PROCEEDINGS



OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE (1)



The Fourth General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ was opened according to announcement Oct. 7th, 1896, in Coopersburg, Pa., at 10 o'clock with a season of prayer, after which Eld. P. Cober was elected chairman. The chairman, after a season of prayer, read Rom. 12, which was followed by another season of prayer. The roll was called as follows: PENNSYLVANIA CONFERENCE- W. B. Musselman, P. E., W. Gehman, C. H. Brunner.

INDIANA AND OHIO CONFERENCE- C. K. Curtis, P. E., D. Brenneman,

P. E., A. Good, J. Krupp, S. Lambert, D. Waterman.

CANADA CONFERENCE- M. Bowman, P. E., P. Cober, P. E., E. Anthony, P. E., S. Eby, H. Goudie, J. S. Guy, O. B. Snyder, A. P. Stoltz, W. Graybiel.

Editor- H. S. Hallman.

The brethren D. Brenneman, C. K. Curtis, J. Krupp, S. Lambert, and M. Bowman were not present. Eld. M. Bowman not being able to be present on account of sickness in his family Eld. H. S. Wismer took his place as delegate for the time being.

The minutes of the last General Conference were read.

On motion the session was closed with prayer to meet again at 1 o'clock.



Afternoon Session



The afternoon session was opened by singing and prayer after which the minutes of the opening session were read and received.

The minutes of the last General Conference were received for revision.

H. S. Hallman was elected Gen. Conference Secretary.

Resolved,- That the secretary choose his assistant. Eld. C. H. Brunner was elected.

Question,- What is the duty of the vice Chairman?

Resolved,- That the duties of the vice Chairman shall be to take the place of Chairman in case of sickness or other disability to act.

C. K. Curtis was appointed vice Chairman.

The chairman gave an encouraging address to the conference, referring especially to the guidance and blessing of the Lord during the last four years. Large numbers were converted and sanctified. Many died happy in the Lord. Looking into the future the prospects are grand and the possibilities of this society are glorious. He earnestly exhorted the conference to exercise charity and forbearance during the entire session.

Resolved,- That the conference bar shall include the first three pews on the right hand side of the house.

Resolved,- That all ordained ministers of our denomination shall be received as advisory members.

Resolved,- That they shall be allowed to speak five minutes on any subject by permission of the chair.

Resolved, That each member before speaking on any subject rise to his feet and address the chair, and that each member be allowed to speak ten minutes on each subject and only once except by permission of the chair.

Resolved,- That the forenoon session open at 8:30 o'clock and close at ll:30. The afternoon session shall open at 1:30 and close at 4:30.

Resolved,- That the conference prefers the English language is to be used in the discussion of subjects. German members shall have the privilege to speak in German.

C. H. Brunner was elected interpreter.

The proceedings of the last General Conference were revised and after a few corrections, were received.

Resolved,- That the chairman nominate all committees and that the conference elect them.

The following committees were elected;

Committee on resolutions.- A. Good, D. Brenneman, E. Anthony.

Committee on Annual Conference Minutes,- H. Goudie, C. K. Curtis, O. B. Snyder.

Committee on Worship,- Wm. Gehman, C. H. Brunner, and W. B. Musselman.

C. H. Brunner and A. P. Stoltz were elected auditors to audit General Conference reports.

The Presiding Elders of the different Annual Conferences reported.

Eld. D. Brenneman reported the work prosperous. The mission work is making notable progress.

C. K. Curtis reported. God met with us in power. Camp-meetings were glorious, many converted. The work of Divine Healing is becoming established. Perfect harmony prevails among the ministry on the line of holiness. The way for aggressive missions work is opening to us.

E. Anthony reported: The work looks bright. Had considerable trouble with worldly conformity, but have gained a signal victory. Ministers are a unit on holiness and all through.

W. B. Musselman reported. We have passed through a time of sifting. The opposition is great on all sides. The home mission work is making grand progress. We have between 20 and 30 mission workers out on the faith line.

P. Cober, reported: The work is in a progressive condition. The ministers are a self-denying and contented band of workers. Holiness is the secret of success in our work. Harmony prevails.

D. Brenneman reported as fraternal delegate to the Radical branch of the U. B. General Conference. He was not present, not being able to find out the date of conference until after the conference was over. The report was received as satisfactory.

On motion the session adjourned with prayer.



THURSDAY

Forenoon Session



The session opened with singing and prayer, after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

Bro. S. Lambert was appointed to take the place of Bro. Curtis on the Committee on Annual Conference minutes. W. B. Musselman who was elected by the last General Conference to act as agent for the General Conference to dispose of certain church property in Western Pennsylvania, reported that he inquired of different parties, but could not find location of said property. It was

Resolved,- That D. Brenneman investigate the matter, and act according to his discretion.

A resolution from the Pennsylvania Annual Conference, requesting the General Conference to insert the resolution that, "We allow no elder in our Church to be a member in any association or society organized with the object of purely financial gain" into the discipline, was brought before the Conference and referred to the committee on Constitution.

Resolved,- That a committee on program be appointed.

C. H. Brunner,

A. Good,

Committee H. S. Wismer,

W. Gehman,

S. Eby.

A motion to not read the entire discipline was lost. A. P. Stoltz was elected to read the discipline in German, and J. Krupp to read it in English.

CORRECTIONS OF DISCIPLINE

Art. 1. In the phrase "breathed in his nostrils," erase the word

"in" and insert the word "into" instead.

Art. 3, page 14. Omit the word "happy" in the second line.

Art. 4, page 16. Change the phrase "to reconcile the Eternal Father to us," and read, "to reconcile us to the Eternal Father;" also "both our original and actual sins" to "both our actual transgressions and original sin."

Art. 7, page 17. Was referred to a standing committee on revision of Discipline.

H. S. Hallman, A. Good and W. B. Musselman were elected a standing committee on revision of Discipline.

Art. 8, page 18. Change the phrase, "But just so long as man refuses a compliance," to "But just so long as man refuses to comply."

Art. 9, page 18. Was referred to committee on revision.

Art. 10, page 19. Change the sentence "Genuine and saving faith includes that simple trust in the promises of God which, etc.," to "Genuine and saving faith is that simple trust in the promises of God in Christ through which all doubt is excluded from the heart, and peace and rest is produced in the soul."

On motion the Conference adjourned with prayer.



Afternoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer, after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The following committees reported:

Committee on programme reported an order of procedure in the business of the session which was adopted. Committee C. H. Brunner, H. S. Wismer, A. Good, Wm. Gehman, S. Eby.

Committee on examination of Annual conference minutes reported as follows: We have examined the minutes of the Annual conferences of the last General Conference term as recorded by the different Conferences, and have found no serious mistakes.

The following resolutions were recommended to the General conference. By Pennsylvania Conference. That we ask the next General Conference to insert the resolution passed at the last General Conference:

1. "That no Elder of our church be allowed to be a member of any association whose object is purely financial gain," into our Discipline.

2. That this Conference specify the place and time for the election of trustees more definitely.

3. That this Conference exchange "Field's Handbook of Christian Theology" with "Christian Manual" by Rev. F. W. Farr of the New York Missionary Training Institute.

By Canada:

That we petition the General conference to amend our Discipline in regard to reception of members, so as not to receive any that use tobacco or retain them if they commence its use after they have been received.

2. That this General Conference make the article in the Discipline on baptism more definite.

Resolved, That this Conference respectfully ask the General Conference to consider our rules of discipline regarding applicants to the ministry, and make the following change; that instead of the applicant being brought directly from his Quarterly Conference to the Annual Conference, he be brought to before the Quarterly Conference on his field, after the class has passed him for Quarterly Conference license, and if he receive Quarterly Conference license to labor under the directions of said Quarterly Conference for one year, at the end of which he shall again be brought before Quarterly Conference, and if found satisfactory as to his ability to preach, to receive a recommendation to the annual Conference.

S. Lambert,

Committee, O. B. Snyder

H. Goudie

The report was accepted.

Resolved, That the committee on examination of Annual Conference minutes also compile the General Conference Statistics.

Revision of Discipline was continued.

Art. 13, page 22. In the last clause of the article substitute "neither" and "nor" for "not" and "or."

Art. 16, page 20. Change "Not every sin committed after justification is therefore the sin against the Holy Ghost and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant," etc. and read, "Not every sin committed after justification is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and unpardonable." Therefore the grant," etc.

Art. 20, page 27. This article shall precede Art. 19 in order.

Art. 21, page. 27. Append to the end of the article (preceding the references) the following. "We therefore use our influence strongly against the courtship and marriage of Christians with the unconverted."

Art. 23, page 29. Was referred to the committee on revision.

Art. 25, page 32. Add "an" before "efficient means in his hand."

Art. 26. Was referred to the committee on revision.

The session was closed with prayer.



Friday

Forenoon session



The session was opened with singing and prayer after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received. The following committee reported:

Committee on revision of discipline.

The committee reported as follows and after discussion the report was received.

Art. 7. Original Sin. Original sin is that corruption and depravity of the human nature in consequence of the fall whereby man has become estranged from God, and is disqualified to do the will of God perfectly. Rom. 7:21, 8:7; I Cor. 3:1-4.

Art. 9. Of Repentance. Genuine repentance toward God consists in a knowledge of, a sorrow for, and a confession and forsaking of sins brought about by the knowledge of the goodness of God and the convincing power of the Holy Spirit accompanying the truth as it is preached or read. Matt.3:8; Acts 20:21, 2 Cor.7:10; I John 1:9, first clause.

Art. 23, Page 29. Of Defence. Erase the second paragraph and leave the rest as it now stands. Erase the first reference Micah 4:3.

A. Good

Committee W. B. Musselman

H. S. HaIlman

The committee on Constitution reported and the report was laid on the table for future discussion.

The revision of Discipline was now continued.

Sec.2, page 36. In the last sentence omit the word "and" and the entire clause after the word "faith".

After a lengthy discussion of Sec. 5 page 38 it was

Resolved, That we may receive believers into full membership before they are baptized on condition that they be baptized at the first opportunity after their reception.

The session was closed with prayer.



Afternoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The Presiding Elders of the different Annual Conferences with the Editor were elected a committee on Annual conference boundaries.

Sec. 5, page 38. Resolved, That the first paragraph in this section be erased and the following take its place: "We receive such that have been baptized on confession of their faith, and believers may be received into full church membership before they are baptized on condition that they be baptized at the first opportunity after the reception, and that the paragraph on class membership, in the supplement be erased.

Sec. 7, page 41. Change the last paragraph to read "The apostle said, singing and making melody in your heart unto the Lord."

Sec. 10, page 43. Line 1 change the word "indulgence" to "indulgences". This section was then referred to the committee on revision.

Resolved, That we have a question drawer and that the questions be answered by the chairman. M. Bowman and C. K. Curtis were appointed a committee to examine questions.

Sec. 15. page 46. Erase the word "crime" and insert the word "accusation", also strike out the word "expressly."

Conclusion. Page 49. Substitute for the first three lines the following. "These are the general rules of our society all of which are in harmony with the spirit of the word of God. If there be any etc."

Sec. 17, page 51. Of Baptism. Was referred for revision to the committee on revision.

The session was closed with prayer.



SATURDAY

Forenoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer, after which the preceding session were read and received. The committee on revision reported on the following articles.

Sec. 10, page 43. Add the word "and that we recommend our ministers not to receive any as church members who are addicted to the use of any of them."

Chapter 3, sec. 1, page 51. Of Baptism. The first paragraph shall be erased and the following take its place.

Question, - How and to whom shall baptism be administered?

Answer, Baptism shall be administered to believers, and only by immersion.

A. Good,

Committee W. B. Musselman,

H. S. Hallman

The report was received.

The committee on resolutions brought in the following resolution which was received:

Resolved, That the following be appended to sec. 15 page 48. Question - How shall an accused minister be brought to trial?

Answer - Any minister of our church against whom a charge is preferred for immoral conduct or teaching any doctrine or doctrines contrary to our Discipline the Presiding Elder on whose charge he labors or lives, shall admonish him, and in case he persists in such practice, the Presiding Elder shall suspend him from preaching until the next Annual Conference, where he shall be tried.

A. Good,

Committee E. Anthony

D. Brenneman

M. Bowman, who was detained from attending the first part of the conference session on account of sickness in the family, being now present, gave a report as Presiding Elder of south district of Canada Conference. He reported revivals on the different circuits and missions of the district. Does not expect that we will be many in number but select. Had to labor under many difficulties, but the work is progressing nicely.

The Presiding Elders' reports were received.

A. Good, S. Eby and S. Lambert were elected a committee to formulate something as to what the Presiding Elders shall report at the General Conference.

A letter from several classes of Western Pennsylvania to this conference and referred to the committee on boundaries.

The session closed with prayer.



Afternoon Session



The session was opened by singing and prayer, after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The committee on Presiding Elders reports reported:

Resolved, 1. That the chairman of the last Annual Conference in the General Conference term shall bring a full summary statistical report of the four years of his conference to the General Conference.

A. Good

Committee S. Eby,

S. Lambert

The report was received.

The committee on boundary reported as follows:

Resolved, 1. That the work in Canada shall be known as the Canada Conference.

2. That Michigan shall be made a Mission Conference, and shall include the entire state with the exception of Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Branch, St. Joseph, Cass, and Berrien counties.

3. That The Canada conference appropriate 30 per cent of their home mission fund the first two years, 25 percent the third year, and 20 per cent the fourth year to the Michigan Conference.

4. That the Presiding Elders of the Canada Conference pay 10 per cent of their entire collections annually to the Presiding Elder of Michigan Conference for the General Conference term.

5. That the Indiana and Ohio conference be divided into two conferences, the Mississippi to be the boundary line between the two conferences, the conferences to be known as the Indiana and Ohio and the Iowa and Nebraska Conferences, respectively.

6. That the Western Pennsylvania work be annexed to [sic], and Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Branch, St. Joseph, Cass, and Berrien counties of Michigan remain with the Indiana and Ohio conference.

7. That Pennsylvania Conference remain as it now is with Western Pennsylvania taken off.

M. Bowman,

D. Brenneman

C. K. Curtis

Committee W. B. Musselman

P. Cober

E. Anthony

H. S. Hallman

The report was accepted.

Resolved, That the boundaries as laid down by the committee on boundaries go into effect immediately after the General Conference, and the percentage system go into effect after the next Annual Conference in Canada, and that the first Annual Conference on the Michigan Conference district be held commencing on the 8th of April, 1897, in Brown City.

Resolved, that the brethren from the Ohio and Indiana Conference shall act as a committee on the time and conditions of the changes of their boundaries.

The subject of bishop was brought up but a motion to have a bishop was defeated.

Revision of Discipline was proceeded with.

Sec. 4, page 55. Was referred to the committee on revision.

Sec. 5, page 56. Was referred to the committee on revision.

Resolved, That M. Bowman take H. S. Hallman's place on revision committee for these articles, to relieve H. S. Hallman for other work.

Sec.2, page 67. In the first paragraph erase the word,"steward." In paragraph 3, page 68, change the first line, and read, "Class leaders shall be elected.", etc.

Add a paragraph 4, on page 68, as follows: "Stewards shall be nominated by the pastor in charge and elected by the class by an open vote."

The session was closed with prayer.



MONDAY

Forenoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The committee to arrange for Annual Conference for Iowa and Nebraska Conference, reported as follows:

Resolved, That the annual Conference, of the Iowa and Nebraska Conference district, be held at Shambaugh, Iowa, commencing on the third Wednesday in March, 1897.

C. K. Curtis

S. Lambert

Committee D. Brenneman

A. Good

J. Krupp

The report was received.

The committee on revision reported on sections 4 and 5 as follows:

Sec. 4, page 56. In fourth line erase "looking for," etc. to end of paragraph, and insert the following instead: "Awaiting the resurrection through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom each must come forth in his own order, when this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, and all shall appear in His presence, according to the mighty working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.

Sec. 5, page 56. In fourth line erase both scripture references; also on page 57 second line, erase, "After this 2 Chron. 6:12-31 or a suitable part of 1 Kings 8, shall be read"; also change "beloveds" and insert "beloved" instead in eighth line. In twelfth line insert "this house" instead of "a house" and erase "for His name." Also erase the word "to" in last line of paragraph and insert instead "we therefore". Erase paragraph beginning "Although the Most High," etc. to "our Divine Redeemer. " Erase "to be His sanctuary and dwelling place" in second paragraph, fifth line, page 58. On page 59, third line, instead of "services, rules and customs" insert, "services and rules. " Also in second paragraph, fourth line, erase the word "property" and insert the word "people."

M. Bowman

Committee A. Good

W. B. Musselman

Resolved, That the committee on resolutions formulate an article on the Sabbath.

M. Bowman was elected on the revision committee to take the place of H. S. Hallman.

Revision of Discipline was continued.

Sec. 2, page 67. Further referred to the committee on revision.

Sec. 3, page 68. Was referred to committee on revision. Recommendation from the Canada Annual conference relative to this section was likewise referred to the committee.

Sec. 4, page 69. Was referred to the committee on revision.

Sec. 5, page 69. Change first answer to read, "They shall be persons of deep piety, and members of our Church, having Christ's cause at heart." Substitute, "they" and "their" for "he" and "his", that is, the plural for the singular number throughout the entire section.

Sec. 6, page 72, paragraph 3. Insert after quarterly, "monthly or weekly as the Quarterly Conference decides."

Sec.8, page 74. Erase, "as mutually agreed upon."

Sec. l, page 80. Change answer to question 1, and read, "All officers and all the brethren in full connection."

Sec. 2 Was referred to the committee on revision, adding C. H. Brunner to the committee for this article.

The Conference adjourned with prayer.



Afternoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer, after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The committee on resolutions reported the following resolution. That the following articles be placed among the articles of faith in the Discipline.



The Sabbath



We believe the Sabbath to be of divine origin. The Jewish Sabbath as having been obligatory upon those living under the law of Moses until the time of its consummation. We recognize the first day of the week as being the legal Sabbath under the present dispensation, the observance of which we hold obligatory and sacredly binding upon the followers of the Lord Jesus in commemoration of the glorious victory achieved through His resurrection from the dead on that eventful day; it also having been duly and persistently observed by the Apostolic Church, and also being the day upon which the Holy Ghost was poured out on the disciples.

A. Good

Committee D. Brenneman

E. Anthony

The report was received.

Committee on revision reported on Sec. 2, page 68 and Sec. 3 page 68, as follows:

Sec. 2, page 68. Add the following paragraph. "5. Trustees shall be elected annually by the last Quarterly Conference in Annual Conference year.

Sec. 3, page, 68. Erase all in Sec. 3, page 68 and 69 to "No Probationer" in line 5 and also supplement page 6 under heading "Local Preachers", also 1st and 2nd par. in supplement page 9 and insert the following:

1. If there is a brother or sister who has convictions of a call to preach the gospel (See Art. 25) such shall make it known to the minister in charge.

2. If the minister considers such an one a proper subject as Paul writes in I Tim. 3; he shall bring the matter before the class, and if two-thirds of the class present vote in favor of the person (by ballot) he shall recommend him or her to the Quarterly Conference.

3. Then the Presiding Elder, with the minister in charge, will examine the state of grace, nature of the call, and the moral character of such, and with the consent of two thirds of the Quarterly Conference may grant a Quarterly Conference license giving him or her the privilege to labor as directed by the Quarterly Conference or Presiding Elder.

Such who have labored satisfactorily under a Quarterly Conference license for at least one year, may make application to their Quarterly Conference for a recommendation to the Annual Conference which may be granted them, after examination, by consent of two thirds of the Quarterly Conference members present, where such may be received on a three years' term of probation providing they pass an examination on discipline satisfactorily. No probationer to be ordained," &c.

Sec. 4, page 69. OF WOMEN PREACHING. Erase the entire section and insert in its place the following: "Sisters who are licensed according the Discipline may be recognized as evangelists, helpers, and missionaries subject to the Presiding Elder or minister in charge. They shall be received according to Chap. 4 Sec. 3 except ordination. They shall have a voice in their respective Quarterly Conferences.

M. Bowman

Committee A. Good

W. B. Musselman

Chap. 7, page 93, was referred to the committee on revision.

H. S. Hallman, C. H. Brunner and J. S. Guy were elected a committee to revise the Reading Course.

The report of the Printing Office stock was read and referred to the auditors.

The session was closed with prayer.



TUESDAY

Forenoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The committee on revision reported on Chap. 7 as follows:

MEETING HOUSES

On Page 94 in 2nd answer erase "three" and insert "one." In 3rd line erase "yearly elections shall be made in each board of trustees to serve for a term of three years." On page 95, par. 2, in fourth line from bottom read "by the quarterly conference and pastor."

On page 96, 1st line insert "secretary" after the word "and." In fourth line from top insert "last" before the word quarterly." Add "No trustee board shall permit any outside party or parties to use the church without permission from their pastor."

A building committee may be appointed by the Quarterly Conference on special occasions, if called for.

A. Good

Committee M. Bowman

W. B. Musselman

The report was received.

Report of committee on Annual Conferences reported and the report was received as follows:

CONFERENCES. (Sec. 2, page 81.) Erase the word "of" in the heading. Order of Procedure.

1. Enrollment of members and organization.

2. Adoption of rules and regulations.

3. Appointments of committees.

4. Par. I.

5. Par. 2.

6. Erase par. 3 and put following in this place "Committee reports."

7. Par. 4.

STATISTICAL REPORT

After No. 5 insert, "How many Quarterly Conference licensed preachers and evangelists." Omit Nos. 7 and 8, and No. 10. Omit the words "and Evang. Panier" in No. 37. After No. 44, insert "How much collected for parsonage rent?" After No. 58 insert the following:

"How much collected for the poor?

How much collected for S. S. Conventions?

How much collected for Self-denial fund?

How much collected for Conference fund?

How much collected for Beneficiary fund?

Total collected.

Name of Pastor.

8. Paragraph 5.

9. Paragraph 6 insert the word "Home" before "missionary cause."

10. Insert, "What is to be done in the foreign missionary cause?" Erase No. 7.

C. H. Brunner

Committee M. Bowman

W. B. Musselman

A. Good

The report of Printing office was read and submitted with explanations and remarks.

Resolved, That a committee from each Annual Conference be appointed to examine the list of delinquents of Banner subscribers.

The following committees were elected:

Pennsylvania Conference:- W. B. Musselman, C. H. Brunner, W. Gehman.

Canada Conference:- P. Cober, M. Bowman, E. Anthony.

Indiana and Ohio Conference:- C. K. Curtis, D. Brenneman, A. Good.

The session was closed with prayer.



Afternoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer after which the minutes of the last session were read and received.

The committee on resolutions reported the following resolution which was adopted and is to be placed in the Discipline. "No ministers of our society shall be allowed to take active part in politics and they shall discourage the members in the same. In the temperance movement each one shall act in regards to voting according to the dictates of his own conscience."

A. Good,

Committee E. Anthony,

D. Brenneman.

Resolved,- That each Annual Conference shall have ninety days time to see all the parties on the delinquent list in their district, and collect what they possibly can. The circumstances of those which they cannot collect shall be reported to the Editor, who shall then act to the best of his judgment.

Resolved,- That the committee on resolutions shall formulate a resolution as to the discontinuing of subscribers in arrears.

Resolved,- That the following question be inserted in the schedule "How many members are not baptized?"

The article on class membership was reconsidered, but it was defeated.

The report of the Committee on Constitution which was laid on the table, was now taken up, and after a careful reading and discussion, it was

Resolved,- That it be received to be submitted to the members of the whole Society to be confirmed.

Following is the report:

Constitution

We, the members of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church, unite in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ for the purpose of carrying forward the work of the Lord in the justification and regeneration of sinners, the sanctification of believers, healing of the sick, the general edification of the body of Christ, and the preparation of the bride for His coming; and in order to secure a uniform mode of action in faith and practice in the work of our Lord and Master, we ordain the following articles of constitution.

Art. I.

Terms of Membership

Sec. 1. The terms of membership of this Society shall be that all members shall subscribe to all the articles of faith and rules of discipline of the Society, as they now are, or as they may be amended.

Art. II.

Conferences

Sec. 1. The Conferences of this Society shall be Quarterly, Annual, and General.

Quarterly Conference

Sec. 2. Quarterly Conferences shall be held on each charge.

Annual Conference

Sec. 3. Annual conferences shall be held on each Annual Conference district.

General Conference

Sec. 4. The General Conference shall be held every four years.

It shall have power to make or repeal any articles of faith or rule of discipline not included in this constitution.

It shall define the boundaries of the Annual Conference districts.

It shall pass no rule at any time to set aside the ordinances of water baptism, feet-washing, and the Lord's Supper.

It shall form no rule by which members of Secret Societies will be admitted as members of our Church.

It shall not form any rule by which the itinerant system will be put away.

It shall examine the business transactions of all the Annual conferences, and in case the business is not transacted strictly according to discipline, such Annual Conference shall be brought before the General Conference for trial.

Art. III

Miscellaneous

Sec. 1. The chairman of the last Annual Conference of the General Conference term of each Annual Conference district shall be held responsible for bringing the Conference minute book of said Conference to the General Conference; and if he neglects to bring the same, he shall forfeit his voice in the General conference session.

Sec. 2. Any preacher (either local or itinerant), officer or member of this Society found guilty of sowing dissension, creating disturbance, or causing disturbance to be created, either directly or indirectly, by advocating false doctrines, speaking against our doctrines, or undermining any preacher, officer, or member shall be subject to a public confession or expulsion from the church.

Art. IV.

Alterations

Sec. 1. These articles of constitution shall not be changed except by a request from the General Conference, and confirmed by two-thirds of all the members of the Annual Conferences in session first after the General Conference so requesting.

Sec. 2. As soon as such change in the constitution has been taken action on by the Annual Conferences, the result of such action shall be officially sent to the chairman of the last General Conference, who, when the change has been confirmed by two-thirds of the members of the Annual Conferences as aforesaid, shall announce the same in the official paper; and the change thus confirmed shall go in effect from that time; and shall be so entered in the discipline by the Committee on Publication.

C. K. Curtis,

Daniel Brenneman,

E. Anthony

Committee W. B. Musselman

P. Cober

H. S. Hallman.

J. Krupp, O. B. Snyder, and H. Goudie were elected as committee to arrange a plan for the submission of this Constitution to the members of the Church for vote.

The session was closed with prayer.



WEDNESDAY

Forenoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The committee on Reading Course reported as follows:

Applicants

Applicants for the ministry shall be examined on the whole Discipline by a written examination. They shall make 50 per cent. in order to pass.

First Year

Add Fisher's Church History, pages l - 240.

Second Year

Erase "Bard's Church History (first half)."

Add Fisher's Church History, pages 240-484.

Third Year

Erase "Bard's Church History (last half)" and change Handbook of Christian Theology (chap. 11-19) to chap. 11-14 inclusive. Add Fisher's Church History, page 484 to the end.

A short treatise of Christ's Coming shall be added by the committee. Instead of "We recommend that probationers be examined," etc., read "Probationers shall be examined," etc. Change the last three lines to read thus, "They shall make 20 per cent on the marks given on each book, and an average of 40 per cent on the whole in order to pass." Change, "We recommend that no probationer," etc. and read, "No probationer shall," etc.

The committee on revision reported on article 26, page 32, and the report was received as follows:

The Coming Of Christ

We believe that he hope of the Church is centered in the personal return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who will Himself return in like manner as He ascended. We are exhorted to comfort one another with these words. Acts 1:11, 1 Thes. 4:18.

Importance- Matt. 24:42,44; Mark 13:33-37; Luke 12:35,36, 21:36.

Object of hope- Titus 2:13, 1 Peter 1:3-9, 1 Thess. 4:17, John 14:3, 1 Cor. 1:4-8.

Motives to activity and holiness- Luke 9:26, Phil. 3:20, Col. 3:4,5; 1 Tim. 6:14; 1 Peter 5:2-4; Titus 2:12,13; Heb. 10:36,37; Jas. 5:7,8; Rev. 2:25, 1 Thess. 3:12,13; 1 Jno. 2:28; 3:2,3; 1 Thes. 5:4,6.

Scoffers do not believe in His coming- 2 Pet. 3:3,7,11,12.

He will come to those that look for Him- Heb. 9:28.

Millennium.

The Millennium (Rev. 20:1-6) or day of the Lord (2 Pet. 3:8) will be ushered in by the appearance of Christ in his glory (Luke 21:27) with his church (1 Thess. 3:13; Zech. 14:5), or ten thousand saints (Jude 14), to reign on earth (Rev. 5:10, Zech. 14:9) one thousand years, during which time the devil is bound (Rev. 20:1-6) and Christ will reign in righteousness (Psa. 46:9; Psa. 72:8, 10,11,17; Isa. 2:1-4) until His enemies become His footstool (Heb. 10:13; Isa. 11:6,9; Hos. 2:18).

Judgment Day

God has appointed a day (2 Pet. 3:8) to judge the world (Acts 17:31) when all will be judged according to their works. 2 Pet. 2:9; Heb. 9:27; 10:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Matt. 25:32; Eccl. 12:14.

H. S. Hallman

Committee W. B. Musselman

A. Good.

The committee to arrange to submit the Constitution to the members of the church reported, and after a few changes the report was received as follows:-

Resolved,- That every minister in charge shall be furnished with a printed copy of the Constitution which shall be inserted into the Quarterly Conference book, following this insertion every member of the different classes of the charge shall vote for or against, by subscribing their respective names. The minister in charge shall present it to every member under his care and report to the General Conference Secretary.

H. Goudie

Committee J. Krupp

O. B. Snyder.

The expenses of printing in connection with the submission of the constitution shall be collected from the different Annual Conferences by their Presiding Elder.

Resolved,- That we will print a new discipline in English and German.

D. Brenneman, C. H. Brunner, and H. S. Hallman were elected a committee to arrange the new discipline.

Resolved,- That the Gospel Banner be continued.

The following committee was appointed to sell part or all of the Gospel Banner printing office stock, pay the old debt owing to J. B. Gehman, and secure the printing of the Banner for the future on the most economical plan: John Troxel, A. H. McNally, Jacob B. Shantz, Moses Devitt, Elias Pannebecker.

W. B. Musselman, M. Bowman and A. Good were elected a committee to formulate an article with reference to an executive committee.

Resolved,- That an informal vote be taken for Editor and the result made known to the Conference for a final vote.

W. B. Musselman, M. Bowman, and A. Good were elected a committee to formulate an article on the duties and responsibilities etc. of the Editor of the Gospel Banner.

The Conference resolved itself into a committee to consider the subject of the election of an Editor.

The session was closed with prayer.



Afternoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer, after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The committee on election of Editor reported as follows, and the report was received: H. S. Hallman, Editor for the past was officially passed.

Resolved,- That the Editor's salary for the ensuing General Conference term shall be $450 per year.

Resolved,- That every alternate delegate elected by the several Annual Conferences for the General Conference be from among the laity.

The committee on the Executive reported, and the report was amended, and received as follows:

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

1. The Executive Committee shall consist of one Presiding Elder, three travelling Elders, and three lay members; the Presiding Elder shall be chairman of the committee. These shall be elected by ballot from among the General Conference members at each General Conference, for a General Conference term.

Vacancies of the above committee, if such occur for any reason, may be filled by the remaining members of the committee from among the members of the last General Conference.

2. In case there be no Editor for any reason, the Executive Committee shall meet and elect an Editor, who shall serve until the next General Conference.

3. The Executive Committee shall examine the Editor in case any charges are preferred against him, and if he be found guilty, and he does not meet the requirements of the committee, they shall have power to suspend him from his office until the next General Conference, where he shall be dealt with.

4. The Executive Committee shall constitute a court of appeal, which shall, if necessary, hold a session once a year, for the purpose of trying all appeals that may be taken by any travelling preachers for the decision of an Annual Conference. The chairman shall preside at the trial of appeal cases. Five members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.

5. The Executive Committee shall meet whenever the chairman or any three members of the committee shall deem it necessary, and a majority of the members elected shall constitute a quorum for transacting business.

6. It shall have charge of the publishing interests, subject to the regulations adopted by the General Conference from time to time.

7. It shall settle all disputes on boundaries between Annual Conferences.

A. Good

Committee M. Bowman

W. B. Musselman

The Following were elected an Executive Committee for the ensuing four years: M. Bowman, chairman, S. Eby, A. Good, C. H. Brunner, S. B. Schneider, D. Waterman, J. Brunner.

H. S. Hallman was re-elected Editor of the Gospel Banner.

W. B. Musselman, D. Brenneman and A. Good were elected associate Editors.

Mrs. J. S. Guy was appointed as special correspondent to the Youth's Department.

C. H. Brunner was appointed Editor of the S. S. Lesson Department.

Resolved,- That the travelling Elders and evangelists shall have the Gospel Banner free, provided that they secure at least two new subscribers annually (without deducting their per centage from these two), and do all they can to collect the old and current subscriptions.

The session was closed with prayer.



Thursday

Forenoon Session



The session was opened with singing and prayer after which the minutes of the preceding session were read and received.

The committee to formulate an article as to the duties and responsibility of the Editor reported which was received as follows:

The Editor of the Gospel Banner is elected at each General Conference by ballot for a General Conference term. The duties of an Editor are:

1. To write or select articles for the Gospel Banner which are in harmony with our Discipline.

2. He may ignore or curtail any articles or testimonies of contributors in general which are unsound or detrimental to the general interest of the readers of the Banner to the best of his knowledge.

No camp meeting report should cover more than one page, no Presiding Elder's report more than one column, no obituary or death notice more than three inches, (ministers excepted), and no marriage notice more than one inch.

We allow no general advertisements or notice of a good book or periodical once accepted.

3. He is to send the full subscription list of each charge annually to the pastor of the charge shortly before New Year when each pastor will collect subscription money before the 15th of January.

4. He shall notify the Presiding Elder of any pastor who fails to collect subscription money by the 15th of January.

5. He is held responsible for the doctrines of all articles which appear in the Gospel Banner with the exception of such which are contributed by associate Editors or endorsed by any Annual Conference or Convention.

In case any associate Editor advocates or Annual Conference endorses any doctrines, rules or regulations that are unsound or not in harmony with our Discipline through the columns of the Gospel Banner, the Editor shall not be held responsible, but such an associate Editor or Annual Conference shall be denied their special rights by order of the chairman and the majority of the executive committee.

Any member or preacher who in any way undermines the Editor may be reported by the Editor or anyone else to the Chairman of the executive committee, who, with or through one or more of said committee will investigate the matter and if such an one is found guilty of the same, without rendering satisfaction will be dealt with according to Discipline.

A. Good

Committee M. Bowman

W. B. Musselman

The final report of the Printing Office was submitted.

Committee on arrangement of Discipline reported and the report was received.

The committee on statistics reported, as follows:

The Indiana Conference not having brought their Annual Conference Minute Book to this General Conference and the statistical report of said Annual Conference being also omitted in the report of their Conference of 1894 in the Banner we therefore submit the following statistical report to this Conference to which is to be added the missing report of said Conference.



Statistical Report



How many Presiding Elders 6

How many ordained ministers 61

Probationers 32

Probationers to be ordained 7

Preachers on Quarterly license 10

Deacons 61

Deacons on probation 27

Deacons to be ordained 7

Stewards 139

New Converts 3596

Baptized 2079

Received in to Church fellowship 1959

Received by letter 312

Died 104

Withdrawn 230

Expelled 270

Moved away 146

Transferred 322

Increase 1354

Decrease 255

Whole number of members 3879

Appointments 178

New appointments 87

Sermons Preached 33,872

Pastoral Visits 60,130

Prayer meeting visits 9,936

Sunday School visits 5,474

Number of classes 147

New classes organized 59

Class leaders 141

Sabbath Schools 79

New Sabbath Schools organized 27

Officers and teachers 639

Scholars on roll 4,428

Union Sabbath Schools 24

How many churches 78 1/2

Parsonages 9



Value of Church Property $94,480.00

Increase of Church property 18,020.00



Collected for Church property $18,144.81

Collected for Sabbath School 5,635.79

Foreign and Heathen Missions in Schools 556.73

Parsonage rent 1,486.79

Ministers in cash 28,849.35

Ministers in other contributions 4,681.28

Collections for helpers 2,283.56

Collections for Home Missions 11,528.93

Collections for Heathen Missions 2,135.46

Repairing Church property 1,679.01

Sexton and Sundry Expenses 7,931.04

Presiding Elders Collections 7,340.66

Tabernacle collections 246.92

Evangelistic work 2,342.89

Self-denial 517.62

Sunday School Convention 219.75

Conference fund (Annual) 997.87

Beneficiary 545.29

Children's Home 248.18

Total Collected $103,846.02



H. Goudie

Committee S. Lambert

O. B. Snyder

The report was received with the condition that the secretary of the General Conference add the missing statistics.

Resolved, That the Home Mission work be continued as before.

Resolved, That the Foreign Mission work be left to the several Annual Conferences.

Resolved, That the Sunday School Work be left as before.

Resolved, That the next Gen. Conf. be held in Berlin, Ont., to commence on the first Wednesday of Oct., 1900.

Resolved, That we recommend our Annual Conferences to send fraternal delegates to each other every four years, to the third Annual Conference in the General Conference term.

Resolved, That the standard Church Hymnal of our church as compiled by the committee of last General Conference be used in all our regular English Church services.

Resolved, That the Executive Committed shall have the authority to order a new edition of our Church Hymnal if necessary.

Resolved: That we insert the following in our Discipline: Any minister who has been passed at the preceding Annual Conference, and also at the preceding Quarterly Conference, may, at his request receive a transfer to any other Annual Conference from the Presiding Elder of that district.

The auditor reported as follows: We have audited the reports of the General Conference and found slight mistakes which were corrected.

Auditors C. H. Brunner

A. F. Stoltz

The report was received. A collection was taken up for the work and expense of the Secretary amounting to $3.84. Thanks!

Whereas the brethren and sisters of Coopersburg and vicinity so kindly opened their homes and provided for us during the General Conference session, therefore

Resolved, That we as members of this Conference tender a hearty vote of thanks to them.

The Presiding Elders each gave a short address which were to the effect that they were well satisfied with the work of the Conference.

Resolved, That all the members of this General Conference shall subscribe their several names to these General Conference proceedings.

Resolved, That we adjourn to meet again in Berlin, Ont., the 1st Wednesday in Oct., 1900.

P. Cober, Chairman

H. S. Hallman, Sec.

C. H. Brunner, Assist. Sec.

S. Lambert.

J. S. Guy.

Wm. Gehman.

Menno Bowman.

W. B. Musselman.

D. Brenneman.

C. K. Curtis.

E. Anthony.

H. Goudie.

D. C. Waterman.

O. B. Snyder.

S. Eby.

John Krupp.

A. F. Stoltz.

Andrew Good.

Wm. Graybiel.

1. These proceedings are taken from the Gospel Banner, volume 19, number 43, October 27, 1896.