GENERAL CONFERENCE MINUTES (1)
The first General Conference of the Evangelical United Mennonites, was held at Bethel, Elkhart Co., Ind., Oct. 4,5,6 and 7, 1882.
The conference was opened by prayer by Eld. Wm. Gehman.
Ontario.- S. Eby, J. Y. Shantz, Peter Pike, J. H. Steckley.
Absent, M. Bowman.
Indiana and Michigan. D. U. Lambert, S. Sherk, John Krupp.
Pennsylvania.- Wm. Gehman, J. Traub.
Printing Establishment - D. Brenneman, T. H. Brenneman.
S. Eby elected chairman, followed by remarks from the 1st Psalm.
John Krupp elected English and John Traub German secretary.
J. Troxel elected delegate to take the place of M. Bowman, absent, who however arrived on the morning of the 6th and took his place as delegate from Ontario, J. Troxel retiring.
The minutes of the General Conference of the United Mennonites (held at Blair, Ontario, in 1879) were read and adopted.
A committee was appointed consisting of Wm. Gehman, D. U. Lambert and M. Bowman, to select suitable books to be recommended to our probationers as a course of reading.
The committee reported as follows:
English course, Holy Bible, Mosheim's Church History, Lee's Theology, Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation, Nelson on Infidelity, Finney's Lectures on Religion, Lessons in Holiness, Depravity of the Soul, Menno Simon's Works, Fletcher's Appeal, Baxter's Works.
German course, Holy Bible, Mosheim's church History, Buck's Theological Dictionary, Heilfuelle, Menno Simon's Works, Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress, Baxter's Works.
For the purpose of collecting money and transacting business pertaining to the printing establishment, one or more agents are to be appointed on each quarterly conference district, said agent to receive 10 per cent for all new subscribers to the Banner.
In case no minister be found for Kansas mission, S. Sherk is to spend most of his time there until the next Indiana and Michigan Annual Conference, in March, 1883.
For the purpose of defraying moving expenses of a minister to Kansas, the Ontario conference agrees to contribute $50, the Indiana and Michigan $30, and the Pennsylvania $20, these sums to be sent to the general conference treasurer.
The Kansas mission was added to the Indiana and Michigan conference.
J. Traub elected manager of the printing establishment, to be under the control of the managing committee.
T. H. Brenneman elected editor of the Gospel Banner and Evangeliums Panier, to be under the control of the managing committee.
The following is the managing committee: Ontario, J. Y. Shantz, J. Troxel; Indiana and Michigan, C. M. Nusbaum, John Buzzard; Pennsylvania, John B. Gehman, Abel Strawn.
D. Brenneman elected General agent and traveling missionary, for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions and donations and doing general missionary work, to be under the control of the managing committee.
J. Troxel was allowed traveling expenses (incurred while attending to the business of his calling) out of the printing establishment funds, as also the moving expenses of John Traub.
The proposition of the Brethren in Christ to blend the Gospel Banner and Church and Home, they to deliver to us their subscription list, to occupy the two last pages, and their editor to receive annually $100, was accepted.
The supplement to Banner is not to be published after Jan. 1st, 1883, and for the first class advertisements and general news, one page of the Banner is to be devoted.
J. Traub elected General conference secretary and treasurer.
John Rasor, a member of the Swank branch of the Brethren in Christ, was present for the purpose of negotiating for a union of their church with ours , and a general acquaintance by way of corresponding and visiting with each other was recommended by the conference.
The next General Conference is to be held at Upper Milford, in Lehigh, Co., Pennsylvania, beginning of the first Wednesday in October, 1885.
A hearty vote of thanks was tended the good people of Bethel, for their kindness and hospitality during this conference.
Resolved, That Presiding Elders be elected for an annual conference term only.
That the General conference be held every three years.
That we nulify the words in our Discipline (chapter 2, section 5 clause 2) "at a time previously appointed."
Whereas, we believe that taking out life insurance policies is contrary to the spirit and teaching of Christianity (Acts 20:24; 1 Tim. 4:8, etc.) therefore
Resolved, That any person so doing shall have no place among us.
Resolved, That we recognize no other ground for divorce than that given in Matt. 5:32 and Mark 10:11,12. Any persons violating this law cannot retain, or be received into church fellowship.
That the annual conference members consist of all ordained ministers, and all who are not ordained and have charge of a work, and one delegate to every minister in charge, to be a clause in the discipline.
That no probationer be ordained until the church be fully satisfied that he is capable of taking charge of a work.
That no probationer be allowed to solemnize marriages.
Whereas, we see the great necessity of doing foreign missionary work, and inasmuch as many have manifested a desire to contribute to the cause, therefore
Resolved, That each annual conference adopt a system to collect foreign missionary funds, and report the same to the next General conference.
Whereas, we see the evil effects and influences of that filthy weed, tobacco, and since we as a church want to exert our influence against it, therefore
Resolved, That no minister or deacon be ordained that is addicted to the use of tobacco.
Whereas, we see the evil effects of musical instruments and choirs in our sister churches, we are enabled to profit by the experience of others, and being desirous of warding off all the evils that may retard the cause of Christ, therefore
Resolved, That no organ or choir be allowed in our churches.
Whereas, we recognize the worth of pure Gospel tracts, therefore
Resolved, That we recommend that the manager of our printing establishment print Gospel tracts.
John Krupp Secretaries
1. These minutes are taken from the Gospel Banner, volume 5, number 20, October 15, 1882, page 1.