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pose Immediately after public worship, so that at least two Sabbaths shall intervene betwixt the citation and the meeting of the Presbytery at which the cause of translation is to be considered. The Presbytery being met, and having heard the parties, shall upon the whole view of the case either continue him in his former charge or translate him, as they shall deem to be most for the peace and edification of the Church, or refer the whole affair to the Synod at their next meeting for their advice and direction.
1. Consent of the Parties may Shorten the Process.
[In the Constitution, as originally adopted, citation of the parties was required in all cases. By the Assembly of 1804, p. 305, it was proposed to strike out "together with a written citation," and insert "if the parties be not prepared to have the matter issued at that Presbytery, a written citation shall be given to the minister."
The amendment was adopted.-1805, p. 333. In a note accompanying the overture the Assembly say, "This amendment is intended to provide that consent of parties shall shorten the constitutional process for translating a minister."-1804, p. 305.]
Overture No. 11, from the Synod of New Jersey, proposing the following query: "Is it the intent of chapter xvii., Form of Government, that a minister desiring to resign his pastoral charge shall in all cases first make his request known to the Presbytery?"
The Committee recommend that it be answered in the negative, for the reason that chapter xvi., section ii., provides that where the parties are prepared for the dissolution of a pastoral relation it may be dissolved at the first meeting of Presbytery.
The report was adopted.—1866, p. 47, O. S.
III. When the congregation calling any settled minister is within the limits of another Presbytery, that congregation shall obtain leave from the Presbytery to which they belong, to apply to the Presbytery of which he is a member; and that Presbytery, having cited him and his congregation as before directed, shall proceed to hear and issue the cause. If they agree to the translation, they shall release him from his present charge; and having given him proper testimonials shall require him to repair to that Presbytery within the bounds of which the congregation calling him lies, that the proper steps may be taken for his regular settlement in that congregation; and the Presbytery to which the congregation belongs, having received an authenticated certificate of his release under the hand of the clerk of that Presbytery, shall proceed to install him in the congregation as soon as convenient, provided always that no bishop or pastor shall be translated without his own consent previously obtained.
1. Pastor and Church must Belong to the same Presbytery. Overture No. 19. From a member of the Presbytery of Lexington, asking whether a minister who is a member of one Presbytery can be in
stalled as pastor over a church in another Presbytery; and if so, what are the proceedings proper in the case. The Committee recommend the Assembly to answer that he should not be installed in such a case. Adopted. -1854, p. 46, O. S.
See under chap. x., viii.
IV. When any minister is to be settled in a congregation, the installment, which consists in constituting a pastoral relation between him and the people of that particular church, may be performed either by the Presbytery or by a Committee appointed for that purpose, as may appear most expedient; and the following order shall be observed therein :
V. A day shall be appointed for the installment, at such time as may appear most convenient, and due notice thereof given to the congregation.
VI. When the Presbytery or Committee shall be convened and constituted, on the day appointed, a sermon shall be delivered by some one of the members previously appointed thereto; immediately after which the bishop who is to preside shall state to the congregation the design of their meeting, and briefly recite the proceedings of the Presbytery relative thereto. And then addressing himself to the minister to be installed, shall propose to him the following or similar questions: 1. Are you now willing to take the charge of this congregation, as their pastor, agreeably to your declaration at accepting their call?
2. Do you conscientiously believe and declare, as far as you know your own heart, that in taking upon you this charge, you are influenced by a sincere desire to promote the glory of God, and the good of the church?
3. Do you solemnly promise that, by the assistance of the grace of God, you will endeavor faithfully to discharge all the duties of a pastor to this congregation; and will be careful to maintain a deportment in all respects becoming a minister of the gospel of Christ, agreeably to your ordination engagements?
To all these having received satisfactory answers, he shall propose to the people the same or like questions as those directed under the head of ordination; which, having been also satisfactorily answered by holding up the right hand in testimony of assent, he shall solemuly pronounce and declare the said minister to be regularly constituted the pastor of that congregation. A charge shall then be given to both. parties, as directed in the case of ordination; and after prayer, and singing a psalm adapted to the transaction, the congregation shall be dismissed with the usual benediction.
VII. It is highly becoming that, after the solemnity of the installment, the heads of families of that congregation who are present, or
at least the elders and those appointed to take care of the temporal concerus of that church, should come forward to their pastor and give him their right hand in token of cordial reception and affectionate regard.
1. A Pastoral Relation without Installment Recognized.
It appears evident to this Synod that Mr. Tennent having in all respects acted, and been esteemed, and looked upon, not only by this Synod, but also by the congregation, of Neshaminy, and particularly by the appellants themselves, as the minister and pastor of the people of Neshaminy, that he is still to be esteemed as the pastor of that people, notwithstanding the want of a formal installment among them; which omission, though the Synod doth not justify, yet it is far from nullifying the pastoral relation between Mr. Tennent and said people.-1736, p. 127.
OF RESIGNING A PASTORAL CHARGE.
WHEN any minister shall labor under such grievances in his congregation as that he shall desire leave to resign his pastoral charge, the Presbytery shall cite the congregation to appear by their commissioner at their next meeting to show cause, if any they have, why the Presbytery should not accept the resignation. If the congregation fail to appear, or if their reasons for retaining their pastor be deemed by the Presbytery insufficient, he shall have leave granted to resign his pastoral charge, of which due record shall be made; and that church shall be held to be vacant till supplied again in an orderly manner with another minister; and if any congregation shall desire to be released from their pastor, a similar process, mutatis mutandis, shall be observed.
1. Whether the Relation shall be Dissolved at the Meeting where the Request is made left to the Discretion of the Presbytery. The Committee on overture No. 9, viz.: Advice asked respecting the following question of order by the Presbytery of Otsego, "Is it contrary to chapter xvii., of the Form of Government, for a Presbytery to dissolve the connection between a minister and his congregation at the time when he presents his request for his dissolution, and the congregation joins issue by commissioners duly appointed for that purpose?" made the following report, which was adopted, viz.:
Resolved, That it is not expedient for this Assembly to give a decided answer to the question, but to leave every Presbytery to act according to their own discretion in the premises.-1832, p. 373.
2. The Rule should be Rigidly Observed.
Also overture No. 24. A communication from the Rev. James Latta and others in relation to the hasty and irregular dissolution of the pastoral relation.
The Committee recommend the adoption of the following:
Resolved, That article xvii. of our Form of Government, in spirit and letter, should be rigidly regarded by all pastors and churches, and enforced by our Presbyteries.-1862, p. 622, O. S.
3. If the Parties are Agreed, the Relation may be Dissolved at the first Meeting.
Overture from the Synod of New Jersey, proposing the following query: "Is it the intent of chapter xvii., of the Form of Government, that a minister desiring to resign his pastoral charge shall in all cases first make his request known to the Presbytery?"
The Committee recommend that it be answered in the negative, for the reason that chap. xvi., sec. ii., provides that where the parties are prepared for the dissolution of a pastoral relation it may be dissolved at the first meeting of Presbytery. Adopted.—1866, p. 47, O. S.
4. A Meeting of the Congregation without the Presence and Cooperation of the Pastor Valid, he having Requested the Dissolution.
Case No. 4, the complaint of the Rev. W. P. Carson against Synod of Iowa, for dismissing his complaint against the Presbytery of Dubuque. The Presbytery, upon application both of the pastor and the congregation, dissolved the pastoral relation, and Mr. Carson complained to Synod, on the ground that the session and trustees united in calling the meeting of the congregation, without the presence or co-operation of the pastor, at which action was taken asking for the dissolution of the pastoral relation. The Committee recommend that the complaint be dismissed, there being no sufficient ground of complaint.
The report was adopted.-1868, p. 612, O. S.
5, Where a Synod on Appeal Dissolves the Pastoral Relation on the Petition of a Minority, it is Sustained.
The Rev. George S. Mott, chairman, presented the report of the commission on Judicial Case No. 2, which was adopted, and is as follows:
The commission appointed by the Assembly to issue Judicial Case No. 2 makes the following report:
This case originated in a petition presented to the Presbytery of Ohio, December 27, 1866, asking the dissolution of the pastoral relation existing between the Rev. William Hunter and the church of Hopewell. The reasons of this petition were based upon troubles in the congregation which arose out of a state of things upon which Presbytery and Synod had already acted. This petition was signed by a minority. A counter petition was presented from a large majority of the congregation, begging the continuance of the pastoral relation. Presbytery refused by a small majority to dissolve the relation. The case was then taken by a complaint of the minority of the congregation to the Synod of Pittsburg. Synod sustained the complaint by a vote of 50 yeas to 11 nays, and by a unanimous vote directed the Presbytery of Ohio to dissolve the pastoral relation. From this action of Synod an appeal is made to the Assembly by Joseph Connell, of the church of Hopewell, for the folle wing reasons:
1. Because the pastoral relation between the Rev. William Hunter and the congregation is ordered to be dissolved on the petition of less than onefourth of the members of the congregation, greatly against the will of the congregation and to our injury, and in contravention of our Christian and constitutional rights.
2. Because the petitioners were not only a small minority, but because some of them were not members of the congregation; and those who were members had lost their status, they having for more than a year neither communed in the church nor contributed their just proportion of the expenses of the congregation.
3. Because the decision of Synod is highly injurious to the pastor as well as to the congregation, and hurtful also to the cause of truth, righteousness and equity, as taught in the holy Scriptures and assured to congregations and pastors by our Church standards.
All the papers and records relating to the case were read before the commission, and all the parties desiring a hearing were heard.
It appeared that the principal cause, if not the origin, of these difficulties, was the use of harsh and intemperate language on the part of Mr. Hunter toward some of his parishioners. This led to charges and a trial before the Presbytery, the result of which was an admonition to Mr. Hunter to "restrain his temper and cultivate a meek and quiet spirit." In connection with this trial the request of petitioners for the removal of Mr. Hunter was granted and the pastoral relation dissolved. From this act of dissolution Mr. Hunter appealed to Synod, who sustained his appeal on account of deficiency in the records.
A new application for the dissolution of the pastoral relation was then made to Presbytery by the discontented minority, based upon the existing troubles, which was refused, as already stated, by a small majority of Presbytery, but granted by a unanimous vote of Synod.
The facts and statements of the parties satisfied your commission that, while a majority of the congregation clung to Mr. Hunter, he had taken such a course as to alienate a part of the people and seriously to impair his usefulness in that congregation. The matter has been for two years before Presbytery, and they have sought to secure a reconciliation by sending Committees to confer with the people, but to no purpose. And the case has become so complicated in Presbytery as to divide that body about equally. When Synod came to decide upon the merits of the case, their judgment was unanimous against the continuance of the pastoral relation.
Your commission had this case several days before them, and bestowed upon it careful consideration, and have unanimously determined to report to the Assembly that the sense of this commission is that the interests of the church of Hopewell require the dissolution of the pastoral relation, and that they agree with the decision of Synod, and they recommend the following minute:
This Assembly recognizes the right of each congregation to decide whether a pastor is acceptable to them, and the wishes of a majority are to be set aside only for weighty reasons; yet such a state of things may exist between the pastor and a portion of his people as shall require, for the fair name of religion, that the relation be dissolved; and for this reason the appeal and complaint of Joseph Connell against the Synod of Pittsburg is not sustained.-1868, pp. 648, 649, O. S.