Special Uniting Conference

December 1883

Minutes of Special Conference (1)



There met in a special conference, according to previous announcement, at Harrisburg, Montgomery County, Ohio, December 27th, 1883, the delegates duly appointed by the several conferences of the "Brethren in Christ" (designated the Swank branch) and the "Evangelical United Mennonites."

The Brethren in Christ were represented by the following delegates: George W. Wright, Moses Blackburn, George W. Wright, Moses Blackburn, George B. Waitman, Daniel Walter, John Rasor, Samuel McDonald, Peter Walter, Isaiah Smail.

The Evangelical United Mennonites were represented by the following delegates: Solomon Eby, Menno Bowman, Peter Pike, William Gehman, Abel Strawn, Sidenham Lambert, Daniel Brenneman.

The object of the conference was to consider the propriety of these two branches of the church represented, uniting together as one body.



The Forenoon



was devoted to singing, prayer, and speaking by the delegates and others expressive of their sentiments in reference to the union question. Met again in



The Afternoon.



After a season of prayer, the conference was organized, electing Samuel McDonald, President; Daniel Brenneman, Secretary; and Moses Blackburn, Assistant Secretary.

Rules to be observed during this conference were framed as follows:

First, That the forenoon sessions be opened at 8 o'clock and close at 11:30. Afternoon sessions at 1 o'clock and close at 4.

Second, That all questions be voted upon by the raising of the right hand.

Third, That any one speaking rise to his feet.

Fourth, That those speaking address the chairman.

Fifth, That no one be permitted to speak on any one subject more than twice, nor over twenty minutes at a time except by permission of the chairman.

J. Rasor, S. McDonald, and A. Peffley were chosen a committee to for programme for evening services.

M. Bowman, S. McDonald, G. D. Waitman, S. Eby, and Peter Walter were chosen a committee to form programme for the conference. G. D. Waitman not being present A. Strawn was chosen to take his place.

Conference adjourned after singing and prayer led by M. Bowman.



Friday Forenoon Session



Opened by singing and prayer led by A. Strawn.

Reports of committees read and adopted.

E. Eby, S. Herr, A. Good, and E. Hershey were admitted as advisory members.

Resolved, That M. Bowman read the E. U. Mennonite Disciple and Geo. W. Wright the discipline of the Brethren in Christ.

Resolved, That the E. U. Mennonite discipline be taken as a standard for investigation.

Twelve articles examined compared, and adopted.

Adjourned to meet again at 1 o'clock. Closed by singing and prayer led by G. D. Waitman.



Afternoon Session



Opened by singing and prayer led by Peter Pike.

Resolved, That the chairman also have a right to speak in conference.

The brethren Z. Sando, S. Good, G. Meranda, S. Longanecker, and A. Peffly were admitted as advisory members.

The article of Faith and Doctrine (twenty-four in number) considered and adopted, after which General Rules were taken up. Chapter II, section V, and chapter III, section I were laid over for discussion.

Adjourned. Closed by singing and prayer led by Wm. Gehman.



Saturday Forenoon Session



Opened by singing and prayer led by Geo. W. Wright.

Resolved, That in chapter III, section I, the clause, "the mode be left to the choice of the candidate," be erased.

Bro. J. Swank was admitted as an advisory member.

Resolved, That the first verse in section V of chapter II be erased.

Adjourned. Closed by singing and prayer led by G. D. Waitman.



Afternoon Session



Opened by singing and prayer led by S. Lambert.

Resolved, That the word "previous," in Chapter III, section II be erased and in its stead the words "in connection" be substituted.

That the word "full" in the answer to 1st question in chapter V, section I be erased.

Adjourned. Closed by singing and prayer led by S. McDonald.



Evening Session



Opened by singing and prayer led by Daniel Walter.

Resolved, That we unite together as one body, adopting as a name of distinction Mennonite Brethren in Christ.



The Ratification

This is to certify that we the undersigned members of the E. U. Mennonite church of the United States and Canada and the Brethren in Christ of the United States, upon the authority and in the name of our respective general conferences, upon due consideration and prayerful investigation by mutual agreement have in the fear of God united together as one body adopting as a name of distinction, Mennonite Brethren in Christ.



Geo. W. Wright, G. D. Waitman,

Menno Bowman, Wm. Gehman

Dan'l. Brenneman, Peter Walter,

Moses Blackburn, Peter Pike,

Isaiah Smail, S. Lambert,

Sam'l McDonald, Solomon Eby,

Abel Strawn, John Rasor,



Resolved, That the first general conference be held in Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, commencing on the first Wednesday in October, 1885, as had been announced by the general conference of the E. U. Mennonites.

Resolved, That until the general conference western Pennsylvania and Ohio be annexed to the Indiana and Michigan Conference.

Resolved, That the annual conference for Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and western Pennsylvania, as well as other western states, be held at Georgetown, Miami county, Ohio, on the second Wednesday in March, 1884, (instead of North Union, Indiana, as had been announced by the last annual conference of the E. U. Mennonites).

Resolved, That we tend a hearty vote of thanks to the brethren, sisters and friends of Harrisburg, O., for their kind hospitality shown toward us as conference members.

Resolved, That the minutes of this conference be published in Gospel Banner.

Resolved, That we adjourn to meet again on the first Wednesday in October, 1885, in Lehigh county, Pennsylvania.



Daniel Brenneman,

Moses Blackburn, Secs.

1. These minutes are taken from The Gospel Banner, volume 7, number 2, January 1, 1884.