« PreviousContinue »
mittee shall make no exhibit, and this appointment shall become null and void.
" 2. That the provisional committee incurs no financial responsibility for this undertaking.”
Rev. Mr. Gunsaulus declined to serve, and Rev. F. A. Noble was added to the committee, and the undersigned was authorized by the secretary of the provisional committee to act as convener.
The committee was called together in July, in Chicago, and Rev. J. G. Johnson was chosen chairman. It was deemed advisable that no further action be taken until after the meeting of the National Council.
It will be seen at once that the proviso in regard to the Sunday opening of the Exposition effectually ties the hands of the committee. It is impossible for them to know that the Fair will not be open on the Lord's day. If the efforts to secure the repeal of the act of Congress closing the gates, now being vigorously made in many quarters, are successful, work must be suddenly suspended, and every obligation incurred must be either violated or personally assumed by the members of the committee whose office would vanish. Patient and prolonged labor is involved in making the needed collections and no small expense.
The opportunity to make a proper display of what Congregationalism is and of what it has done should not be lost. The adaptation of our polity to new and heterogeneous communities should be made to appear.
Facts as to the beginning and growth of the denomination should be presented, so far as possible, by means of charts and maps.
The extent to which public men and national institutions are descended from those early settlers, who were apostles of Congregationalism, as well as of civil and religious liberty, should be clearly presented. The debt which education and literature owe to our churches should be made plain. The fact recognized by Jefferson and others of his time, that the form of our government springs from the New England church and town meeting, should in some way be set forth. Portraits and autographs and memorials of men and places and events would be of exceeding interest.
Space has been applied for in which to make this exhibit., No answer has yet been given to this application. A member of the commission said within a few days that it was not certain that space could be granted, that every department of the Exposition
was now overcro
crowded, and that the making of these church exhibits depended on the erection of a new building for the liberal arts.
The following churches and societies have made application for space : Congregational, Presbyterian, Unitarian denominations, United Brethren, Seventh Day Baptist, New Jerusalem Church ; Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran, Y. M. C. A. of America, Y. P. S.C. Endeavor, Baptist Young People's Union, American Bible Society, and Tower Bible and Tract Society. Whether
committee can go forward to complete its work depends upon three things : securing the needed space at the Exposition ; finding the persons who can give the time and thought to the subject; ability to begin at once on the necessary labor without waiting for future decisions in regard to Sunday closing.
JAS. GIBSON JOHNSON,
For the Committee.
REPORT OF FINANCE COMMITTEE.4 It seems to your committee that somebody should be authorized to abate such portion of past unpaid dues as should be deemed wise in view of all the facts, in the case, and especially when the representatives of the State body believe that if they could start square they could meet future calls upon them. Without further enlarging upon this matter we would recommend the passage of the following vote :
Voted, That the treasurer, with the approval of the provisional committee, be authorized to abate the whole or any part of the unpaid dues accruing in 1891, and prior thereto, as may seem to him advisable.
Your committee further recommend that the assessment for the ensuing three years be fixed upon the same basis as in the past term; namely, at 1} cents per capita per annum of the membership of the churches.
We find that balance of cash in the treasury amounts to but $220.19, wbile the expenses of this Council with the publication of the MINUTES will make a large immediate demand upon it. would therefore urge upon our State bodies the importance of making prompt payment of past dues, and also, at the earliest practical moment, of the amount assessed for the current year.
GALEN C. MOSES. E. J. GOODRICH.
A. LYMAN WILLISTON.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON A MANUAL OF
CONGREGATIONAL USAGE FOR THE FOREIGN
MISSIONARY FIELD, TO THE NATIONAL COUNCIL.1 Honored Brethren, - Your committee begs leave to report as follows:
Receiving no instructions from the Council as to what the proposed manual should embrace, and having slight information as to the facts out of which arose the appointment of the committee, we promptly issued a letter of inquiry, addressed particularly to the honored members of our committee at work in the foreign field, desiring to learn from them what the actual need is and what in their judgment should be the form and scope of the manual. gather from their replies the following facts :
In Turkey our leading churches have already had a long and honorable existence, during which they have met froin time to time the various important questions that arise in the organization and management of Christian churches ; and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, by the study of the Scriptures and such aid as they have received from the missionaries, they have successfully wrought out a scheme of organization and polity adapted to the exigencies of their situation, varying indeed in some minor details among their several territorial associations, and differing somewhat from the methods which are in general use at home. But as this is the product of their own experience, and proves itself fitted to their circumstances, they naturally value it highly. So far as we are informed, it presents nothing incongruous with our home polity, and nothing that we feel at all assured that we could improve. Furthermore, it is intimated to us that the brethren in these churches would not be apt to receive kindly any intimation of a plan on our part to supersede their work or to offer unsolicited criticism upon it. Churches which may hereafter be formed in Turkey will naturally be formed by the help of the existing ecclesiastical bodies, and on lines already approved by the native Christians.
In China there seems to be a twofold need of a book of instruc. tion as to methods of procedure in deliberative assemblies extend. ing to some explicit details of ordinary ecclesiastical action, and also of a book of liturgical forms, and forms for special services
like marriage and baptism. But we are also informed that a book containing the suggested liturgical forms is already in print on this field, and that what is further wanted appears to be a book prepared for the use of the churches in America, from which the brethren in China would be free to select such parts as upon examination they might find to be valuable to them.
In Japan there is apparently “great need of a manual.” It should embrace in full and definite form nearly everything that the churches should know, from a discussion of historic principles to blank forms for ordinary and uniform use. But the recent very prolonged and earnest discussions in the Japanese churches upon methods of church organization and polity, coupled with the wide intelligence of our brethren there and their eager and laudable desire to work out and settle these and similar questions for themselves, lead us to think that offering to them, in the name of the National Council, a manual of instruction having an unavoidable air of authority would not be the best way to aid them in the proper solution of the problem before them.
What we have learned from the three great mission fields represented on our committee describes, we believe, with sufficient accuracy, the situation in all the older missions. The smaller or more isolated fields, like Micronesia and Central Africa, do not seem to create a distinct need as they are under the longer and more careful tutelage of thoroughly instructed missionaries.
Therefore we respectfully submit that we have not been able to learn that such a manual as was proposed by the resolution constituting our committee is needed, or to determine within what lines it was possible to execute the trust committed to us.
In the course of our inquiries, various suggestions have come to us as to the desirability of a brief and comprehensive manual recommended by the National Council for the use of the churches at home, but as this lies quite outside the province of your present committee, we must content ourselves with reporting to your honorable body the suggestion.
HENRY A. STIMSON,
ON FORM OF ADMISSION TO THE CHURCH.1
Your committee appointed to prepare a form for public reception to the church beg leave to report :
That they have given proper diligence to the discharge of the service committed to them; that since the month following their appointment they have been more or less occupied with the same; that in response to a notice published in the denominational papers, they have been the recipients of a great amount of suggestion and of evidence as to forms in general use for which they express their thanks to pastors and laymen in all parts of the country; that repeated drafts of a possible form have passed between the members; that a meeting has been held, at which six out of the seven members of the committee were present.
It was early apparent that the committee was thoroughly representative both of the usages and determinations of the churches ; and extended conference has made it more evident that their differences of view are not individual preferences simply, but characteristic variations among the churches.
These variations have been found to be in regard to the following matters :
1. As to whether the confession of Christ in baptism and the union with a local church are to be conceived as component parts of one and the same act, or as two distinct and separable acts, and to be so treated in a form ;
2. As to the use in a form of the so-called Apostles' Creed or other general liturgical confession, or doctrinal compend, whether general or that of a local church;
3. Whether there is a difference, requiring to be emphasized in a form, between the baptized children of the church and others;
4. Whether the covenant with the local church should be general and indefinite, or minute and specific;
5. In general, whether the form should be conceived as a fraction of a service which itself occurs at the close of a lengthy diet of worship or preaching, and therefore to be disposed of as speedily as may consist with reverence and decency, or as a prominent part of a service which has the right of way and all the time that it may need;
| Page 43.