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6. Blanks for Narratives to Presbyteries.

The Special Committee on Blanks for Narratives (Minutes, 1884, pp. 78 and 121) presented a report which was amended and adopted. The blanks were ordered to be prepared by the stated clerk and issued by the Board of Publication. The report is as follows:

The Committee appointed by the last General Assembly to consider an overture from the Presbytery of Kittanning, and to propose to the present Assembly a suitable scheme for the guidance of the churches in preparing their Annual Narratives of the State of Religion, with a view to securing fullness, accuracy and substantial uniformity in these reports, beg leave to present for the consideration of the Assembly the form hereto annexed:


Inquiries for the Guidance of Church Sessions in preparing their Annual Narratives of the State of Religion.

[NOTE. It is not intended that the Narrative shall be restricted to bare and formal answers. It should be, however, very concise, consisting of statements of fact rather than reflections. Number the paragraphs to correspond with the subjoined topics.]


1. To what extent has your congregation been supplied with preaching during the year?

2. Has the attendance been stationary, growing or diminishing?

3. Is there any noticeable neglect of the public means of grace on the part of communicants?

4. What proportion of the children and youth of the congregation commonly attends?

5. How largely is the congregation made up of persons who are not professors of religion?


6. During how much of the year has the Sunday-school been open? If for less than the whole year, or if you have no Sunday-school, state

the reasons.

7. Are there many who ought to attend the Sunday-school, but do not? 8. What proportion of the scholars is from families not professedly religious?

9. Is the Shorter Catechism regularly taught?

10. Are the Westminster Lesson Helps used?

11. Have you a mission-school? If so, what encouragement is there in its work?


12. What weekly meetings for social worship are observed?

13. What proportion of the church membership usually attends? 14. Is a monthly service held for the considerations of missions and other church work?


15. Is there reason for believing that family worship is observed in your Christian households?

16. Are Christian parents conscientious and faithful in presenting their children for baptism?

17. Are these duties urged upon the people in public and private instruction?

18. Is there evidence that the religious life of the home is nourished by catechetical and other religious teaching, and by the use of a wholesome Christian literature?

19. Does a suitable reverence for the Lord's Day appear to be cultivated among the children?

20. Does the number of baptized persons admitted from time to time to the Lord's Table afford evidence that God's Covenant is generally honored?


21. Does the congregation contribute, according to an established plan, to all the Boards of the Church?

22. Is there a growth in the spirit of benevolence manifested in larger giving?

23. Does the Sunday-school give, statedly, to benevolent objects? 24. Is a proper provision made for the poor of the church?

25. What organizations are there in the congregation for women's work, and what objects do they include?

26. Is there encouragement in the interest taken in these organizations, and in the results which are reached?


27. Has there been any marked religious awakening among the unconverted? If so, state the number of conversions, and indicate any other encouraging results.

28. Are there any satisfactory marks of spiritual prosperity besides conversions?


29. Has the Session been diligent in the spiritual oversight of the Church?

30. If actual process of discipline has been resorted to, what has been the effect upon the subjects of it, and upon the church and congregation?


31. Are the financial obligations of the congregation met with promptness and cheerfulness?

32. What forms, if any, of worldliness or vice, have obstructed religious effort, and with what effect?

33. Is any work done by and within the bounds of the congregation in furtherance of the causes of temperance and Sabbath observance?

34. Are there any facts worthy of mention besides those already called for, or any methods or agencies employed, a knowledge of which may prove useful to the churches ?-1885, pp. 598-600. churches?-1885,



II. A PRESBYTERY consists of all the ministers, in number not less than five, and one ruling elder from each congregation, within a certain district.

[See Digest, pp. 134-138.]

10. Presbyteries previously Formed with less than Five Ministers will not be Dissolved.

a. Overture. From the Presbytery of Santa Fé, asking for an explanation of the meaning of chap. x., sec. ii., of the Form of Government as recently amended, and specially inquiring whether that section as amended contemplates the dissolution of Presbyteries previously organized with less than five ministers.

Your Committee respectfully recommend the adoption of the following Resolutions:

1. That the attention of the members of the Presbytery of Santa Fé be called to the exact language of the chapter and section referred to, which is: "A Presbytery consists of all the ministers, in number not less than five, and one ruling elder from each congregation, within a certain district."

2. This section, as it now reads, does not contemplate the dissolution of Presbyteries previously organized in remote and isolated regions with less than five ministers.


3. The attention of the members of the Presbytery of Santa Fé is called P. 143 of Moore's Digest, where it may be seen that the General Assembly is disposed to excuse remote and isolated Presbyteries from strict compliance with certain general rules, when it shall appear that every reasonable effort has been made to comply with said rules.

4. The Presbytery of Santa Fé are referred to their Synod for further direction as to the general contents of their overture. The report was adopted.-1877, p. 549.

b. A Presbytery continuing with Less than Five Ministers Dissolved. The Presbytery of New Orleans not having had, for several years, the constitutional number of ministers, was dissolved, and its ministers and churches were ordered to be attached to the Presbytery of Austin.-1880,

p. 83.

11. The Presbytery to Judge each case of those Living out of their Bounds.

a. Overture, being a request from the Presbytery of Cleveland-1. That this Assembly lay down some general rule for dealing with those members of Presbyteries who, not actively engaged in the pastoral work, neglect to report to their Presbyteries; and,

2. To lay down some uniform rule concerning those ministers who leave the bounds of their own Presbytery and neglect to remove their connection, though their residence is permanently fixed within the bounds of another Presbytery. The Committee recommend that each such case be decided by the Presbytery on its own merits.-Adopted 1878, p. 57.

b. Overture. From the Presbytery of Philadelphia, in reference to the case of Rev. James Smith.

As the Rev. James Smith, at the time of the reconstruction of our Synods and Presbyteries, resided in the territory covered by the Presbytery of Wisconsin River, he should have united with that Presbytery. Having failed to do so, and the Presbytery of Philadelphia having informed the Presbytery of Wisconsin River of his status at the time of the reconstruction, the latter Presbytery should communicate with him as to his duty, ascertain why he failed to report to them, and enroll him as one of their members.-1879, p. 612; anté, p. 137, 7.

12. Presbyteries and Synods in Foreign Missionary Fields.

The Committee, to whom was referred the report of the Special Committee on Missionary Presbyteries and Synods appointed by the last General Assembly, presented their report, recommending the adoption of the following rules in reference to the formation of Synods and Presbyteries in foreign missionary fields:

I. In regions occupied by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions only:

I. In such regions, Presbyteries, and eventually Synods, may be organized, at discretion, if not already organized; under whose care the native churches in the missions shall be placed.

2. Each Presbytery shall consist of all the ministers, foreign and native, not less than five in number, and a ruling elder from each church within its bounds.

3. Such Synod shall regularly send to the General Assembly certified copies of their minutes; and such Presbyteries, narratives of the state of religion and statistical reports.

II. In regions occupied by the Board and by the missions of other Presbyterian denominations:

1. În such regions, missionary churches, Presbyteries, and Synods, holding the same faith and order, should be encouraged to enter into organic relations with each other for joint work in the common field.

2. For purposes of representation, however, the ordained ministers, foreign and native, connected with the Board of Foreign Missions, if sufficient in number, shall, with an elder from each of their churches, be regarded as a distinct Presbytery, entitled to appoint Commissioners to the General Assembly.

3. In all organizations constituted on this plan it is understood that no allowance is to be given to any departure from the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian churches of Great Britain and America. The report was adopted.-1879, p. 620.

III. Every congregation which has a stated pastor has a right to be represented by one elder; and every collegiate church by two or more elders, in proportion to the number of its pastors.

Overture from a member of the Synod of Pittsburg, as follows:

a. Is a church having two pastors, one aged or infirm, the other associate or co-pastor, entitled to two elders in Presbytery and Synod? Or what is the meaning of a "collegiate church," in chap. x., sec. iii., of the Form of Government?

The Committee recommended this answer:

The general principle of our polity is that there shall be in our church

courts an equal number of ministers and ruling elders. But vacant churches are entitled to a representation. The term "collegiate church" is used in two senses-first, of a church with more than one pastor; second, of two or more churches united under the care of one pastor.

The report was adopted.-1868, p. 651, O. S.

b. The above Confirmed.

Overture from the Presbytery of Cleveland in regard to representation of collegiate churches. The Committee recommend that no action be taken, reference being made to the Digest, p. 138.-Adopted 1874, p. 83.

IV. Where two or more congregations are united under one pastor, all such congregations shall have but one elder to represent them.

4. Churches in Different Presbyteries, under One Pastor, are under the Care of the Presbytery to which the Pastor belongs while the Relation continues.


Overtures from the Presbyteries of Kittanning, Clarion and Blairsville: When two churches in different Presbyteries or Synods are so situated as to make it apparent to the Presbyteries, to which they belong, that they should be united in one pastoral charge, the pastoral relation may be constituted, and both churches shall, for the time being, be under the care of that Presbytery of which the pastor is a member; and this presbyterial relation shall continue only so long as they retain the same pastor." The Committee recommend the adoption of the overture.— Adopted 1874, p. 82; anté, p. 139, 3.

VII. Any three ministers, and as many elders as may be present belonging to the Presbytery, being met at the time and place appointed, shall be a quorum competent to proceed to business.

[See anté, Digest, pp. 139–143.]

4. d. Reception of a Member by Less than a Quorum Ratified as an Exceptional Case.

The Presbytery of Montana respectfully represent to the General Assembly, that at its late meeting, April 3, 1877, only two ministers and two elders were present to constitute the same. Before any business was transacted, Rev. John D. Hewitt was received by letter from the Presbytery of New Brunswick. After this action the regular presbyterial business was attended to. Whereas doubt exists whether such proceedings were regular according the rules of the Church, this Presbytery respectfully requests the Assembly to affirm this action and declare it valid.

The Committee recommend that, owing to the singularity of the case and the difficulty in the way of the members of the Presbytery coming together, the request be granted.-Adopted 1877, p. 529; anté, Digest, p. 143, 4, a, b, c.


VIII. The Presbytery has power to receive and issue appeals from church Sessions, and references brought before them in an orderly manner; to examine and license candidates for the holy ministry; to ordain, install, remove and judge ministers; to examine and approve

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