boys and girls.

            July 25-Aug. 1          Senior High boys and girls.

            Aug.    1-8                  Senior High boys and girls.

            Aug.    8-15                Boys 8-12 years old.

            Aug.    15-22              Boys 8-12 years old.


            Resolved, That the Sunday School of each Bible Fellowship Church receive an offering for Victory Valley Camp before March 1, 1964. This check may be made payable to Victory Valley Camp and sent to the secretary of the Victory Valley Board.


            Resolved, That the facilities of the Victory Valley Camp be available for limited use by groups from Bible Fellowship Churches. Arrangements for such use shall be made through and offerings sent to the Secretary of the Board.

 

Report of the Ministerial Convention: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


            Walter H. Frank, Director of the Greater Europe Mission, gave a brief address on the progress of evangelical missionary work throughout the world.

 

Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to meet at 6:30 p.m.

 

Adjourned at 4:50 p.m. with prayer by John Dunn.


Third Meeting

Monday Evening, October 14, 1963

            The meeting was opened at 6:30 p.m. with the singing of "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" and Kermit K. Gehman led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

The following reports were read and adopted:

            Report of the Bethlehem District Superintendent, A. L. Seifert: (See Reports)

            Report of the Allentown District Superintendent, T. D. Gehret: (See Reports)

            Report of the Church Extension Director, William A. Heffner: (See Reports)

            Report of the President of Berean Bible School, Jansen E. Hartman: (See Reports)

 

The following reports were submitted and adopted:

Report of the Board of Foreign Missions: (See Reports)

Report of the Board of Church Extension: (See Reports)

            Whereas, the Denville, N.J. and Paradise, Pa., Church extension appointments have petitioned Annual Conference through the Church Extension Board to be recognized as Conference appointments, therefore,

Resolved, That we grant this request and receive them, and further,

            Resolved, That the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee assign them pastors.

 

Report of the Board of Directors of Berean Bible School: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


            Resolved, The Proclamation of a day as Berean Bible School Day in the Sunday Schools and Churches at which time offerings shall be received in the schools and churches for the purpose of promoting interest and support of the School. Checks for these contributions shall be sent and made payable to the Berean Bible School, 1020 S. Hall Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania.

 

Resolved, That Recommendation #2 be tabled.


            Resolved, That the laymen on the Board of Directors of Berean Bible School shall constitute a committee to work with all our churches to promote the advantages of training at Berean Bible School and formulate a plan to raise $25,000.00 needed to carry on the Berean Bible School program in the 1963-64 year. The District Superintendents shall be advisory members of the committee.

 

Report of the Board of Directors of the Home: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Ministerial Candidate Committee:

            The Ministerial Candidate Committee met thirteen (13) times during the year to carry out its responsibilities. The committee had correspondence with a number of men throughout the year. Some of these were inquiries which did not develop any further; some were fruitful contacts which are still under care.

            A probationer's license was granted to Bruce Ellingson, Glenn Huratiak and Harold C. Weaber. Two men were recommended for ordination examination; they were Norman R. Weiss and Daniel G. Ziegler.

            The committee recommends recognition of the following men in their respective stages of development:


            Probationers

            LeRoy J. Bickel, Trenton, N.J.                                   1962

            T. James Bigley, East Africa                                      1962

            Leonard Buck, Union of South Africa                       1958

            M. Leslie Campbell, Walnutport, Pa                          1961

            Raymond Dotts, Allentown, Pa                                  1960

            Bruce Ellingson, Finesville, N.J.                                1963

            John Herb, Stroudsburg, Pa                                        1962

            Roy Hertzog, France                                                  1959

            Glenn Huratiak, Catawissa, Pa                                   1963

            Donald Knauer, Macungie, Pa                                   1962

            Ronald C. Mahurin, Denville, N.J.                             1960

            Robert McIntyre, Allentown, Pa                                1958

            Leon K. Overpeck, Paradise, Pa                                 1958

            Robert Paul, Millersville, Pa                                      1962

            Richard R. Ruth, Belvidere, N.J                                 1960

            David J. Watkins, Binghamton, N.Y.                         1962

            Harold C. Weaber, Miller Heights, Pa                       1963

            Norman R. Weiss, Lancaster, Pa                                1960

            Daniel G. Ziegler, Lebanon, Pa                                  1960


            Candidates

William A. Benedick, East Earl, Pa.

William L. Ernst, Lancaster, Pa.

Richard Gehman, Allentown, Pa.

David Manney, Shamokin, Pa.

Theodore R. Shelling, New York, N.Y.

Ronald Zuck, Quakertown, Pa.


            Applicants

David Branning, St. Louis, Missouri

George F. Lee, Jr., Mt. Carmel, Pa.

Keith Montgomery, Allentown, Pa.

Donald Nilsson, Ft. Washington, Pa.

Harold Reynolds, State College, Pa.

George Riggall, Wallingford, Pa.

Austin B. Sullivan, Jr., Duryea, Pa.

Richard Woelkers, Scranton, Pa.

Larry Yerger, Reading, Pa.

David K. Lilley, Essington, Pa.


            We would refer you to the recommendations presented last year by the committee in the 1962 year book on pg. 29ff. for its second reading.

            COMMITTEE:

Carl C. Cassel, Chairman

Earl M. Hosler, Secretary

Jansen E. Hartman

            William A. Heffner

A. L. Seifert

 

Report was adopted.



            Resolved, That we recognize the above men in their respective stages of development.

 

Adjourned 8:20 p.m. with prayer by Reynold D. Gardner.


Fourth Meeting

Tuesday Morning, October 15, 1963

            The meeting opened with singing "He Is Coming Again" led by David E. Thomann. Bert N. Brosius sang, "Be Calm My Soul" as a solo and James A. Beil read Psalm 46 followed by Daniel G. Ziegler leading in prayer. John Dunn brought an encouraging message based on the writings of the Apostles Peter and Paul, relative to becoming "not weary in well doing in the Lord's work."


            Resolved, That Carl Kellerman be excused in order to enable him to attend a funeral service.


            The Chairman declared a recess at 9:40, to resume business at 11:00 a.m. Business was resumed.


            Report of the Committee on the Examination of Local Conference Records.

            We have examined all Local Conference Records and have found them to be correct except for a few omissions and minor errors which have been corrected by the Pastors concerned.

            The following petitions were found in the last local conference minutes of the following churches:

            The Calvary Bible Fellowship Church of Coopersburg, Pa.

The following petition to Annual Conference was passed:

            "Whereas: the Calvary Bible Fellowship Church in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania now operates with a Unified Budget, and,

            "Whereas: the Sunday School Treasurer, Steward and Building Fund Collector no longer function as originally designated, therefore,

            "Be it resolved: that we, the congregation of the Calvary Bible Fellowship Church in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, petition the 80th Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church convening on October 14, 1963 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to permit the Calvary Bible Fellowship Church in Coopersburg to eliminate the following offices from our Annual Election of Officers: Sunday School Treasurer, Steward and Building Fund Collector."


            The Salem Bible Fellowship Church of Lehighton, Pa.

            "Whereas, we are aware of the fact that Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church is in the midst of writing the Articles for the Moral Standards of the church, and

            "Whereas, the article on divorce which has passed one reading will be presented for second reading at this Annual Conference which then if passed will be the official standing and ruling of our denomination, and

            "Whereas, this local congregation is aware of the fact that the former statement on divorce was interpreted differently by the various District Superintendents and pastors on the district, which led to many heartaches and problems which could have been, and should have been prevented, and

            "Whereas, this local church is concerned about the problem of divorce, but it is also aware of the limitless grace of God which causes us to be in disagreement with the third paragraph of the article on divorce as it passed first reading, therefore

            Resolved, that the congregation of the Salem Bible Fellowship Church of Lehighton, Pa. meeting at its 4th Quarterly Conference on August 21, 1963 petitioned the 80th Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church convening at Bethlehem, Pa. on October 14, 1963, to present a clear statement on the issue of divorce. We suggest and request the following:

            1. That consideration and study be given to present a uniform basis for determining who is the innocent party in a divorce, since the Lord certainly makes clear the exception and our article includes it.

            2. That ways and means be established to enforce the standing of the church whatever it may be, so that the trend of the past which led to various and sundry interpretations of the divorce issue by different pastors and Dist. Superintendents may be eliminated.

            3. That a study of the standards and qualifications for deacons and elders as presented in I Timothy and Titus be studied to determine whether or not the Scriptures really do prohibit what we are trying to prohibit in the article which has passed first reading, and if we do not have definite scriptural evidence for our stand, we would like to know the basis on which men, whether in the local assembly, or on the denominational level are able to prohibit that which God's word does not prohibit, or permit that which God's word does not permit.

            4. That a study be made to determine the scriptural basis of denying the guilty party in a divorce the right of holding office in our church if they give evidence of repentance and divine forgiveness, also whether or not such can be used in any capacity within the church, such as teaching and etc.


            Petitions to this Annual Conference are also found in the Local Conference minutes of the Berean B.F.C. of Denville, N.J. and the Paradise B.F.C. of Paradise, Pa. These petitions will be presented to this conference by the Church Extension Board.

            Committee:

            F. B. Hertzog                                      Allen F. Smith

            E. W. Bean                                         Norman L. Reed

            Donald B. Schaeffer                           Ralph H. Hendershot

            James A. Beil                                     Paul T. Rutman

            Reynold D. Gardner                           Charles W. Weaber

            Richard H. Kline                                A. W. Deppe

            Stanley A. Hackman                           John I. Mengel

            William R. Hunsberger                      Frank L. Herb

 

Report was adopted.


            The Report of the Committee to Publish the Fellowship News: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


            Resolved, that there be three retreats in 1964. Each retreat is to begin with the Friday evening meal, 6:30 p.m., and end with the Sunday noon meal. College and Career Retreat to be held September 4-6. Senior High Retreat to be held September 11-13. Junior High Retreat to be held September 18-20.


            Resolved, that each Youth Fellowship receive an offering for the work of the Youth Fellowship General Committee, and that this offering be forwarded to the treasurer of the Youth Fellowship General Committee by April 1, 1964.


            Resolved, that the following changes be made in the Faith and Order relative to Youth Fellowship General Committee as stated on page 12 of the Faith and Order that the Youth Fellowship General Committee be composed of:

            1. The District Superintendents (ex officio)

2. Four ordained ministers and five laymen.


            Classes shall be formed as follows:

            1. Two ministers - one layman

            2. One minister - two laymen

            3. One minister - two laymen

            Each class shall be elected in turn annually by ballot by the Annual Conference for a term of three years.


            The Editor and Circulation Manager of "Fellowship News" gave oral reports of progress made in promoting our Church paper.

 

The Chairman appointed the following tellers:

            E. W. Bean, Earl M. Hosler, Ernest B. Hartman, John Dunn and David E. Thomann.

 

Adjourned with prayer at 12 o'clock by Paul T. Rutman.


Fifth Meeting

Tuesday Afternoon, October 15, 1963

            The meeting was opened with the chorus, "Wonderful Words of Life" and Harvey J. Fritz led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


            Resolved, That a probationer qualified for ordination examination is one who, in the judgment of the Ministerial Candidate Committee, has the qualifications of a Christian minister and has demonstrated during a probationary period his ability to exercise these gifts to the glory of God in the edification of believers and salvation of the lost; this probationary period shall be at least two years and shall be served in any of the ministries of the Bible Fellowship Church. (Second Reading)

 

After Second Reading the following was rejected:

            Resolved, that when a man is ordained to the Christian ministry by the Bible Fellowship Church, he shall then become a voting member of the Annual Conference.

 

The Report of the Board of Mizpah Grove. (See Reports)

It was adopted.


            Resolved, that Probationers whose names are listed on the availability list shall be sent a Faith and Order Questionnaire. (First Reading)


            Resolved, that recommendations #2 and #3 of the report of the Committee on Credentials be referred back for further study.

 

Report of the Committee to Study Moral Standards:

The following Articles are presented for Second Reading:


MORAL STANDARDS

Article

MARRIAGE

            Marriage is a sacred institution ordained of God and is an indissoluble union of one man and one woman until parted by death.1 Marriage, which is the foundation of the family and Christian home, should only be entered in the fear and in the will of God.2 Accordingly a believer should not be united in holy matrimony with an unbeliever.3

            Ministers and parents have an obligation to teach the sanctity of marriage and to warn against believers being yoked with unbelievers. Ministers shall refrain from joining in marriage any believer with an unbeliever.

 

(1)Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; I Corinthians 7:39. (2) 1 Corinthians 7:7. (3)II Corinthians 6:14-17.


Article

FAMILY

            The Family is a divinely ordained institution in which the husband is the head, even as Christ is the head of the Church. Husbands are to love their wives, even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. Wives are to submit themselves to their husbands as it is fit in the Lord.1 Obedience is to be rendered to parents by the children in the spirit of respect and love. The Family is the most important institution in which to nurture children in the faith, and great care is to be exercised by parents in building Christian homes.2


(1)Ephesians 5:22-25: Colossians 3:18, 19. (2) Ephesians 6:1-4.


Article

HARMFUL INDULGENCES

            A. Alcoholic Drinks: The use of alcoholic drinks being the cause of incalculable misery in the world, the evil influences of which are enormous in their effects upon society at large, no member shall be permitted to make such drinks, to deal in them,1 or use them as a beverage.2 We recommend that all members of our denomination use their influence against this evil and practice total abstinence.3


(1)Habakkuk 2:15. (2) Ephesians 5:18. (3) Proverbs 20:1; 23:31, 32.


            B. Tobacco: Seeing as we do the harmful effects of the use of tobacco, and since we as a church want to exert our influence against it, be it known that we consider the use of tobacco unbecoming and inconsistent with our Christian profession. No person using tobacco shall hold office or serve in a teaching capacity in any part of the church program.1


(1)I Corinthians 3:16, 17; 6:12.


            C. Narcotics: Being aware of the subtle dangers of the use of narcotics in any form, we solemnly warn and admonish our people to have no part with the use of, or traffic in these drugs. Except for the legitimate use of drugs by competent physicians, our every influence should be exerted against this growing evil.1


(1)Romans 6:16.

 

The Report was adopted.

 

Whereas, we have before this Conference a second reading of our statement on divorce, and

            Whereas, we have also a petition from the Salem Bible Fellowship Church, Lehighton, Pa., seeking clarification and further information relative to our stand on divorce; therefore,

            Resolved, that we refer this article on divorce, and the petitions from the Salem Bible Fellowship Church of Lehighton, Pa., to a study Committee composed of five ordained ministers elected by this Conference which shall report to the next Annual Conference.


            Resolved, that we refer the article on Secret Societies to a Study Committee composed of five ordained ministers elected by this Conference which shall report to the next Annual Conference.

 

Report of the Committee on Finance (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Board of Directors (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


            Resolved, that we adjourn and suspend the rules to meet this evening at 6:30 p.m.

 

Adjourned with prayer by Ralph H. Hendershot.


Sixth Meeting

Tuesday Evening, October 15, 1963

            The meeting was opened with singing the hymn, "He Keeps Me Singing" and Russell T. Allen led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the afternoon meeting were read and approved.


            Resolved, That the annuities paid to retired ministers be raised from $24.00 for each year of active service to $28.00 for each year of active service payable in monthly installments. (See 1962 Yearbook, page 12) Annuities to widows of ministers shall be compiled at the rate of $14.00 for each year instead of the current rate of $12.00 (See 1962 Yearbook, page 13)



            Whereas, That annuities paid by the Ministers' Retirement Fund are low when compared with the cost of living, and

            Whereas, That the Ministers' Retirement Fund seems capable of sustaining the authorized increase in annuity payments, therefore be it

            Resolved, That under our "Rule of Exceptions" the approved increase in annuities paid by the Ministers' Retirement Fund shall become effective immediately.

 

Report of the Board of Mizpah Grove:

(Second Reading)

Purpose of Mizpah Grove Board

            1. To correlate the Camp Program in its entirety.

            2. To study various methods and profit from the experience of others in similar activities.

            3. To stabilize and promote the operation of the camp.

            4. To develop a long range program.

Organization of the Board

            1. The Board of Mizpah Grove shall be composed of the two District Superintendents, four pastors and three laymen.

Classes shall be formed as follows:

                        1. Two Pastors, 2 Laymen

                        2. Two Pastors, I Layman

            Each class in turn shall be elected annually by ballot by the Annual Conference for a term of two years.

            2. The Board shall elect annually by and from its membership a Chairman & Secretary.

            3. The Chairman shall be the administrative officer of the Board.

            4. The Secretary shall carry on all the correspondence of the Board.

He shall record the minutes of its meetings and keep all records of the Board.

            He shall pay all bills incurred by the Board's business. The checks shall bear signatures of the Chairman, Secretary and the Conference Treasurer.

            5. The Board shall facilitate its business by dividing into committees as its work dictates.

            6. Committee divisions shall be made at the suggestion of the Chairman and the approval of the Board.

            7. Suggested Committees-1. Program and Staff recruiting

                        2. Building and Grounds

                        3. Finance

                        4. Promotion and Printing

                        5. Cafeteria and Food Service

                        6. Camp erection and breakup.

                        7. .....

            8. Committees may be staffed by men chosen outside the Board.

            9. Committees shall be composed of a minimum of two board members and as many additional members as desirable.

            10. All Committees shall carry out duties numbered ---------

                        In addition ...

Committees listed above responsible for duties numbered ------------

            11. Each Committee shall carry out all routine business at its discretion. All new business shall be brought to the Board for approval prior to action.


Duties of Mizpah Grove Board

            1. To formulate objectives for the camp.

            2. To develop the camp site and maintain the equipment.

3. To formulate and maintain camp standards.

4. To plan and formulate the camp program.

5. To determine which churches shall comprise each camp meeting.

6. To secure and train the camp staff.

7. To secure the necessary help for the erection-breakup & maintenance of camp.

            8. To provide a continuity from year to year.

9. To be responsible for the business and finances of the camp.

10. To promote the camp to our people and public.

11. To be responsible for the cafeteria, food service and store.

12. To be responsible for the literature cottage.

13. To evaluate the camp and its program.

14. To submit a report to Annual Conference.


Duties of the Camp Meeting Committees

            1. Each committee shall elect the following officers: Chairman, Secretary, Financial Secretary.

            2. All bills of the Camp Meeting expenses shall be submitted to the secretary in an itemized form giving date of all expenses. A voucher system shall be used. The Chairman shall approve the bills submitted by the Secretary to the Financial Secretary.

            3. The Secretary shall record all receipts and expenditures in a book provided by the Board. He shall also compile a summary of receipts and expenses to be submitted to the Board of Mizpah Grove.

            4. The Financial Secretary shall record all receipts and expenditures in a book provided by the Board. He shall maintain a bank depository as designated by the Board of Mizpah Grove.

            5. The balances for each Camp Meeting shall be turned over to the Board of Mizpah Grove.

 

The Report was adopted.


            Resolved, That the Board of Directors and the Board of Mizpah Grove Camp Meeting shall meet during the Conference to determine what is meant by the balance of the Camp Meeting Funds.


            Resolved, That the Board of Mizpah Grove be responsible for the maintenance of the grounds and equipment of Mizpah Grove after this Annual Conference. (Second Reading).


            Resolved, That the following paragraphs found in the Year Book be deleted..... 3, 4, 5, 6 on page nine .... paragraphs on Camp Meetings on pages 13 & 14 .... paragraphs S and T on page 16. (Second Reading).


            Resolved, That the words, "Board of Mizpah Grove" be added to the lists of Boards and Committees on page 7 .... and to the Standing Committees on page 6. (Second Reading).



            Resolved, That two Camp Meetings be held at Mizpah Grove in 1964:

            First Camp-Allentown District-June 27 thru July 5

Second Camp-Bethlehem District-July 11 thru July 19


            Resolved, That one ($1.00) dollar registration fee per tent accompany each order, not refundable, to be deposited by the Registrar of each respective Camp Meeting Committee.


            Resolved, That the Rental of tents shall be nine ($9.00) dollars each per camp meeting in addition to the registration fee to be paid to the Pastors before Camp Meeting. The Pastor shall pay tent rents to the officer of the respective committee no later than Tuesday of the camp involved, together with the lists of names and numbers of tents.


            Resolved, That all tent orders be properly filled in and signed by the persons placing the tent order and sent to the Secretary of the Board of Mizpah Grove, Registrar (Robert W. Smock), no later than June 10, 1964.


            Resolved, That we discontinue the practice of receiving offerings for Berean Bible School, District Superintendents and Committee at our Camp Meetings.

 

Adjourned 8:40 p.m. with prayer by F. B. Hertzog.


Seventh Meeting

Wednesday Morning and Afternoon, October 16, 1963

            The meeting was opened with the singing of "Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart" and a quartet of pastors sang, "Hallelujah, What A Saviour". John E. Golla led in the responsive reading of II Timothy 2 after which Robert F. Johnson led us to the throne of grace in prayer. The theme of Robert W. Smock's challenging address was "Exemplary Leadership", dealing with the matter of personal soul-winning.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


            Delegates Kermit K. Gehman, Charles G. Hersh and Ralph Hendershot requested to be excused from several meetings of the Conference.

 

Resolved, That they be excused.

 

Resolved, That we suspend the rules and recess to the call of the Chair.

 

Recessed at 9:50 a.m.

 

Business was resumed at 4:05 p.m.


            Report of the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee: (See Reports)

Report was adopted.



            Resolved, That should the Fourth Local Conference be scheduled after the date established for the taking of the pastoral poll, all business pertaining to pulpit supply shall be conducted by the Official Board elect. (First Reading) (This resolution shall be added at the proper time to the FAITH AND ORDER, page 17, paragraph #2)


            Resolved, That each Church establish its own minimum support that it will pay its pastor. This action shall be by the Official Board at a meeting held no later than November 1. Report of this action shall be made to the local congregation not later than November 15. (Second Reading)

 

The following were elected:

            Study Committee on the Problem of Divorce: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Bert N. Brosius, Jansen E. Hartman and Donald T. Kirkwood.


            Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to meet tonight at 6:30 o'clock.

 

Adjourned with prayer by Norman L. Reed.


Eighth Meeting

Wednesday Evening, October 16, 1963

            The meeting was opened with the singing of "When We All Get to Heaven" and Allan F. Smith led in prayer.


            The minutes of the morning and afternoon meetings were read and approved.

 

Report of the Committee on Statistics: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.

 

The following were elected:

            Committee to study the Problem of Secret Societies: Earl M. Hosler, Frank L. Herb, A. L. Seifert, John H. Riggall, William A. Heffner.

 

Report of Government Committee (Second Reading)


COMMITTEE ON EVANGELISM AND SPIRITUAL LIFE - (An Official Board Committee)


General Duty

            It shall endeavor to ascertain the spiritual needs of the local church and make suggestions and recommendations to the Official Board that will promote an evangelistic emphasis and the deepening and strengthening of the spiritual life of the church.


Specific Duties

            1. It shall plan with the Pastor special evangelistic efforts and deeper life conferences.

            2. It shall develop a program of prayer ministry prior to and in conjunction with all special endeavors under its jurisdiction.


            3. It shall endeavor with the Pastor to institute classes for new converts, visitation campaigns in conjunction with evangelistic efforts and means of reaching and holding those who have been contacted for Christ.

            4. It shall endeavor through the Church to promote an active and intensive tract distribution ministry.

            5. It shall provide for the entertainment of all evangelists and conference speakers whom it secures for services in the Church.

            6. It shall recommend to the Official Board adequate means and methods to publicize its ministries.

            Note:   Due to the special nature of this Committee's work, serious consideration should be given to appointing the Official Board as this Committee.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF BEREAN BIBLE SCHOOL


            1. The Board of Directors of Berean Bible School shall be composed of:

                        a. The District Superintendents

                        b. Four ordained ministers

c. Seven laymen

2. Election:

                        a. The following classes shall be formed:

                                    I. Two ministers - two laymen

II. One minister - three laymen

                                    III. One minister - two laymen

                        b. Each class in turn shall be elected annually by ballot by the Annual Conference for a term of three years.

            Duties - 1. The Board of Directors of Berean Bible School shall be responsible for the Doctrines and Practices of the Berean Bible School, shall safeguard the doctrines of the Bible as set forth in the FAITH & ORDER and shall enforce the regulations of the Annual Conference.

            2. It shall be responsible for the provision of facilities for the School.

            3. It shall be responsible for the execution of all legal transactions relating to the School.

            4. It shall be responsible for all funds received as provided by the Annual Conference.

            5. It shall elect the President of the School and define his duties.

            6. It shall approve all appointments of teachers, administration officers, and major employees upon the recommendation of the President and Faculty Committee.

            7. It shall give a full report of all activities of the School and present a prospective budget to the Annual Conference each year.

            8. It shall divide the responsibilities by choosing committees from among its own members, and sub-committees from among non-members of the Board.

            9. All members of the Board and Faculty shall annually subscribe to the Articles of Faith of the Bible Fellowship Church.


SUNDAY SCHOOL PROMOTION COMMITTEE

The Sunday School Promotion Committee shall be composed of:

            1. The District Superintendents

            2. Director of Church Extension

            3. Three ordained ministers and six laymen

 

Classes shall be formed as follows:

                        I. One minister - two laymen

                        II. One minister - two laymen

III. One minister - two laymen

            Each class in turn shall be elected annually by ballot by the Annual Conference for a term of three years.

            Duties - 1. The Sunday School Promotion Committee shall stimulate and promote interest and attendance in the Sunday Schools of the denomination.

            2. It shall provide guidance in carrying out the Sunday School program.

            3. It shall plan for Sunday School conventions and group meetings.

            4. It shall receive funds designated by the Annual Conference and disburse them for denominational Sunday School promotion.

            5. It shall submit a written report to the Annual Conference.


YOUTH FELLOWSHIP GENERAL COMMITTEE

Election - see page 12 - FAITH & ORDER

            Duties - 1. The Youth Fellowship General Committee shall recommend to the Annual Conference organizational standards for the local youth fellowships.

            2. It shall provide achievement goals for the local youth fellowships.

            3. It shall provide denominational youth fellowship retreats and/or other denominational youth activities.

            4. It shall assist regional youth fellowship activities.

            5. It shall communicate information relative to youth activities through Fellowship News.

6. It shall submit a written report to the Annual Conference.


COMMITTEE ON PUBLICATION & PRINTING

Appointment - see page 12 - FAITH & ORDER

            Duties - 1. The Committee on Publication & Printing shall ascertain the needs of the local churches and Sunday schools relative to printed supplies for financial and statistical purposes.

            2. It shall purchase supplies commensurate with the need.

            3. It shall submit a written report to the Annual Conference and also prospective budget for the ensuing year.

            The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Government Committee. (Second Reading)


QUALIFICATION & DUTIES OF MEMBERS

            Any one desiring to be a member of the Bible Fellowship Church shall give testimony and evidence of faith in Christ and the new birth. He shall be in sympathy with the FAITH & ORDER, be baptized by immersion subsequent to salvation and manifest spirituality and the separated life.

            Evidence of dedication to Christ and loyalty to the Bible Fellowship Church shall be shown by personal devotion, faithful attendance at stated meetings, financial support, Christian service, brotherly love one to another and submission to the leaders of the Church.

The above was held for consideration at a later date.

 

Report of the Committee to Study Moral Standards. (Second Reading)

Article

APPAREL

            The Scriptures instruct believers to adorn themselves with modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety. Children of God are to guard against immodesty, extravagance and extremes in their dress. We urge therefore neatness, cleanliness, and decency in the mode of dress.1


(1)I Timothy 2:9, 10.


Article

SEPARATION

            That the Christian life is to be devoted to God's glory1 and eternal realities2, rather than the passing and dangerous pursuits of this world3, is the repeated burden of the Scriptures. In view of this fact we feel compelled to caution our people against improper relationships4, pursuits, and excessive indulgence in innocent amusements which may become barriers to spiritual vitality and the cause of spiritual decline.5

            Some amusements and relationships are positively demoralizing and furnish the first easy steps to the total loss of character. We therefore look with deep concern on the great increase of potentially harmful amusements, and lift up a solemn note of warning against theater going, indecent literature, dancing, and such games of chance as are frequently associated with gambling, and the indiscriminate use of television; all of which may be antagonistic to vital piety, promotive of worldliness, and especially pernicious to youth.

            We encourage our people to make their conduct the subject of careful thought and prayer, to study the subject in the light of their tendencies. We adjure them to remember that the question must be, not whether their conduct will dull the spiritual life and become an unwise example6, but whether it will be a positive benefit to others.7

            Having been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God8 we have been raised up and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus9; therefore we should walk in newness of life and set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth.2


(1)I Corinthians 10:31. (2) Colossians 3:2. (3) I Timothy 6:9. (4) II Corinthians 6:14. (5) James 1:15; Mark 4:19. (6) I Corinthians 8:13. (7) I Corinthians 10:33; 10:24. (8) I Corinthians 6:11. (9) Ephesians 2:6.


DIRECTORY OF WORSHIP OF GOD

Article

PRIVATE WORSHIP

            Worship is the act of paying reverence, adoration, or homage to God. God's people are instructed by His Word1 and the example of Christ2 to make the experience of private worship a regular part of daily life. This should be practiced in a systematic manner, and should consist of Bible reading, meditation, and prayer. In order to establish a good program of personal devotions, believers are encouraged to establish a regular daily time and place for such worship.3


(1) Psalm 1:2. (2) Matthew 14:23. (3) Matthew 6:6.


Article

FAMILY WORSHIP

            Family worship, which ought to be performed daily by every family, consists of prayer, reading Scriptures, and singing praises. The spiritual head of the family, who is to lead in this service, ought to be careful that all members of his household attend and participate and that proper reverence is maintained. Let the heads of families be careful to instruct their children in the principles of Christianity, embracing every opportunity for such instruction.1


(1)Deuteronomy 6:7; II Timothy 1:5; 3:15.


Article

PUBLIC WORSHIP

            (1) Regular Services: True worshippers of God will make it a practice to attend the stated weekly meetings of the local congregation which include Sunday School, Morning Worship, Evening Service and Prayer Meeting. The Scriptural admonition is emphatic when it states that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.1 It is not only our God-given responsibility but a blessed privilege and joy2 thus to assemble.

            The meetings should be started promptly as announced. We recommend that heart preparation be made upon entrance to God's house, and that silent meditation prevail as prayer is made to the Lord to bless the services.


(1)Hebrews 10:24, 25. (2) Psalm 122:1.


a. Lord's Day Worship Services

            The worship services shall consist of congregational singing, prayer, receiving of offerings, Scripture reading, and preaching of the Word. Singing should be considered an important part of worship; and the preaching of the Word given due prominence, seeing it is God's institution for the salvation of the lost, edification of the saints, and instruction in Divine truth to the hearers.

b. Sunday Bible Schools

            Sunday Bible Schools shall be conducted on the Lord's Day wherein the Scriptures shall be studied and taught with provision being made for graded instruction. Pupils shall be encouraged to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord as the Holy Spirit brings conviction concerning their needs.

c. Prayer Meetings

            Because prayer is essential to the life and power of the church1, members should make special efforts to attend and participate in the Prayer Services of the local assembly. The leader shall give a brief exhortation based on the Scriptures. Individual participation in prayer and praise shall be encouraged. Other periods of prayer during the week are most welcome and highly desirable in preserving the saints and providing an efficient means of resisting the devil.2


(1)Matthew 18:20. (2) James 4:7.

            (2) Communion Services: Periodically, as a part of the regular services, a communion service1 shall be held at which time all believers shall be encouraged to participate in this solemn service. Prior to the observance of the Lord's Supper the minister in charge shall conduct a preparatory service during which the meaning of the communion shall be made clear and during which also prospective communicants shall examine themselves.2


(1)I Corinthians 11:23-26. (2) I Corinthians 11:28.


            (3) Special Services: In addition to the regular appointments for public worship, we urge our constituency to have other meetings in the form of Evangelistic and Revival Meetings, Missionary and Bible Conferences, and Children's Meetings for further strengthening of the local testimony and the building up of the body of Christ.


Article

CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP

            Christian stewardship has its origin in God's ownership of all things. Since we have been saved by grace through faith, and the death of Christ on the cross provided our ransom1, our whole being should be freely and willingly given unto God.2 Not only does God claim our love and devotion, but He has made us stewards of what we have in time, talent, and material goods. Tithing was practiced since the time of Abraham3 and was required of God after the Law was given.4 Giving of our means to support the Lord's work is a Scriptural injunction and an act of worship5, and since the New Testament clearly indicates our giving is to be systematic and proportionate6, believers are encouraged to adopt the principle of tithing their income as a minimum expression of their stewardship. Our Stewardship is to be motivated by the Holy Spirit and the example of our Lord who freely gave Himself for us all.


(1)I Corinthians 6:20. (2) Romans 12:1. (3) Genesis 14:20. (4) Malachi 3:8. (5)II Corinthians 9:6,7. (6) I Corinthians 16:2.

 

Report was adopted.

 

The following were elected:

            Board of Church Extension: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Jansen E. Hartman, Frank L. Herb Jr., William A. Heffner, Clayton E. Weber, S. A. Hackman.

 

General Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions: Willard E. Cassel.


            Board of Foreign Missions: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Willard E. Cassel, C. E. Kirkwood, Earl M. Hosler, Kermit K. Gehman, Roy E. Williams, Rufus Spedden, James R. Cressman.


            David Watkins requested to be excused from attending tomorrow morning's meeting.

Resolved, That he be excused.

 

Adjourned 9:05 p.m. with prayer by Jansen E. Hartman.


Ninth Meeting

Thursday Morning, October 17, 1963

            Willard E. Cassel opened the meeting with leading in the singing of the hymn, "Jesus the Very Thought of Thee" and LeRoy S. Heller sang, "Not I But Christ" as a solo. Philippians 2:1-11 was the portion of scripture read by R. C. Reichenbach and Frank L. Herb Jr. led in the opening prayer and sought guidance from God for the activities of the day. The Scripture portion read was used by James G. Koch as a basis of his devotional meditation setting forth Christ's example of humility, a grace that should be more in evidence in our relationships with one another.

 

The minutes of last evening's meeting were read and approved.


            The following brethren asked to be excused from various meetings of the Conference: John E. Golla and Allan F. Smith.

Resolved, That they be excused.

 

The following were elected:

            Board of Directors: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Jansen E. Hartman, John H. Riggall, James G. Koch, F. B. Hertzog, Byron C. Cassel, Daniel K. Ziegler, Paul I. Wentz.

 

The Chairman declared a recess at 10:10 a.m.

 

Business was resumed at 11:50 a.m.


Report of the Historical Committee


            Immediately after appointment by Annual Conference in October 1962, the Historical Committee made use of the Fellowship News to advertise its assignment and to request suggestions and donations of money or materials. There was no response to this article in our church paper.

            A survey of existing historical materials pertaining to the Bible Fellowship Church revealed that they fall into the following three general classifications:

            1. Materials stored in various church property "dead spaces", including Mizpah Grove buildings. Contents, value and even exact locations are generally little known.

            2. Materials and mental recollections highly prized by individuals, but in many cases in danger of being lost by the passing to be with the Lord of the present possessor.

            3. Materials collected at Berean Bible School which consist of the following:

a. A set of Annual Conference Year Books, complete except for a few years between 1900 and 1910,

                        b. A partial set of General Conference Year Books.

                        c. A complete set of the "Fellowship News".

                        d. A set of M.B.C. and B.F.C. inserts from the Gospel Heralds (probably complete).

                        e. A few copies of the "Gospel Banner".

                        f. Some of the old Disciplines.

                        g. Materials published by or related to Berean Bible School.

            The Committee reviewed reports of the Mennonite Historical and Research Committee and of the Archivist of the Bible Presbyterian Church. It appears that historical collections in various denominations have usually begun on a small scale and have grown in later years to be most valuable as they give an authentic reflection of the life and history of the church. An example of an advanced collection is that of the Presbyterian Historical Society on the 5th floor of the Witherspoon Building, just a block from Wanamakers in Philadelphia.

            There are two important considerations which form the foundation of any worthwhile historical collection. The first is an adequate repository to safely store the accumulated materials. The second is a person (or persons) with a keen interest in and a fairly intimate knowledge of the work of our denomination.

            To implement an official collection of historical church materials, the Committee submits the following recommendations:

            1. Annual Conference shall request the Board of Directors of Berean Bible School to approve the use of Berean Bible School as the repository for historical materials.

            2. The Chairman of Annual Conference shall appoint an Archivist who shall receive and classify historical materials. He shall have indefinite tenure and shall make an annual report of his activities to Annual Conference.

            3. Annual Conference shall elect an Historical Committee to assist the Archivist and to determine policy and procedures for the historical collection. The committee shall consist of one pastor and two laymen with terms of office of three years, except for the first year when elections would be

1 layman for a 1-year term

            1 pastor for a 2-year term

            1 layman for a 3-year term

            4. Pastors and delegates be requested to assist in the collection of historical materials by:

            a. supplying to the Archivist names of persons having materials of historical interest in their possession, and that they encourage these persons to deliver these important materials to the Church Archivist or that they suggest making provision in their wills for adding these materials to the church collection, and

            b. having each local church appoint a local historian who will collect newspaper items, church bulletins, special service announcements, programs, pictures, etc. These local collections would be a supply source for the Church Archivist in obtaining information and materials for the Conference Collection.

Historical Committee:

            Byron C. Cassel, Chairman                James G. Koch

            Horace A. Kauffman, Secretary         Daniel G. Ziegler

            Paul H. Cressman

 

The Report was adopted.

 

Adjourned with prayer by W. W. Hartman.


Tenth Meeting

Thursday Afternoon, October 17, 1963

The meeting was opened with prayer by T. Lamarn Manney.


            Resolved, That Annual Conference request the Board of Directors of Berean Bible School to approve the use of Berean Bible School as the repository for historical materials.


            Resolved, That the Chairman of Annual Conference appoint an Archivist who shall receive and classify historical materials. He shall have indefinite tenure and shall make an annual report of his activities to Annual Conference.

The Chair appointed Harold P. Shelly, Jr.


            Resolved, That Annual Conference elect an Historical Committee to assist the Archivist and to determine policy and procedures for the historical collection. The committee shall consist of one pastor and two laymen with terms of office of three years, except for the first year when elections would be

1 layman for a 1-year term

            1 pastor for a 2-year term

            1 layman for a 3-year term

 

The following were elected:

            Historical Committee: One year, Paul H. Cressman; Two years, Daniel G. Ziegler; Three years, Byron C. Cassel


            Resolved, That pastors and delegates be requested to assist in the collection of historical materials by:

            a. supplying to the Archivist names of persons having materials of historical interest in their possession, and that they encourage these persons to deliver these important materials to the Church Archivist or that they suggest making provision in their wills for adding these materials to the church collection, and

            b. having each local church appoint a local historian who will collect newspaper items, church bulletins, special service announcements, programs, pictures, etc. These local collections would be a supply source for the Church Archivist in obtaining information and materials for the Conference Collection.

 

The following were elected:

            Committee on Credentials: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, C. E. Kirkwood, Frank L. Herb, W. B. Hottel.


            Committee on Ministerial Candidates: A. L. Seifert, Earl M. Hosler, Jansen E. Hartman, Carl C. Cassel, William A. Heffner.


            Resolved, That the Board of Directors of the Home be reduced in number from twelve to seven members and that it be composed of five ordained ministers and two laymen, and, further,

            Resolved, That the Board be divided into two classes to be formed as follows:

            1. Three ministers and one layman.

            2. Two ministers and one layman.


            Each class in turn shall be elected by ballot by the Annual Conference for a term of two years. (Second Reading)



            Board of Directors of the Home: (One Year) F. B. Hertzog, T. D. Gehret, E. W. Bean, Harold A. Mann. (Two Years) A. L. Seifert, Ernest B. Hartman, Paul I. Wentz.


 

The Chair ruled a recess at 3:10 p.m.

 

Business was resumed at 3:35 p.m.

 

Report of the Stewardship Committee:

I. Introduction

            A Stewardship Committee submitted a report to Annual Conference in 1962. That report is published in full at pages 30-41 of the 1962 Yearbook. It dealt with:

            I. A Biblical Basis for Church Finance.

            II. Problems Existing in Bible Fellowship Church.

            III. Alternatives in our Denominational Financial Management.

            IV. Looking toward a solution.


            After this report had been submitted, Annual Conference passed a resolution reading as follows:

            "RESOLVED that we elect a Committee of three ministers and two laymen to present definite recommendations and to work with all boards and committees to assist them in the preparation of a budget system to be presented at next Annual Conference."

            There seems to be no need to cover again in review all of the material included in last year's report. We respectfully refer to it as though it were incorporated herein.

We submit herewith several specific recommendations on this subject:


II. Meeting the Denominational Needs

A. For Administration

            1. At Annual Conference, the Board of Directors of the church shall present to the Conference a proposed budget covering the administrative expenses for the year that will begin 12 months later, embracing the following needs:

                        a. Printing and Publication

                        b. Conference Entertainment Expense

                        c. Beneficiary Fund

                        d. District Superintendents' Support

                        e. Parsonages for District Superintendents

                        f. Ministers' Retirement Fund

                        g. Moving Fund

                        h. Fares and meals of the following boards and committees while on church business:

                        (1) Board of Directors

                        (2) Government Committee

(3) Credentials Committee

(4) Ministerial Candidate Committee

(5) Statistical and Agenda Committee

                        (6) Any ad hoc committee created by Annual Conference

                        i. Other expenses of Board of Directors, such as:

                        (1) Attorney Fees

                        (2) Workmen's Compensation Insurance

                        (3) Safe Deposit Box Rental

                        (4) Stationery, Printing, Postage, Telephone

                        (5) Office Machinery rentals and repairs

            2. The Board of Directors elected at Annual Conference shall appoint of its members a sub-committee to supervise the establishment and administration of the budget under the direction of the Board. Each official board, through its delegate, shall forward to the secretary of this subcommittee, not later than January 15 following Annual Conference, his church's pledge of the amount it will contribute toward the proposed budget. The Board of Directors at its February meeting will receive the budget sub-committee's report of the amount pledged toward this need of the church. The Board will distribute to each delegate a report of the total amount subscribed and the delegate shall make this report known to the official board of his church at its next meeting.

            3. Should the budget have been undersubscribed, opportunity to increase its subscription will be available to any local church up to the day of the adjourned session of Annual Conference. If the proposed total has not been subscribed, the Board of Directors will recommend to the adjourned session adjustments in the proposed expenditures that will bring it into balance with the total pledge of offerings toward this need.

            4. After adjourned session has balanced the budget and approved it, the budget shall be effective for the year starting with adjournment of the next Annual Conference. Pledges made to meet this need should be considered as binding as any other vow made before the Lord. Payment of the pledge by each local church shall be forwarded to the Secretary of the Board of Directors. Checks shall be made payable to the "Bible Fellowship Church." Payments may be made annually in advance or one-twelfth of the pledge may be paid on the last day of each month starting October 31.


B. All Other Denominational Efforts

            We recommend that each of the other Boards - Berean, Church Extension, Foreign Missions, Home, Mizpah Grove, Victory Valley - the General Youth Committee and Sunday School Promotion Committee, submit annual budgets in the same manner as proposed for the Board of Directors, on approximately the same time schedule, setting forth the needs in the

individual areas together with the financial requirements of programs for the future as envisioned under God's guidance and inspiration.


C. Summary of Recommended Denominational Budget Procedures

            Restated in outline form, the proposed procedure for each Board and Committee, as proposed above, would be as follows:

            1. Present its annual budget to Conference (one year in advance).

            2. Each church through its Official Board shall report its pledge by the following January 15.

            3. The Boards shall distribute to each delegate a report of pledges compared with the proposed budget.

            4. The delegate shall present this report to his Official Board.

            5. Increases in subscriptions may be received up to the time of adjourned session of Annual Conference.

            6. Budgets shall be brought into balance and approved at the adjourned session of Annual Conference.

            7. Remittances for other denominational needs shall be made as at present, except that 1/12th of the pledge for administrative expenses shall be remitted on the last day of each month starting with October 31st of the budget year.


            These recommendations, of course, provide for nine separate budgets. This may add somewhat to the complexity of the operation. A unified budget at the denominational level would permit simplification of the financial structure, but we believe this unification could be best achieved after some years of experience on a plan for budgeting separately in each field of activity.


D. Suggested Form of Budget Covering

 

            Administration Expenses                                            Proposed         Contributed

                        as Defined Herein                                           Budget            in 1962

            1. Publication and Printing                                        $ 1,800.00       $ 2,351.31

            2. Conference Entertainment Expense                       650.00        648.00

            3. Beneficiary Fund                                                    860.00        856.26

            4. District Superintendents' Support                           18,000.00        15,926.16

            5. District Superintendents' Parsonages

                         (See footnote 1)                                               5,100.00        2,219.92

            6. Ministers' Retirement Fund (See footnote 2)          4,540.00        3,811.04

            7. Moving Fund                                                          1,800.00        2,162.00

            8. Fares and Meals                                                      1,200.00        1,183.49*

            9. Incidentals                                                              325.00        263.22*

            10. Contingencies                                                       500.00       

            Total                                                                           $34,775.00      $29,421.80


Note 1. This suggestion includes $2100 for operating expenses and $3,000 for debt reduction. Total debt on District Superintendents' Parsonages as of October 1, 1962, was $27,244.87.

Note 2. This suggestion is based on 3% of the 1962 Steward Offering.

*This sum was covered out of balances remaining from the operation of Mizpah Grove.


Allentown District

                                                                                                1962

                                                                                                Total                           Sample

                                                                        1962                offerings         Propor-distribu-

                                                1962                Offerings        less those        tion     tion of

                                                Total               for admin.       for admin-       of        suggested

                                                Offerings        istration           istraton            the       budget

                                                (1)                   (2)                   (3)                   (4)       (5)

Allentown (Bethel)                 $ 94,785.24     $ 2,084.32      $ 92,700.92    25.12   $ 4,730.27

Reading                                   38,811.03      1,853.95       36,957.08     10.01   1,884.95

Sunbury                                   18,425.55      1,047.53       17,378.02     4.71   886.92

York                                        21,594.34      864.57       20,729.77     5.62   1,058.28

Hatfield                                    30,456.95      1,090.49       29,366.46     7.96   1,498.92

Shamokin                                12,629.36      541.89       12,087.47     3.28   617.65

Mt. Carmel                              16,792.58      774.16       16,018.42     4.34   817.25

Harrisburg                               19,011.84      762.29       18,249.55     4.94   930.23

Royersford                               21,086.49      695.06       20,391.43     5.52   1,039.45

Spring City                              22,500.22      554.10       21,946.12     5.95   1,120.42

Nazareth                                  15,185.93      612.17       14,573.76     3.95   743.81

Catasauqua                              9,267.60      216.67       9,050.93     2.45   461.35

Graterford                                9,736.28      497.25       9,239.03     2.50   470.77

Harleysville                             10,864.12      379.77       10,484.35     2.84   534.79

Walnutport                              5,180.93      276.62       4,904.31     1.33   250.45

Lehighton                                9,143.07      408.27       8,734.80     2.37   446.29

Lebanon                                   9,714.96 446.66        9,268.30     2.51   472.65

Stroudsburg                             6,698.95      261.40       6,437.55     1.74   327.65

Lancaster                                 10,872.85      316.44       10,556.41     2.86   538.56

Total                                       $382,758.29    $13,683.61      $369,074.68    100.00$18,830.66


Bethlehem District

Bethlehem                              $ 46,860.32    $ 1,721.53      $ 45,138.79     14.44$ 2,302.38

Emmaus                                   34,992.65     2,171.57       32,821.08     10.50 1,674.16

Philadelphia (Salem)               19,897.16     1,103.30       18,793.86     6.01 958.25

Quakertown                             19,565.21     1,044.70       18,520.51     5.93 945.50

Fleetwood                                29,710.97     1,435.50       28,275.47     9.05 1,442.96

Wallingford                             38,340.25     966.06       37,374.19     11.96 1,906.94

Easton                                      20,904.43     936:28       19,968.15     6.39 1,018.84

Coopersburg                            17,525.71     601.70       16,924.01     5.42 864.18

Terre Hill                                 24,290.54     944.30       23,346.24     7.47 1,191.04

Allentown (Salem)                  11,553.78     445.12       11,108.66     3.55 566.02

Phila. (Calvary)                       13,554.29     368.30       13,185.99     4.22 672.85

Blandon                                   11,438.81     533.85       10,904.96     3.49 556.46

Scranton                                  11,202.94     413.17       10,789.77     3.45 550.08

Phila. (Emmanuel)                   11,362.05     458.25       10,903.80     3.49 556.46

Staten Island                            7,053.44     215.95       6,837.49     2.19 349.18

Zionsville                                7,942.23     300.16       7,642.07     2.44 389.04

Total                            $326,194.78    $13,659.74      $312,535.04    100.00 $15,944.34

GRAND TOTAL                   $708,953.07    $27,343.35      $681,609.72    100.00 $34,775.00


            Not in any way intending to be critical, nor in any way attempting to dictate any church's particular responsibility, please bear with your committee as we present the above budget distributed to our churches on the basis of total offerings, and compare this distribution with actual contributions made for the same items, excluding items 8, 9 and 10. We have merely used "Total Offerings" as one measure of ability to give by the particular churches. This comparison.: (See page 44)

            By this example, we are not recommending a reduction in your giving to the administration expenses. Those who are doing better than shown in column 5 on page 44 are encouraged to continue to do so as a loving assistance to those who at present may be unable to increase their giving.


II. Meeting the Local Needs

            We recommend that our local congregations be urged to establish systems that will encourage God's people to bring their tithes and offerings to the Lord each week, including their giving to missions. Thereupon, we recommend that each local congregation establish annual budgets. By the use of coded weekly envelopes and adequate record keeping, such a program will also meet the requirement of Internal Revenue Service for annual receipts.

This local budget could be a:

            1. Unified budget.

2. A two-part modified budget — (1) Missions; (2) all other needs.

            3. A three-part modified budget — (1) Missions; (2) Pastor's Support; (3) all other needs.

            The use of a budget system locally as suggested in the foregoing will facilitate the work of the official board in reaching a decision as to its subscription to the departments of the Lord's work that are carried on at the denominational level.

            We recommend that, through the customary efforts employed to increase interest of God's people in the out-reach of the church, we continue to work for missions, with the annual pledge for giving to missions to be placed on a weekly basis so it will fit in with other efforts to place the bringing of tithes and offerings to God as a part of our worship on each Lord's Day.


III. Conclusions

            The Apostle Paul wrote: "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." The recommendations given herein have been made with an effort to preserve the principle of free-will giving, since any attempt at making assessments with which to carry on the Lord's work at the denominational level could never give adequate consideration to local needs.

            Yet each local church must give adequate consideration to the total effort. The King's business requireth haste. But the speed with which we advance the Lord's work - whether it be missions; church extension; preparing young people for special work in the great harvest field; in summer conference work; or in taking care of day-to-day details — will depend greatly upon how much of the financial burden God's people are willing to assume.

            STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE

James G. Koch, Chairman

Donald B. Schaeffer

LeRoy S. Heller

 

The Report was adopted.


            Resolved, That recommendation II, A of the report Committee on Stewardship be adopted.

 

Adjourned with prayer by E. W. Bean.


Eleventh Meeting

Friday Morning, October 18, 1963

            The devotional period opened with the singing of "Near to the Heart of God" led by Donald B. Schaeffer. Carl C. Cassel sang a hymn of praise entitled, "I Hear the Words of Love." The Scripture reading by W. B. Hottel was found in I Corinthians 11:23-32 and George E. Herb prayed, invoking God's blessing on the brethren as they will serve their various churches. Prior to the observance of the Lord's Supper, Vice Chairman, A. L. Seifert delivered an address on "Christ, the Bread of Life" portraying Christ as the believer's life and sustenance.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

The following were elected:

            Committee on Stewardship: LeRoy S. Heller, James G. Koch, Donald B. Schaeffer, Daniel K. Ziegler, Byron C. Cassel.


Report of the Committee on Communications:

            Communications were received from Paul E. Baer, James Bigley, Barclay Harley, Ronald Hoyle, C. L. Miller, J. B. Layne, Olive Rawn, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Buck, and Roy Hertzog.

We appreciate their interest in, and prayer for this Annual Conference.

May God richly bless them in their labors of love.

            John H. Riggall, Chairman                 Daniel K. Ziegler

            Earl M. Hosler, Secretary                   Byron C. Cassel

W. B. Hottel

 

The Report was adopted.


Report of the Committee on Auditing:

            The Committee on Auditing has examined the financial records of the reports listed below and find them to be correct and in good condition.

            District Superintendents' Reports, Director of Church Extension, Conference Treasurer, Board of Directors, Board of Foreign Missions, Board of Church Extension, Board of Directors of Berean Bible School, Board of Directors of the Home, Board of Victory Valley Camp, Youth Fellowship General Committee, Sunday School Promotion Committee, Committee on Finance, Camp Meetings, Camp Meeting Cafeteria, General Camp Meeting, Committee, Ministers' Retirement Fund, Laymen's Benevolent Society, Beneficiary Fund, Fellowship News, Committee on Publication and Printing, and Committee on Statistics.

            The Committee also reports that the accounts of Berean Bible School were audited by W. N. Serfass and Co., Certified Public Accountants, Bethlehem, Pa. The following is quoted from a letter accompanying this audit:

            "We have examined the balance sheet of the Berean Bible School as of June 30, 1963 and the statements of current income and expenditures and current funds surplus for the period then ended .... Nothing came to our attention during the course of the examination which would cause us to believe that the statements are other than as represented."

            James G. Koch                       Richard T. Holmes Sr.

            Robert Breitegam                   Horace A. Kauffman

            Ralph D. Cole                         Harold A. Mann

            Edward J. Dietzman               R. S. Weidner

            J. Erwin Fretz                         Daniel G. Ziegler

            Robert W. Gehret                   Daniel K. Ziegler

            John H. Herb


            The Report was adopted.


Report of the Committee on Examination of Annual Conference Records:

            We hereby certify that we have examined the Annual Conference Minutes of the 1962 session, and have found them correct with the exception of the following:

            1. On page 4, the name T. D. Gehret should be added to:

                        a. Board of Foreign Missions

                        b. Board of Church Extension

            2. On page 51, the name Willard E. Cassel should be added to the Board of Foreign Missions

            3. On page 54, in the article on Oaths, the word "work" should read, "word as sacred".

            4. On page 68-H, the resolution by the Youth Fellowship General Committee should read, "workshop scheduled for Sept. 28, 1963" rather than, "worship schedule."

We hereby submit two copies duly certified.

            Chairman                    Secretary

            George E. Herb           Alva C. Cassel


            The Report was adopted.


Report of the Laymen's Benevolent Society: (See Reports)


Report of the Committee to Study Church Government:

            In attempting to fulfill its responsibility to study Church government and to make recommendations to Annual Conference concerning the government of our denomination, this Committee has spent many hours in study and discussion. We have had many differences of opinion, but unitedly we seek that which is right and best for our Church. We submit the following report as a summation of principles found in the Scriptures concerning Church government. As the recommendations indicate we desire study and discussion of these matters by the Annual Conference prior to preparing final legislation.


OUTLINE

I.Introduction: Why Have Biblical Church Government?

II.Biblical Principles Pertaining to Particular Church Government

III. Biblical Principles Pertaining to the Government of a Fellowship of Churches

IV.Some Implications of These Principles

V.Recommendations


I. Introduction: "Why Have Biblical Church Government?"

            The Bible Fellowship Church professes to desire to be under the authority of Jesus Christ her Head. Christ has expressed His direction for His Church in the Scriptures.

            We need Biblical Church government because (1) Our Church is not ours but Christ's, (2) Christ has expressed His will for His people in Scripture and (3) Scripture includes some statements on faith and conduct including some teaching on organization.

            We will have problems if we do not desire Biblical Church government. Some of these are: (1) that we will have no objective standard by which to determine if our government is the best for us, (2) that we will have to decide where to stop laying aside the teaching of Scripture if we lay it aside here, (3) that by a pragmatic approach of adopting a system that seems to work best now we may be creating problems for the future, (4) that by not seeking to know the will of God as fully as we might we may miss part of God's blessing.

            If we are to have Biblical Church government, we must decide what we believe the Bible teaches on this subject. We submit the following as a summary of Biblical principles as we understand them.


II. Biblical Principles Pertaining to Particular Church Government

A. The Source of Particular Church Authority

            The source of authority in the particular Church is Christ the Head of the Church. No office bearer in the Church has authority in himself, his authority is delegated authority — given by and exercised for Christ (I Cor. 12; Rom. 12; 1 Peter 4:10f). Christ as Head of the Church has chosen to exercise His authority through men chosen by Himself and elected by the people of the particular Church (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). Those so chosen to rule the particular Church as Christ's undershepherds are termed elders/bishops in the N. T. They are responsible to Christ primarily and to the congregation secondarily (Heb. 13:7, 17, 24).

            The officers of the Church on earth are ruling elders, teaching elders and deacons. Christ, as prophet, priest and king to the church, has been given all authority in heaven on earth and in the church (Col. 1:15-18). Thus He is the source of all authority. This fact can easily be overlooked and given little more than lip service and theoretical recognition, or it can be a guiding principle in formulating Church order.

            B. The Nature of Particular Church Authority

            The authority of Christ is conveyed to men who are termed elders/bishops. Since it is conveyed directly from Christ to men, it is proper to refer to this authority as "primary authority,” “direct authority." This is in contrast with the authority vested in assemblies (Acts 15 for example) which is "secondary authority," "derived authority" — authority derived from the particular church elders who convey to the assemblies any authority they possess, for there is no higher permanent office or authority in the N. T. Church than that of elders/bishops.

The authority of the particular Church can be referred to in the following ways:

            1. It is spiritual authority — it concerns things spiritual, not juridical.

            2. It is primary authority — it is received directly from Christ not indirectly.

            3. It is general authority — it is not limited as is the authority of major assemblies.

            The authority of the particular Church is ministerial and declarative, moral and spiritual. Nowhere is the Church vested with any other authority. Neither is this authority derived from some federation, union or assembly; it is directly from Christ Himself. For this reason it is called primary authority. The particular Church does not get its authority from the denomination but the converse.

            Thus there is a real sense in which each particular Church can be referred to as autonomous. Each particular Church has all that is essential to a church — the preaching of the Word, the observance of the ordinances, the oversight by duly elected elders and the exercise of discipline. Christ is the Head of each particular Church as well as the Church universal. Each particular Church, regardless of size, wealth or circumstance, is equipped with all that is essential to its government. In Christ it possesses the fulness of the body; it is a church.

            C. The Bestowal of Authority

            This has been alluded to above. The authority of Christ is conveyed to the particular Church through elders/bishops. They are essential to the very existence of a truly N. T. Church. In the N. T. they always exist in a plurality. They are divided into two classes: teaching elders and ruling elders (I Tim. 5:17). The N. T. knows of no higher permanent officebearer. They are referred to as ruling a congregation, the congregation is referred to as ruled (Heb. 13:7, 17, 24). Negatively they are not to lord it over the flock, positively they are to take oversight (Acts 20:28) and rule (I Peter 5:2).

            The authority possessed by the elders/bishops is not by virtue of innate ability or acquired skills, rather it is Christ's authority conveyed to His undershepherds for the oversight of His flock. It is primary and direct, coming from Christ to the elders/bishops.

            D. The Exercise of Particular Church Authority

            The authority of the particular Church is exercised autonomously and in connection with other particular Churches.

            Who comprises the governing body on the particular Church level? It is not the pastor, he is an elder among elders. It is not the congregation, they are ruled by the elders. It is not the deacons, they do not rule but serve. It is not the trustees, they are not referred to in Scripture. In the light of our study it is the elders of the particular Churches. They are selected by the people, chosen to preach the Word and observe the ordinances, rule and exercise discipline. Possessing elders who are selected by the people for the purpose of ruling Christ's flock as He directs, each particular Church is complete, lacking nothing essential for the conduct of the affairs peculiar to it.

E. Summary

            N. T. Principles Affecting Particular Church Government

            1. Christ is the Head over all things to the Church.

            2. Office-bearers are to be chosen by the people.

            3. Bishops and elders are identical in the Church.

            4. In each Church there was a plurality of elders.

            5. There is a parity of the clergy (teaching elders).

6. There is the exercise of appeal to the assembly of elders, and the right of government exercised by them in their associate capacity.

            F. The Relation of Particular Churches to Agencies

            Since direct authority is conveyed from Christ to elders and since primary authority resides in Particular Churches, the boards and agencies of the fellowship are the servants of the Churches to whom they are accountable and responsible.

            Inasmuch as particular Churches by nature and design seek fellowship of other Churches of like faith and order, finding it impossible to engage in certain types of work single-handedly, boards and agencies are set up in order that through united action the Christian mandate might be carried out. Since one phase of the work of the Church is carried out on the upper level, and since boards and agencies are usually elected by and report to the upper level, it is quite possible to think that the only accountability and responsibility is that to the upper level. This mode of thinking is easily adopted. But it is unbiblical in that it by-passes the particular Church, the divinely ordained rulers of the Churches and the primary source of Church authority. Thus it is not wrong to say that the boards and agencies are servants of the Churches and by the Churches is meant the particular Churches comprising the fellowship or denomination.

            The study of upper-level government will not contradict nor detract from what has been said above concerning the particular Church authority; it will, however, bring out other facets of truth which will result in modification of the prerogatives of the autonomous particular Church in the realm of practice. Autonomy will not be denied but neither will independency or isolation be espoused. Each aspect must be taken together to get the whole picture and the true N. T. emphasis. Nevertheless, it is worthy to note here that no union with other churches destroys the autonomy of the particular Church. On the other hand, autonomy does not permit particular Churches to remain in isolation or act as a law unto themselves. The very nature of the Church itself demands the contrary. Hence there will be times when the particular Church will be called upon to forego its own privileges and rights for that of the greater good of the universal Church or fellowship of Churches, just as the individual member will be called upon to forego his privileges and rights for the welfare of the particular Church.

            When the Biblical teaching relating to the upper-level and lower-level are brought together, and each strand given due consideration, the ideas of autonomy and authority are made harmonious by the equally Biblical teaching concerning the nature of the Church, namely the teaching concerning mutual subordination and interdependence. It is not autonomy without authority, neither is it authority without autonomy. It is autonomous authoritarianism made possible by mutual subordination. This, of course, can easily be abused, and hypothetical questions can be raised without end. But the doctrine of justification by faith can be given the same treatment. Thus the former cannot be rejected by easy abuse and one-sided questions. Neither can it be rejected by playing one strand of Biblical teaching to the convenient neglect of the other.

III.      Biblical Principles Pertaining to the Government of a Fellowship of Churches

            A. Biblical Evidence for the Existence of a Fellowship of Churches

            The essential unity of the Church demands that particular Churches organize into a wider fellowship. There is only one Church (Eph. 4:4, 5). This Church is both visible and invisible. All agree that the Church as invisible is one, but many Bible-believing Christians do not recognize the need for the visible manifestation of our unity. The need for this manifestation is well recognized in modernist circles and has issued in the National and World Councils of Churches. We are not interested in this type of unity because it is not Biblical in its roots or fruits. However, there is a truly Biblical one-ness of the Church. As the fellowship of believers in one spirit is the basis for the unity of the Church as invisible, so the unity of the Church as visible proceeds on the basis of the visible profession of faith in Christ through common worship, ordinances and government. Is it not our responsibility to represent Christ in as complete a way as possible? If so, then isolated assemblies do not give an adequate picture of the unity of the church. This brings to our attention the second line of evidence.

            The word "Church" is used in Scripture to designate several assemblies working as one organization. This line of evidence is based on several factors. First, in Acts we read of the great numbers converted in the early days of the Church. ( Acts 2:41 - 3,000; 2:47 - "added day by day"; 4:4 - 5,000 men - not counting women; 5:14 - multitudes; 21:20 - thousands, literally myriads). However this group in Jerusalem was called "the church in Jerusalem" in Acts 8:1 and 11:22. When we couple this large number of believers with the facts that the apostles were present (Acts 8:1) plus the prophets, evangelists and elders in Jerusalem, we have sufficient officebearers for several assemblies. All these people were organized in such a way that they had concerted action; they could function as a unit (Acts 6:1-11).

            A second line of support for this claim is that there probably were several "Churches" that made up the church in Corinth. I Corinthians is a letter which deals with such specific problems that it was probably not originally a circular letter, but rather addressed to one group. However in it Paul speaks of women keeping silence in the "churches" (I Cor. 14:33b-34a). Could there not have been more than one assembly in the "church at Corinth?”

            The two main types of ways in which Paul describes Churches is a third area of support for the claim that the term "Churches" is used of several assemblies. Paul uses two types of greetings: he greets the church in the house-hold of Priscilla and Aquila (Rom. 16:5), and he greets the Church at Corinth. One is a personal designation, the other is geographic. Why should there be two types of designations for the same group?

            A fourth area of support for this claim is the long list of greetings in Romans 16. Apparently these others were part of the Church at Rome, but not part of the Church in the house of Priscilla and Aquila.

            Diversity of language or culture, as well as sheer weight of numbers, may have demanded several churches in a given area. Yet because they were recognized singularly it seems evident that there was organization between assemblies - and that a rather close-knit organization.

            The Scripture contains examples of Churches uniting for concerted action. This third line of evidence is the most easily recognized and is also the strongest. There are two major instances of united action in the N. T. The first and best known is the Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15. Here two Churches had their "elders" meet and make a policy decision on a problem common to both the Churches. Laying aside for the moment the nature of the authority of the council and how it was constituted, let us not miss the fact that this was united action. The other major reference to united action is the collection for the saints at Jerusalem mentioned in Romans 15:26 and II Cor. 8. On this occasion many churches in several parts of Greece united to help their brethren.

            It might be objected that neither of these arrangements were permanent and, therefore, should not be used as examples for our organization today. However, in the context of the general unity of the Church, they point in the direction of more permanent union when continuing needs for constructive action arose.

            From these three lines of evidence it is clear that what we have come to call denominations are not outside the pale of revelation, but are essential to the revealed mind of God.

            B. The Biblical Evidence for the Nature of the Authority in a Fellowship of Churches. If there is to be an organization of churches then the relationship between the particular churches and the group must be defined. This definition takes place in the realm of authority.

            The source of authority in a fellowship of Churches is Jesus Christ. What makes the Church the Church? Only Jesus Christ makes the Church into the Church by redeeming men to God by the sacrifice of Himself and by calling the redeemed to be part of His body (Eph. 5:25-27). Who rules the Church? Kings rule nations; presidents or boards rule companies; fathers rule home, but only Jesus Christ holds sovereign power over the Church (Matt. 16:18; 28:18-20). He is the founder as well as the administrator of the Church. Therefore, He is the source of authority in the particular and universal Church. In any fellowship of Churches therefore, He is also the sole source of authority. James Bannerman says it this way:

The church has no source of life apart from Christ being in it; the ordinances of the church have no deposit of grace apart from Christ present within them; the office-bearers of the church have no gift of power, or authority, or action apart from Christ ruling and acting through them. It is most important to remember that it is in this high and very peculiar sense that we are to understand the expression that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Head of the Church. (The Church of Christ, I, 199)

This must be true in practice as well as theory.

            The nature of authority in a fellowship of Churches is moral and spiritual. Authority is "rightful power; the right to command or act." (Websters New Inter-Collegiate Dictionary) This definition distinguishes authority from power. Power does not necessarily include the right to command or act; power is the ability to bring about its desire. Authority is the right to bring about one's desire. A six foot six, 250 pound sergeant has the authority and the power to make the privates do what he desires; a four foot eleven inch, 125 pound sergeant has the same authority, but may not have the power to bring obedience. In this section we speak of the nature of authority not power.

            When we discuss the nature of authority, we are not discussing whether or not it is to be obeyed. By its definition authority is the right to be obeyed. Thus when we discuss the nature of authority, we are discussing (1) on what basis that authority is to decide whether or not it is to be obeyed and (2) by what motivation a specific authority expects to achieve submission.

            Submission to some authority is forced. This happens when big boys give orders to little boys. The little boys do not enjoy a physical beating and so they obey. Under this type of authority, power is the motivation of securing submission. This type of authority does not demand inner submission, but only outward compliance. We all live under this type of authority in our federal, state and municipal governments. We do not support with heart-felt desire all the activities of our governments but we pay our taxes and obey the laws. We may complain bitterly that the law is wrong or that the purpose for which our tax money is used is not to our liking; but if we obey the law and pay our taxes we are citizens in good legal standing with the government. Despite our dislike for our government and our complaint about it, we cannot be disciplined or punished as long as we have not broken the law. This is legal and juridical authority. This authority overlooks motive and attitude; it judges only in terms of outward acts. Only overt acts of disobedience may bring discipline. Submission to this authority is motivated primarily by fear of punishment. In other words, legal and juridical authority depends primarily on power to bring about its will. This legal and juridical authority is that which characterizes civil government. It is the only kind of authority that obtains in civil government because there is no basis of union among the governed deeper than the appeal of utilitarian principles among selfish men. The basis of juridical judgment in authority is external only; the motivation in this situation is expedience.

            The Church has a deeper basis of union. This basis is obedience to truth constrained by divine love. This deeper basis of union allows the Church to have a more penetrating type of authority; moral and spiritual. When Christ gave His great commission, He declared that the means of extending His rule is by teaching (Matt. 28:18-20). The Church cannot be entered on any terms other than inner, willful submission of the individual to the truth of God's Word, in response to God's call. Nor can one remain in the Church apart from continued, inner, willful submission to God's Word. This is clear from the many passages of Scripture which teach that outward acts - "going forward" in a meeting, signing a decision card, living a moral life, being baptized, being received as a member of a particular church, nor even serving as an officer of a church - do not make one a believer, i.e. a member of the Church. To be a member of Christ's Church one must inwardly, willfully and completely submit to the truth of God. Because this is true, Christ could call Peter the Rock when Peter submitted to the truth of Christ (Matt. 16:13-23).

            Peter's refusal to submit to the teaching of Christ meant that at the time of Peter's opposition to Christ's teaching regarding His death, Peter was not in submission to the authority of Christ. Outwardly Peter was still following Christ; inwardly he had ceased to follow. Peter had committed no overt sinful deed between verse 16 and verse 22 of Matthew 16, but one day he wept bitterly in repentance for the sin which began there. This kind of authority does not judge by external conformity, but by internal attitudes; the Lord demands truth in the inward parts. When one is under this kind of authority, he does not ask how much I can get away with without punishment; but he asks what inner attitudes enable me best to conform to the authoritative standard. In the Church the authoritative standard is the Word of God as interpreted by the fellowship of which one is a part. Because few men - even sanctified men - think alike in all respects, and because the Word of God is complex, each man who is a part of any fellowship will not agree with every other man in the fellowship concerning each point of interpretation of revealed truth. Each man joins that group with which he has the widest area of mutual understanding. Because moral and spiritual authority demands submission to the truth, men, who differ with the majority on a point of interpretation of God's Word in an area in which the group has determined to record an official opinion, are obliged to lay aside personal preference for the expressed will of the group. In this way each individual demonstrates his conviction of the fact that he is not infallible in his interpretation or infinite in his understanding. The basis on which one decides whether or not he is obedient to moral and spiritual authority is inner conformity or submission. Thus moral and spiritual authority is differentiated from legal and juridical authority on the basis of its judgment on the nature of submission. If the Church is to be the Church on the personal, particular Church or fellowship-wide level, its authority must be inner and spiritual, not just outward. The Church is no longer the Church when its members or agencies give only outward compliance rather than inner submission to its authority.

            The other major area which differentiates legal authority from moral and spiritual authority is motive. Love is the motive of this kind of authority. This produces not only a willingness to judge action on the basis of inner attitude; but also it produces the eagerness to do the right even when doing the right demands self-denial. Paul speaks constantly of the fact that it is God's love which calls forth the best in us (Rom. 12:1, 2). Christ does not force men to obey Him, Christ commands men to the love and service He seeks by the constraint of His love (II Cor. 5:14-17). That which is acceptable to God is done for love of Him and is done so that we conform to His standard inwardly and completely not just outwardly. This is acknowledging moral and spiritual authority. This is the only kind of authority known in the N. T. Church. On the personal level when an individual is not morally and spiritually subject to Christ, he is not a Christian. In corporate Church life when an individual or agency is no longer morally and spiritually in submission to the will of the Church or fellowship of which he claims to be a part, then he is no longer in reality a part of that Church. If we will not allow this truth, then what is it that distinguishes the Church from man-made organizations? When the members of the group detect a "shadow of turning" in the attitudes of one who claims to be a part of the Church or group, then those members exercise discipline through counsel and prayer with the one whose attitudes are improper. If the individual is really morally and spiritually under the authority of that group, he will receive such counsel and thereby become more intimately at one with the group. If that individual does not receive such counsel; he makes clear by his refusal to submit to his brethren that in reality he is not one of them.

            This kind of authority on the one hand does not eliminate the need for discipline in the Church; it makes true discipline (training) possible. The Church must always exclude those who have already excluded themselves by failure to be a part of the Church on the moral and spiritual level; but the Church cannot exclude any who are morally and spiritually part of her. Christ, in giving "the power of the keys" to men, gives power to bind and loose on earth only that which has been bound or loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:18; John 20). On the other hand this type of authority does not demand from all members of the group uniformity of thought in every detail. In other words this kind of authority does not bind one's conscience. There is liberty of conscience on every matter; each man must thing for himself. But where the group has declared its will, each one who claims to be a part of the group must lay aside his view at this point, if it differs with the majority of the group. This demands the kind of self-denial which Christ says must characterize those who are His disciples (Luke 9:23). If the Church does not make those kinds of demands on itself, then it is robbing its members of opportunities to develop spiritually the individual lives of the members.

            Thus a fellowship of Churches seeks to know the mind of Christ; His will is manifest in the decisions of the group and is morally binding upon those who are morally and spiritually part of the group. The moral and spiritual nature of the authority of the fellowship of Churches demands the same inward obedience for love of the body of Christ as individuals give personally to Christ and His truth.

            In the absence of the kind of spiritual intimacy evidenced in Acts, all human relations tend to rule by law. "The spirit of the city takes the place of the spirit of the family and men ask where legality lies and not what love would have them do" (Kennedy: Presbyterian Authority and Discipline, p. 91). Should the Church be a family or city? We ask not what it is, but what it should be? This type of moral and spiritual authority is actually more demanding than legal authority because its basis demands inner submission and its motive is more comprehensive than fear. In the Acts 15 record we see the length to which this moral and spiritual authority can take men. Antioch had a problem and felt constrained to consult the Church in Jerusalem. This happened apparently because of Antioch's desire to be subject to the Head in an area where He had not left specific command. The depth of the concern or motivation was evidenced by the fact that they consulted a wider body of believers to be the more sure of arriving at the correct decision. The standard or basis of their action was their mutual understanding of Scripture in the light of the Spirit as teacher. Could Antioch or Jerusalem be a fellowship of Churches if each had done as it pleased? (This is the attitude of the independents today.) Could Antioch or Jerusalem be a fellowship of Churches if one or the other forced its will upon the other by threats of excommunication? (This is the attitude of the juridical mine of the Church of Rome today.) Moral and spiritual authority demands inner conformity as well as outward agreement, but it also is the only Biblical and practical way to promote the actual oneness of the fellowship of the Spirit which is to be the characteristic of the Church.


            The progression of the authority in a fellowship of Churches is by mutual subordination. We have said that the source of authority in the Church is Jesus Christ. From Him authority proceeds to the particular Churches and office-bearers. By virtue of the fact that the individuals who are members of one particular Church are themselves morally and spiritually bound to Him; therefore Christ's power is with the particular Church. Christ has also designated that there should be rulers or those in authority in the particular Churches (Acts 20:28; I Thes. 5:13; I Cor. 16:15, 16; Hebrews 13:17).

            Does Scripture make provision for a development in the line of authority beyond this? Inasmuch as there were N. T. illustrations of inter-church cooperation there must have been some authority on which to operate. In Acts 15, Antioch had every right to decide for itself what to do concerning the O. T. law, but they wanted to consult their brethren. This desire did not originate in a previously drawn up mutual union agreement. What gave the impetus to their desire? Did it not proceed from the unity these brethren felt with their brethren in Jerusalem? Being one in Christ they sought mutual aid in seeking direction to answer their problem. If Church organization is to remain true to its nature, this desire to subordinate oneself to the brethren must control.

            Having asked direction from the brethren, they carried out the "decree." The test gives no evidence that Jerusalem demanded the meeting with the elders from Antioch; but because they were brethren, they were glad to meet with them and perhaps to concede more than they originally thought they would concede. This subordination was mutual. It is not one-sided; nor does it originate in James or the Apostles. To quote Hort:

There is not making of formal conditions of fellowship, but the Elders, as taking the lead in making so great a concession on the part of the Jerusalem Church, might well feel that they had a right to expect that the four restraints which had been set forth would be accepted. Hence in the letter sent to Antioch the authority, even the Apostles notwithstanding the fact that unlike the Jerusalem elders they exercised a function toward all Christians, was moral rather than formal; a claim to deference rather than a right to be obeyed. (Hort, The Christian Ecclesia, pp 83).

The upper group had no authority other than that brought there from local Churches by duly appointed office-bearers. Thus we can recognize the Biblical emphasis on the authority of the particular Church and still escape the anarchy of independency. If brethren are not willing to submit morally and spiritually to one another in Christ, are they brethren?

            This relationship is not only one of subordination, but it is mutual (i.e. entertained, proffered or exerted by each with respect to each of the others of a group; reciprocally given and received). The N. T. does not recognize any permanent office-bearer higher than that of elder. James at the Jerusalem Council did not assume the position of a bishop. Even an Anglican of Lightfoot's dimensions maintains that the episcopacy was a post-New Testament development. In the N. T. subordination was that of equals submitting to equals. Even the apostles were hesitant to exercise their authority, and Peter speaks of himself as a "fellow elder." This distinction is important because Jesus Christ is truly the Head of the Church. No man is nor can be. As long as the top position is unoccupied by a man, Christ is the Head, and the authority and subordination is either spiritual and moral or it does not exist. When a man is made the head, Christ may continue to be the true Head with the man as an undershepherd, but we (being human) tend more quickly to make the subordination and authority legal and juridical rather than moral and spiritual. This openness at the top with the resultant emphasis on moral and spiritual mutual subordination of equals under Christ is an essential to the N. T. picture of Church Government.

            The extent of authority in a fellowship of Churches is limited. The authority of the group is limited in three general areas. First, because the authority of the higher assembly (fellowship) is not original, its authority is brought to it by authoritative office-bearers, its authority is derived. Therefore its authority is smaller than the group from which it is derived.

            The derived nature of the authority of the Church is demonstrated also in Acts 15 record of the Jerusalem council. The letter sent by the council demonstrated that the council had authority, but the tone of the letter shows clearly an unwillingness to press that authority. Even when this decision is called a "decree" we understand that the word takes its character from the nature of the group or individual who makes it. Thus the "decree" of an emperor is one thing; the "decree" of a philosopher another. There is an abundance of words for "command" in the N. T. but since none of these are used, and since the council is hesitant about claiming broad authority, it is clear that no legal or juridical authority is assumed. F. J. A. Hort, the Anglican scholar who by his church connections should favor a legal view of the council's authority, says:

It was in truth a delicate and difficult position, even after the happy decision of the assembly. The independence of the Ecclesia of Antioch had to be respected, and yet not in such a way as to encourage disregard either of the great mother Ecclesia, or of the Lord's own apostles, or of the unity of the whole Christian body. Accordingly we do not find a word of a hint that the Antiochans would have done better to get sanction from Jerusalem before plunging into such grave responsibilities. But along with the cordial concurrence in the release of the Gentile converts from legal requirements there goes a strong expression of opinion, more than advice and less than a command, respecting certain salutary restraints. A certain authority is thus implicitly claimed. There is not evidence that it was more than a moral authority, but

            that did not make it less real. (The Christian Ecclesia, pp. 81-83)

            The authority of the decisions of the group was binding upon the members of the group. This must be so. If a group composed of authentic representatives of a number of Churches at their requests, stays within its limitations, and presents a decision in keeping with the direction of the Holy Spirit and the mind of the group, the Churches are morally and spiritually bound to accept the authority of the group and abide by its decisions. If one member of the group does not like one decision of the body he does not leave because spiritually he counts himself as part of the body. This being so, he will submit to the group's decision though he would have done differently.

            Second, because the particular Churches are given authority to rule, the authority of the fellowship must be limited to matters which pertain to the fellowship or to matters on which the individual Churches have agreed to unite. The authority in areas of inter-church effort rest unquestionably with the fellowship. The authority on local matters is in the hands of the rulers of the particular Church unless the local groups desire to deal with specific areas collectively. The desires of the particular Churches come to the fellowship-wide level as recommendations with the attitude of "this will be done, if it suit the body," the desires of the body come to the particular Church with the attitude "because you are one with the rest of us, we know you will want to do this." Is this very much unlike the relationship described in the latter part of Ephesians 5?

            Third, because every Church assembly is composed of men and men err; therefore the authority of the fellowship is conditioned on being true to the Scriptures. The moral and spiritual responsibility is to Christ. Therefore all the office-bearers are not shepherds but undershepherds. Recognizing this subordination encourages every believer in exercising his priesthood to do as the Bereans of Paul's day. Since Scripture is our only objective revelation of the mind of Christ, all decisions of Church faith and order on the local or fellowship-wide level must be limited by the degree to which those decisions are true to Scripture.

            To summarize we would say that the N. T. does indicate that Churches should unite to form fellowships. These fellowships are to recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ by allowing Him to rule through duly elected office-bearers who demonstrate their leadership by serving and stand on one level before the Head of the Church. In their inter-relationships the Churches are to be mutually subordinate to one another compelled by a moral and spiritual desire to subject themselves to their brethren. These inter-relationships have but one purpose: the up-building of believers and evangelism of the lost to the glory of Christ its Head.

IV. Some Implications of These Principles

            A. Particular Church Level

                        1. A board of elders is the governing body of the Particular Church

2. Elders are equals among equals thus giving a wider exercise of the authority of Christ's Headship

3. Elders are to be elected, because of scriptural spiritual qualifications, to rule, rather than the choosing of individuals to perform specific tasks.

            B. Fellowship-wide Level

1. Because the authority in a fellowship of Churches is Christ, we would desire greater openness of His exercise of authority through greater distribution of authority and responsibility to laymen and pastor of our Church. This would come by not demanding that our District Superintendents serve on so many committees by virtue of their office.

2. Because the nature of authority in a fellowship of Churches is moral and spiritual, we would desire greater concern for the Churches on the part of the Boards and Committees of the Annual Conference. While the Churches ought not to dictate to the various agencies of the denomination, their requests must be considered and answers given to their problems. This is an attitude and therefore cannot be legislated. However, if we could recognize that the churches possess primary authority and the fellowship-wide government secondary authority, we would be obliged to give answers to the inquirers of our Churches.

3. Because the progression of authority in a fellowship of Churches is by mutual subjection, we would desire a greater recognition of the equality of elders. This would come by a willingness to commit more authority to the hands of qualified laymen and by a willingness to evaluate the office of District Superintendent.

4. Because the extent of authority in a fellowship of Churches is limited, we would desire a greater recognition of these limitations. This would be realized by a greater willingness to decide issues on the authority of Scriptures, by writing our legislation to recognize the primary authority of the particular Church in comparison to the secondary authority of the upper level.

            C. Conclusion — We cannot here enumerate all the implications because we have not worked on specific legislation. We do recognize that because some of the implications listed here might necessitate major changes in our government that, therefore we may have to legislate or at least formally agree to periods of transition that could be years in length. In our minds it is better to know where we are going before we begin rather than simply deciding on the final destiny as we go.

V. Recommendations

            1. Because we recognize the seriousness of the implications of these matters to the general functioning of our whole denomination we recommend the following:

                        a. That this paper be studied by every member of the Annual Conference.

b. That a date for an Adjourned Session be established to discuss these matters after study.

c. That at this Adjourned Session we vote on the following revision of Article XVIII of our Faith & Order and also vote whether or not the Government Committee should prepare legislation based on these principles.


Article XVIII

            The Church is the body of which Christ is the Head.1 All those redeemed by His blood2 and born of His Spirit are members of that body and are in mystical union and communion with Christ3 and fellow believers.4 The Church is universal and local, visible and invisible. The visible Church consists of all those professing faith in Christ. The invisible Church is composed of all those born of the Spirit.5

            The purpose of the Church is to edify the saints6 and to evangelize the world.7

            The Head of the Church administers the affairs of His body through overseers chosen by Himself and selected by the people.8* The overseers of the Church are to be prayed for, obeyed and honored.9

            A properly constituted particular Church must include the ministry of God's Word, the observance of the ordinances, the oversight by officers10 and the exercise of discipline.11** Although particular Churches are autonomous, they do not remain isolated but are united to other particular Churches. Through subordination to Christ the Head and through mutual submission to other particular Churches and to the fellowship of Churches, the particular Church gives expression to the true nature and unity of the body of Christ.12


(1) Col. 1:18a; (2) I Peter 1:18, 19; (3) Romans 6:5, 6; (4) I Cor. 1:10; (5) I Cor. 12:13; (6) I Cor. 12:7, 11; (7) Matt. 28:19, 20; (8) Eph. 4:11, 12; (9) Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24; (10) I Peter 5:2, 3, 5; (11) Matt. 18:7; (12) Acts 15, Romans 15:26, II Cor. 8

*Old material, newly placed                           **New material here to the end


            2. We recommend the adoption of the following as legislation:


ELDERS

            1. Each Church shall determine the number of elders needed to comprise the Official Board. The Official Board is to recommend to the congregation the number required for efficient oversight of the Church. The number decided upon shall be elected to a three year term of office. Approximately one-third of the number shall stand for election each year.

            2. The Official Board shall be composed of all the active elders of the Church. They shall designate from among themselves trustees (the number of trustees is to be decided by each congregation on the basis of Official Board recommendation). The necessary committees within the Official Board shall be appointed by the Pastor with the approval of the Board. Additional committees may be appointed as deemed necessary by local conditions.

            3. Churches desiring to have class leaders, stewards, deacons, building fund collectors, may either elect them to office or have them appointed by, but not necessarily from among, the Official Board. This matter is to be decided by each Church on the basis of Official Board recommendation.


Note: Election to an office other than that of elder, does not make one a member of the Official Board.

            3. We offer the following answers:

            To resolution on p. 68B of Year Book, 1962 - After lengthy discussion on the subject of Discipline, we concluded that without unanimity of understanding and agreement on the basic principle of Church government, it would not be feasible to attempt to write material for legislation on this subject.

            To resolution on 68H of Year Book, 1962 - Whereas, we have taken cognizance of the resolution on page 68H relative to Duties of Members, therefore, we recommend that this resolution be retained for further study.

            Jansen E. Hartman, Chairman            James R. Cressman

            Willard E. Cassel, Secretary               Robert W. Gehret

            Carl C. Cassel                                     Rufus Spedden

            Donald T. Kirkwood                          Robert Breitegam

            R. C. Reichenbach                              A. L. Wentz

            James G. Koch

                        Committee to Study Church Government


            The report was adopted.


            Resolved, That the report of the Committee to Study Church Government be studied by every member of Annual Conference.


            Resolved, That this material be discussed at the Adjourned Session as the first order of business following the elections.


            Resolved, That at the Adjourned Session we vote on the revision of Article XVIII of our FAITH & ORDER as set forth in the above report and also vote whether or not the Government Committee should prepare legislation based on these principles.


            Whereas, We have received a petition from the Calvary Church, Coopersburg, Pa. relative to the election of officers at large instead of Sunday School Treasurer, Steward, Building Fund Collector, and

            Whereas, The Government Committee has presented legislation which could be an answer to the petition, and

            Whereas, We have referred the Government Committee's Report to the committee for consideration at the Adjourned Session, therefore

Resolved, That this action be sent to the Calvary Church as our answer.

 

The Chair ruled a recess at 11:30 a.m.

 

Business was resumed at 11:38 a.m.

 

The following were elected:

            Board of Directors of Berean Bible School: (Three years) Jansen E. Hartman, A. L. Wentz, Horace A. Kauffman.


            Board of Victory Valley Camp: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Carl C. Cassel, LeRoy S. Heller, Clayton. E. Weber, S. A. Hackman, Kermit K. Gehman.

 

Adjourned with prayer by Carl S. Kellerman.


Twelfth Meeting

Friday Afternoon, October 16, 1963

            The meeting was opened with an organ solo entitled, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" played by Robert W. Gehret and David Watkins led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

Report of the Committee on Resolutions:


PART I

We recommend the adoption of the following:

            1. Resolved, that the Adjourned Session of the Annual Conference be held Saturday, April 4, 1964, at 9:00 a.m., in the Ebenezer Bible Fellowship Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


            2. Resolved, that all mid-season offerings including the offerings for the Home for the Aging and the Publication and Printing Committee be paid at the Adjourned Session.


            3. Resolved, that we have a Ministerial Convention at Victory Valley Camp on May 26 and 27, 1964.


            4. Resolved, that we elect a chairman, secretary and five additional ordained ministers to serve as a committee on program for the Ministerial Convention.


            5. Resolved, that each church make a contribution to the moving fund of fifty (50) cents per member reported at this Conference.


            6. Resolved, that each church make a contribution to the Publication and Printing Fund of forty (40) cents per member reported at this Conference.


            7. Whereas, we have elected some men to our Boards and Committees who are not members of the Annual Conference; therefore,

Resolved, that the Conference Secretary inform in writing all such men of their election.


            8. Resolved, that the auditing procedure for reporting to the Statistical Committee shall be that outlined on pages 32 and 33 of the 1960 Yearbook; and further

            Resolved, that all figures except Foreign Missions, Foreign Missions in Sunday School, Church Extension and Church Extension in Sunday School be recorded on the schedule and sent to the Conference Church by Tuesday before Annual Conference.


            9. Resolved, that we print 1200 Yearbooks to be sold for $1.00 each.


            10. Whereas, we have received an invitation from the Grace Bible Fellowship Church to have Annual Conference in Wallingford, Pennsylvania; therefore,

            Resolved, that the 81st Annual Conference convene at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, 723 South Providence Road, Wallingford, Pennsylvania, Monday, October 12, 1964, 10 a.m.

C. E. Kirkwood

Harvey J. Fritz, Jr.

Carl C. Cassel

            David E. Thomann

 

The Report was adopted.


            Whereas, for several years ye have distributed the reports of our Boards and Committees prior to the opening of Conference, and

            Whereas, this practice makes difficult the correction of errors found by the auditors, therefore,

            Resolved, that each Board and Committee shall have its records audited by an auditor(s) chosen by the Board or Committee prior to preparing its report for Conference, and that the name of the auditor(s) be included in the report to Conference.


            Resolved, that plans and elections for the 1965 Ministerial Convention be made at the 1964 Ministerial Convention instead of at Annual Conference 1964.

 

The Chair appointed the following:

Committee on Agenda: Willard E. Cassel, LeRoy S. Heller, John E. Golla


            Committee on Publication and Printing: John H. Riggall, Robert W. Smock, John Dunn


            Committee on Program for Next Annual Conference: John H. Riggall, David E. Thomann, Donald T. Kirkwood.

 

The following were elected:

            Committee on Program for Ministerial Convention: Chairman: John H. Riggall, Secretary; Daniel G. Ziegler, Ernest B. Hartman, Donald T. Kirkwood, James A. Beil, Harvey J. Fritz, T. D. Gehret.


            Board of Mizpah Grove: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert,

            (One year) F. B. Hertzog, Bert N. Brosius, Clayton E. Weber, A. L. Wentz

            (Two years) James A. Bell, Robert W. Smock, George W. Krigor

 

            The Chair declared a recess.

 

Business was resumed at 3:35 p.m.


            Youth Fellowship General Committee: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Robert F. Johnson, Daniel G. Ziegler, Donald B. Schaeffer, LeRoy S. Heller (Appointed by District Superintendents) Neil Taylor, Clyde W. Snyder, Harold P. Shelly Jr., Warren Zuck


            Sunday School Promotion Committee: (Three Years) James G. Koch, Harlan Wolf, Nicholas J. Sheetz

 

Conference Treasurer: Paul I. Wentz Sr.

 

Editor of FELLOWSHIP NEWS: David E. Thomann

 

Circulation Manager of FELLOWSHIP NEWS: R. C. Reichenbach


            Committee to Publish FELLOWSHIP NEWS: David E. Thomann, R. C. Reichenbach, Russell T. Allen, Robert W. Gehret, James R. Cressman


            President of Berean Bible School, Jansen E. Hartman, presented the budget for the year 1963-64.


            Report of the Committee on Resolutions:


PART II

            1. Whereas, we the members of this 80th Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church have realized the blessing of the Lord upon our District Superintendents, T. D. Gehret and A. L. Seifert, who have so graciously given of themselves to the ministry of this fellowship, therefore,             Resolved, That we give thanks to our Lord for them and we pledge our prayerful support and cooperation throughout this coming year.


            2. Whereas, Jansen E. Hartman, President of Berean Bible School, has unreservedly given of Himself to the great task of Christian Education therefore,

            Resolved, That we thank God for the Lord's anointing upon him and we pledge our continued prayer support.


            3. Whereas, William A. Heffner, Church Extension Director, has faithfully given of himself to extending the work of this church and has directed the young men under his charge, therefore,

Resolved, that God's continued blessing and protection be upon him.


            4. Whereas, God has given the Bible Fellowship Church faithful and devoted Pastors, who desire to make full-proof of their ministry, therefore,

            Resolved, that we commit ourselves unreservedly unto the ministry to which Christ has called us.


            5. Whereas, Pastor W. W. Hartman and the members and friends of the Ebenezer Bible Fellowship Church, Bethlehem, have provided abundantly for the temporal needs of the members of this Conference, therefore,

            Resolved, that we heartily thank them for their generous provision, further,

            Resolved, that the Secretary provide Pastor W. W. Hartman with a copy of this resolution to be read to the congregation.


            6. Whereas, N. H. Wolf served as Editor of the yearbook, and Paul I. Wentz as treasurer of Annual Conference, therefore,

            Resolved, That we give the Editor of the yearbook and Paul I. Wentz treasurer of Annual Conference $75.00 each to be paid from the Publication and Printing Committee.


            7. Whereas, David E. Thomann and R. C. Reichenbach have served faithfully as Editor and Circulation Manager and have diligently accomplished the task which has been placed upon them, therefore,

            Resolved, That we give thanks unto the Lord for these men and that we continue in prayer for them.


            8. Whereas, P. T. Stengele and E. J. Rutman have been able to attend parts of the Conference and E. E. Kublic, J. B. Layne, W. F. Heffner, A. G. Woodring and Paul E. Baer showing their interest as retired brethren, therefore,

            Resolved, That we give thanks for these faithful brethren and pray for the Lord's richest blessing upon them.


            9. Whereas, H. D. Yarrington and Walter H. Frank have attended sessions of this Conference, therefore,

            Resolved, That we give thanks to God for their sustained interest in our denomination and pray God's guidance and grace upon their separate ministries.


            10. Whereas, during the year we have lost through death two of our missionaries, Rev. Calvin F. Snyder and Miss Grace Yost, therefore,

            Resolved, That we praise the Lord for their ministry and pray the Lord's blessing and comfort on Mrs. Phoebe Snyder and Miss Yost's aunt, Miss Grace Alshouse.


            11. Whereas, The officers of the Laymen's Benevolent Society, A. W. Deppe, Allen Weiss and Albert L. Wentz, have labored tirelessly for the general welfare of the Annual Conference, and further,

            Whereas, They have liquidated the fund as recommended by the Conference which task has entailed much correspondence, travel and consultation, therefore,

Resolved, That we express our gratitude to these brethren for this labor of love, and further,

Resolved, a copy of this resolution be sent to each of them by the Conference secretary.

            C. E. Kirkwood          David E. Thomann

            Harvey J. Fritz, Jr.      Carl C. Cassel

                        Committee

 

            The Report was adopted.

 

Report of Committee on Church Forms:


DEDICATION OF CHILDREN

            (Dedication is an act wherein only believing parent(s) living in fellowship with Christ and endeavoring to carry out the injunctions of His Word publicly present their children to the Lord. Because the child is a gift from God, the parents as God's stewards promise to bring up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord the child entrusted to them. The act is made meaningful and efficacious when the parents in the years that lie ahead remind the child of this act and explain to him the meaning thereof in the course of spiritual training and exemplary living in the home. Where unequal marriage yokes are involved, only the believing parent shall make the public presentation.)


TO THE CONGREGATION

            Inasmuch as these parents are presenting this child (these children) to the Lord may we join with them in their act of dedication. Only those parents who are born again and are living in fellowship with Christ may present their children in dedication to the Lord. This act has no saving efficacy but is a public declaration by the parents that they will rear their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Dedication becomes meaningful to the extent that these parents train their children in the Lord through spiritual admonitions and exemplary living.


TO THE PARENTS

            1. Inasmuch as God has given you this child (these children) do you consecrate him (her, them) to God and His service? If so, answer, "We will."

            2. Will you instruct this child (these children) in the Word of God and encourage him (her, them) to memorize portions of it? If so, answer, "We will."

            3. Will you be responsible to bring this child (these children) regularly to the house of God and teach him (her, them) reverence to the Lord and respect for His house and worship? If so, answer, "We will."

            4. Will you teach this child (these children ), as soon as he (she, they) is (are) able to understand, the nature and purpose of this dedication? If so, answer, "We will."

            5. Will you endeavor to lead your child (children) to a saving knowledge of Christ? If so, answer, "We will."

            6. Do you dedicate yourselves as parents to live a godly life so that this child (these children) will see Christ in you? If so, answer, "We will."


ACT OF DEDICATION

            Inasmuch as (name of parents) have dedicated (name of child) to God and His service, may we join in prayer that God's blessing may be upon them.

            (The minister shall then pray)

            "The Lord bless thee and keep thee: the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)


ORDINATION OF PROBATIONERS

(See material under Ministerial Candidate Committee and

Committee on Credentials)


ACT OF PRESENTATION

(The District Superintendent in charge of the service shall say,)

Who is (are) the candidates(s) to be presented for ordination?

(The Chairman of the Committee on Credentials, having been seated with the candidate(s), shall stand, give a background summary of the candidate(s) and then say,)

            Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Credentials and the approval of the Annual Conference, I hereby present . (Upon presentation, the candidate shall rise and stand before the altar.)

            "This is a true saying, 'If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not coveteous, one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?), not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.' (I Timothy 3:1-7)"

            1. Are you inwardly persuaded that you are moved upon by the Holy Spirit to perform the work of a Minister of the Gospel under the direction of the Bible Fellowship Church? If so, answer, "Of this I am persuaded."

            2. Do you believe the Holy Scriptures to be inerrantly inspired by the Holy Spirit and that They alone contain the doctrine essential to eternal salvation and faith and practice and will you faithfully endeavor to so instruct those committed to your charge? If so, answer, "I do believe and will so instruct them."

            3. Will you adhere to the FAITH AND ORDER OF THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH? If so, answer, "I will adhere."

            4. Will you earnestly endeavor to regulate your conduct and that of your family according to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures that you may be godly examples to all. If so, answer, "I will endeavor by the help of the Lord."

            5. Will you obey them to whom the charge and government over you are committed and follow their godly admonitions with a willing and ready mind? If so, answer, "I will obey by the grace of God."

            6. Will you be diligent in prayer, reading and searching the Holy Scriptures, and will you pursue such studies as helpful to the knowledge of God and His kingdom? If so, answer, "I will."


ACT OF ORDINATION

            (Prayer, kneeling. An ordained minister of the Bible Fellowship Church who is of the probationer's choosing [optional] shall lead in prayer after which he and the District Superintendent(s) shall lay their hands upon the head of the candidate and the District Superintendent in charge shall say,)

            Take thou authority to execute the office of an elder under the direction of the Bible Fellowship Church.

            The Lord anoint thee with the Holy Spirit for the office and work of an elder in the church of God now committed unto thee by the authority of the Bible Fellowship Church through the laying on of our hands, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

            (Standing) And Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:18b-20) (The ordained Bible Fellowship Ministers shall greet the brethren newly ordained.)

(Benediction)


INSTALLATION OF CHURCH OFFICERS

(See Qualifications and Duties of Officers)

            (The Pastor shall present the following to the congregation and briefly explain their duties: Delegate(s), Class Leader(s), Steward(s), Building Fund Collector(s), Trustees, Deacons, Member(s) at large on Official Board, General Sunday School Superintendent, Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, Treasurer of the Sunday School, President of the Women's Missionary Society, President of Youth Fellowship, Secretary of the Local Conference and those officers of auxiliary organizations who report to Local Conference. These officers shall face the pastor who shall present the following commission:)


QUESTIONS TO THE OFFICERS

            Fellow laborers in the Lord Jesus Christ, I hereby challenge you to heed the commission of the Word of God. "We then as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accented, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." (II Corinthians 6:1-10)

            Having heard the challenge of the Word of God, and realizing the responsibility that accompanies your position of honor in the Lord, heed earnestly the following questions that you may commit yourself to your office with godly conviction.

            1. Will you as a member of the Body of Christ seek to cooperate with your fellow laborers in the Lord and yield yourself in obedience to those who have the rule over you? If so, answer, "I will."

            2. Will you with patience and impartiality seek to minister to the needs of all members of the local church that in all things you will give no offense? If so, answer, "I will."

            3. Will you through the Word of Truth and the power of God in you, seek to live an exemplary life of purity and truthfulness before the world that God will be glorified in you? If so, answer, "I will."

            4. Will you endeavor to remain faithful to your duties regardless of testings, unfair circumstances and evil reports? If so, answer, "I will."

            5. Will you faithfully endeavor to execute the duties of your office as set forth in the FAITH AND ORDER OF THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH? If so, answer, "I will."


CHARGE TO THE OFFICERS

            I charge you, the officers of the Bible Fellowship Church, humbly endeavoring to fulfill all the responsibilities within your keeping, to seek the face of the Lord in all matters and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit that your life will glorify God.


QUESTION TO THE CONGREGATION

            As members of the Bible Fellowship Church, you are admonished to heed the entreaty of God's Word. "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves." (I Thessalonians 5:12-13)

            Will you, the members of the Bible Fellowship Church, abide by the direction of those who are given the rule over you in the Lord, heed their admonitions and esteem them highly for the office which you have entrusted to their care? If so, answer, "We will."


CHARGE TO THE CONGREGATION

            I charge you, the members of the Bible Fellowship Church, that like as Aaron and Hur upheld the arms of Moses, so you support and strengthen these officers with your loyalty and earnest prayers.


INSTALLATION OF SUNDAY SCHOOL STAFF

(See material on Sunday School)

            (The Pastor shall present the members of the Sunday School Staff to the congregation after which the staff shall face the pastor who shall present the following commission:)


CHARGE TO THE STAFF

            God has ordained the ministry of the Word to the end that sinners might come to repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that believers might be edified and nurtured by instruction in the truths of Holy Scripture. You have been chosen to assist in this ministry by serving on the Sunday School staff of the Bible Fellowship Church.

            This ministry carries heavy responsibilities and is not to be esteemed lightly. You are to faithfully teach the Word of God, so that those under you may know the Holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Not only are you to teach by word, but also by example, heeding the admonition, "Be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (Timothy 4:12) You are to teach with diligence and earnest concern, taking "heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it." (Colossians 4:17)


QUESTIONS TO THE STAFF

Before God and these people I ask you:

            1. Are you willing to accept these responsibilities as a member of the staff in this Sunday School? If so, answer, "I am."

            2. Having been born again, will you faithfully teach the truths revealed in God's inspired Word? If so, answer, "I will."

            3. Since the privilege of serving on the Sunday School staff is a God given responsibility, will you call upon the Lord for His help and guidance? If so, answer, "I will."

            4. Will you purpose with God's help to come regularly, promptly and adequately prepared to fulfill your responsibilities? If so, answer, "I will."

            5. Will you manifest a genuine interest in each student through prayer and by personal contact? If so, answer, "I will."

            6. Will you purpose by God's grace to lead students of our Sunday School to a saving knowledge of Christ and will you endeavor to instill within them attitudes and practices that are consistent with the highest principles of Christian living as found in the Word of God? If so, answer, "I will."

            7. Will you conduct your life so as to be an example in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity? If so, answer, "I will."

            8. Will you faithfully support the ministry of the Bible Fellowship Church and manifest a cooperative spirit with your co-workers? If so, answer, "I will."


CHARGE TO THE CONGREGATION

            Will the congregation please stand.

            Will you, the members and friends of the Bible Fellowship Church promise to faithfully pray for the Sunday School and its staff? Will you support the school so that it may grow spiritually, financially and numerically for God's glory? If so, answer, "We will."

            (Prayer by the pastor for the united effort of the Sunday School.)

            (A suitable hymn may be sung.)


ADMISSION OF MEMBERS

            (See Article # on The Church, on Duties of Members and the Duties of the Membership Committee)


QUESTIONS TO CANDIDATES

            1. Can you testify that through repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ you have experienced the forgiveness of your sin an enjoy peace with God? If so, answer, "Yes."

            2. Do you believe the Bible to be the Word of God and the sole authority for the way of salvation and do you take this Word to be your rule of faith and conduct? If so, answer, "Yes."

            3. Will you endeavor by God's help to be responsible for faithful attendance of public worship, daily reading of the Scripture, prayer, praise and systemic giving? If so, answer “Yes.”

            4. Will you submit to the authority of the Bible Fellowship Church as stated in the FAITH AND ORDER OF THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH? If so, answer, "Yes."

            5. Since you have been born again, have you been baptized by immersion as instructed in the Word of God? If so, answer, "Yes."


ACT OF ADMISSION

            (The Minister shall say,) (Name of candidate) I extend to you the right hand of fellowship in the name of Christ and His Church and welcome you as a member of Bible Fellowship Church.

(After prayer, a number of members shall greet them.)

The Committee recommends:

            1. That the Government Committee prepare the rules on membership.

            2. That Annual Conference consider the advisability of preparing a uniform application for church membership.

            John Dunn, Chairman                         Donald B. Schaeffer

            Robert W. Smock, Secretary              George Herb

            James A. Beil                                     Harvey Fritz

            Earl M. Hosler

                        Committee

 

The Report was received.

 

Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to meet at 6:30 p.m.

 

Adjourned 4:55 p.m. with prayer by John I. Mengel.


Thirteenth Meeting

Friday Evening, October 18, 1963

Report of the Youth Fellowship General Committee:

Constitution of the Youth Fellowship Organization

(Second Reading)

Article I - Name

            The young people's Society of the Bible Fellowship Church shall be called the Youth Fellowship."


Article 2 - Objectives

The Objectives of the Youth Fellowship shall be:

            1. To lead young people to a personal knowledge of Christ.

            2. To develop Christian character and leadership.

            3. To stimulate the study of the Bible and adherence to the Faith & Order of the Bible Fellowship Church.

            4. To promote practical Christianity and loyalty to the program of the local church.

            5. To provide for spiritually profitable fellowship.


Article 3 - Officers

            The Officers of the Youth Fellowship shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Sponsor(s) and any other officers which the group shall deem necessary.

            Churches having a departmentalized Youth Fellowship may have an Executive Committee; which shall include the President and one Sponsor from each Youth Fellowship. The Pastor shall be, or shall designate the chairman of the Executive Committee.


Article 4 - Duties of Officers

President - The duties of the President shall be:

            1. To bear the responsibility of leadership of the Youth Fellowship with the guidance of the Sponsor.

            2. To preside at the business and other meetings. He should endeavor to have the Vice-President take charge of at least one business meeting.

            3. To report to the Local Conference.

            4. To represent his Youth Fellowship in Regional planning.

 

Vice-President - The duties of the Vice-President shall be:

            1. To preside in the absence of the President or when the President so directs.

            2. To be responsible for Visitation and Promotion.

            3. To assume all duties of the President in case of his absence, incapacitation, or resignation for the duration of the term of office.

 

Secretary - The duties of the Secretary shall be:

            1. To record all minutes of the business and other meetings.

            2. To keep a membership roll and to record the attendance.

            3. To supply the President with a statistical report for Local Conference.

            4. To carry on all correspondence.

 

Treasurer - The duties of the Treasurer shall be:

            1. To receive and disburse funds.

            2. To keep a financial record to be audited by the Local Conference.

            3. To supply the President with a financial report for the Local Conference.

 

Sponsor(s) - The duties of the Sponsor(s) shall be:

            1. To oversee and direct the entire program through the elected officers.

            2. To be responsible to the Christian Education Committee and Pastor. Plans and Programs shall be discussed with the Pastor or whomever he directs.

            3. To offer guidance and counsel to the members of the Youth Fellowship.

            4. One sponsor shall represent the Youth Fellowship on the Executive Committee in a departmentalized program.

            When the Youth Fellowship is departmentalized, the Executive Committee shall correlate the program.


Article 5 - Membership

            The membership shall consist of those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and who are members of the Bible Fellowship Church. All who desire to be members of the Youth Fellowship shall sign the Covenant. In a Junior High Youth Fellowship, where departmentalization is in effect, the Church Membership requirement may be waived and membership may be on the basis of Christian experience and signing the Covenant. Membership shall be renewed annually. New members shall be received upon application to and recommendation by the Officers. Other young people who show interest may be Associate members until they are ready to make the commitments involved in full membership. Only full members shall vote in business matters. Membership shall be departmentalized as follows:

Junior High - 7th-9th Grades

Senior High - 10th-12th Grades

Young Adult - Post High School to age 25

In churches where all the departments are not possible, any parts of the total program may be used.


Article 6 - Election of Officers

            The Sponsor(s) shall be adult and appointed by the Christian Education Committee upon nomination by the Pastor. The Pastor may be the Sponsor.

            The other Officers shall be elected at least annually by and from the membership of the Youth Fellowship.

            Elections shall be held annually in September. Terms of office shall begin October 1. At the discretion of a local Youth Fellowship, elections may be semi-annual with the second election in March and term of office to begin April 1.

A nominating committee may be used.


Article 7 - Covenant

            The Covenant shall be signed before a member joins and each September following as long as the individual desires to retain membership in the Youth Fellowship.

The Covenant is as follows:

            In humble dependence upon the Lord who has redeemed me by His blood, I covenant by His grace to be faithful to my Lord in all things and at all time, to seek to know the Scriptural standard of the Christian life and to support my Youth Fellowship by faithful attendance and participation, striving to grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


Article 8 - By-Laws

            By-Laws, not in conflict with the provisions of this Constitution may be adopted by the Youth Fellowship in a regular meeting for this purpose. By Laws are subject to the approval of the Local Conference of the Church.


Article 9 - Regional Gatherings

            Youth Fellowship Regions, for the purpose of regional activities, shall be established by the Youth Fellowship General Committee. Each Region shall have a Regional Committee. The Pastor, President, and a sponsor of each Youth Fellowship in the Region shall be members of the Regional Committee.

            In a Church having departmentalization, the Executive Committee shall elect from among the president and sponsors one representative at large and one representative from each Youth Fellowship of the local church to be members of the Regional Committee. No Church shall be permitted to have more than four voting members on the Regional Committee.

            The Regional Committee shall organize annually as they see fit to carry on regional activities. Decisions as to regional by-laws, frequency of activities and finance shall be left to the discretion of the Regional Committee with guidance from the Youth Fellowship General Committee. Names and addresses of Regional Committee officers shall be forwarded to the Secretary of the Youth Fellowship General Committee by the Secretary of the Regional Committee.

            In the formation of a new Region or the reactivation of an inactive Region, a temporary Chairman shall be appointed by the Youth Fellowship General Committee. He shall call and preside at a meeting of the Regional Committee, which shall elect permanent officers.

 

This Constitution was adopted.

 

Report of the Committees to Establish Mizpah Grove Balance:

 

The balance was established at $1,827.78.


            The Board of Church Extension made the following assignments:

Belvidere, N.J.-Richard R. Ruth

Finesville, N.J.-Bruce A. Ellingson

Macungie-Donald R. Knauer

Miller Heights-Harold C. Weaber

Trenton, N.J.-Glenn R. Huratiak

Walnutport-M. Leslie Campbell

Wernersville-LeRoy J. Bickel

Binghamton, N.Y.-To be supplied


            Resolved, That each of the following Boards contribute to the Board of Directors by January 1, 1964, the following amounts:

            Board of Foreign Missions                                         $300.00

            Board of Church Extension                                         200.00

            Board of Mizpah Grove                                               100.00

            Board of Directors of Berean Bible School                 100.00

            Board of Directors of the Home                                  100.00

            Committee on Publication and Printing                      100.00

            Sunday School Promotion Committee                        100.00

            Board of Victory Valley                                              100.00

 

Adjourned 7:30 p.m. with prayer by A. L. Seifert.


Signed:

            T. D. Gehret, District Superintendent, Chairman,

            A. L. Seifert, District Superintendent, Vice Chairman,

John H. Riggall, Vice District Superintendent,

Earl M. Hosler, Vice District Superintendent,

N. H. Wolf, Secretary,

Paul I. Wentz, Treasurer,

William A. Heffner, Director of Church Extension,

Jansen E. Hartman, President of Berean Bible School,

Ernest B. Hartman, Assistant Secretary,

Robert W. Smock, Recording Secretary,


Russell T. Allen, E. W. Bean, James A. Beil, Bert N. Brosius, Alva C. Cassel, Carl C. Cassel, Willard E. Cassel, John Dunn, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr., Reynold D. Gardner, Sr., John E. Golla, W. W. Hartman, LeRoy S. Heller, Frank L. Herb, Jr., George E. Herb, F. B. Hertzog, W. B. Hottel, Robert F. Johnson, C. E. Kirkwood, Donald T. Kirkwood, Richard H. Kline, James G. Koch,

R. C. Reichenbach, Donald B. Schaeffer, David E. Thomann, W. F. Heffner, E. J. Rutman, John H. Herb, Norman R. Weiss, Daniel G. Ziegler, David J. Watkins, Leon K. Overpeck, Ronald C. Mahurin, Kermit K. Gehman, J. Erwin Fretz, Robert Breitegam, Allan F. Smith, Spalding R. Sowers, Daniel K. Ziegler, T. Lamarn Manney, Roy E. Williams, Paul T. Rutman, William R. Hunsberger, R. S. Weidner, Ralph H. Hendershot, A. W. Deppe, Stanley A. Hackman, Willard Blocker, Charles W. Weaber, George R. Fish, Horace A. Kauffman, Paul H. Cressman, Byron C. Cassel, George W. Krigor, Norman L. Reed, Richard T. Holmes, Allen F. LaRose, Harold A. Mann, Robert W. Gehret, Allan C. Palmer, Donald M. Sedgwick, Edward J. Dietzman, John I. Mengel, Carl H. Kellerman, Ralph D. Cole, Charles G. Hersh.