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DECISIONS AND DELIVERANCES OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF 1886.
FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
(Anté, pp. 113, 114, and pp. 476-478, and Form of Government, Chap. XV., sec. viii., and Chap. XVI., sec. iii.)
6. Installation of Pastors Elect Insisted on, and none to be Designated as P. E. whose Call has not been Regularly Acted on. The Committee of Bills and Overtures reported the following resolution:
Whereas, It is commonly reported that in several of our Presbyteries the custom prevails, first, of permitting ministers who have received calls from churches to serve such churches through a series of years without installation; and, secondly, of placing the names of such ministers in the statistical tables as pastors elect (P. E.);
And whereas, Such customs are manifestly inconsistent with the express requirements or implications of Form of Government, Chap. XV. viii., and XVI. iii.; therefore,
Resolved, That all our Presbyteries be enjoined:
1. To take order that as soon as possible after a licentiate or ordained minister has been called by a church and the call been approved and accepted such person be installed as pastor of the church calling him.
2. To place the names of none in the statistical tables as pastors elect (P. E.) whose calls have not been regularly approved by the Presbytery having charge of the church issuing the call, and who have not signified their acceptance thereof and readiness for installation. Adopted 1886, p. 56.
7. Deliverances of Past Assemblies on Stated Supplies Reaffirmed.
As intimately connected with the foregoing, the Committee recommend the adoption of the following: Resolved, That the careful attention of Presbyteries be directed to the deliverances of past Assemblies on the subject of stated supplies, as they are set forth in Chap. IV. of Moore's Digest
(pp. 112, 113), and also in the Supplement of said Digest, pp. 476-478, all which deliverances are hereby reaffirmed by this Assembly.
Adopted 1886, p. 56.
CHAPTER X., SECTION XII.
(Anté, p. 180.)
3. An Elder cannot Sit as a Corresponding Member.
No. 6, being an overture from the Presbytery of Milwaukee, for an answer to the following question: "In a meeting of Presbytery, is there constitutional objection to inviting a Ruling Elder present, as the retiring moderator, but not a delegate, to sit as a corresponding member? It is recommended that this answer be returned: "He cannot be invited to sit as a corresponding member in the Presbytery, because he is from no body in correspondence with it, and because he is eligible to the Presbytery as one of its constituency, and has not been delegated by his Session." Adopted 1886, p. 48.
4. A Unitarian Minister may not be Invited to Sit.
Exception to Records of the Synod of the Columbia. We find on page 17 this record: That "The Rev. T. L. Elliott, of the Unitarian church of Portland, being present, was invited to the privileges of the floor."
To this action of the Synod the Assembly excepts.-1886, p. 110.
CHAPTER XII., SECTION VI.
(Anté, pp. 325-330.)
6. Committee to Revise the Phraseology of Overtures.
Resolved, That one of the Standing Orders of the General Assembly shall be that the stated clerk and the permanent clerk shall be a committee to revise the phraseologies of all papers sent down to the Presbyteries to be voted upon; provided, that in no case shall this committee so change the phraseology as to alter the meaning.-1886, p. 94.
CHAPTER XIII., SECTION II.
(Anté, pp. 337-345, and pp. 544, 545.)
20. The Pastor is Moderator ex-officio of a Meeting to Elect Elders and Deacons.
Overture.-Being a request from the Synod of New York for an answer to the following question: "Is the pastor of a church by virtue of his office the moderator of a meeting of the communicants of his church called to elect ruling elders and deacons? and will the answer to this question also apply to regularly appointed moderators of Sessions who are not pastors?" It is recommended that these questions be answered in the affirmative.
Adopted 1886, p. 26.
CHAPTER XIII., SECTION VIII.
(Anté, pp. 546-548.)
9. Term of Service of Deacons Authorized.
Overtures 4, 5, 6, are requests from the Presbyteries of Washington City, Cleveland and Denver asking for term service for deacons. We recommend that this be granted, and, as instructed by the Assembly, in such form as to authorize each church to make either, neither or both these offices rotary. We therefore submit this form of overture to be sent down to the Presbyteries: "Shall Chapter XIII., Section viii., be amended by inserting after the words 'ruling elders,' where it first occurs, the words or deacons,' and inserting in the first Proviso' after the word 'Session' the words or the Board of Deacons,' so that the first two sections shall read: If any particular church, by a vote of members in full communion, shall prefer to elect ruling elders or deacons for a limited time in the exercise of their functions, this may be done, provided the full time be not less than three years, and the Session or the board of deacons be made to consist of three classes, one of which only shall be elected each year?"
Adopted 1885, p. 689.
10. Constitutional Amendment Adopted.
[The Committee to canvass the votes of the Presbyteries on the proposed amendment to Chapter XIII., Section viii., Form of Government, reported that it has been adopted by the majority of the Presbyteries. The moderator formally declared Chapter XIII, Section viii., as amended, to be a part of the Form of Government-viz. :]
"SECTION VIII. If any particular church, by a vote of members in full communion, shall prefer to elect ruling elders or deacons for a limited time in the exercise of their functions, this may be done; provided the full time be not less than three years and the Session or the board of deacons be made to consist of three classes, one of which only shall be elected each year; and provided that elders, once ordained, shall not be divested of the office when they are not reelected, but shall be entitled to represent that particular church in the higher judicatories when appointed by the Session or the Presbytery." -1886, p. 108.
CHAPTER XV., SECTION IV.
(Anté, pp. 404, 405, and 551, 552.)
d. Members of the Congregation who Contribute to the Support of the Church entitled to Vote in the Election of a Pastor.
A request from the Presbytery of New Castle for an answer to the following question: "Have members of a congregation, not communicants, who regularly contribute their due proportion of the necessary expenses of the church and congregation, a right to vote in the election of a pastor?" The Committee recommend that the question be answered in the affirmative, in accordance with previous deliverances-with this
special appended statement, that the usage of some congregations which confines the right of voting for pastor to communicants is wholly legitimate, and might profitably become more prevalent.
Adopted 1886, p. 48.
CHAPTER XVIII., ARTICLE XI.
THE PERMANENT COMMITTEE ON TEMPERANCE.
c. The Committee Reorganized.
Resolved, That the Permanent Committee be reorganized as follows: That its headquarters shall be in Pittsburg, Pa.; that it be composed of the following ministers and elders: Rev. Elliott Swift, D. D., chairman; Rev. William O. Campbell, D. D., Rev. William J. Holland, Rev. I. N. Hays, D. D., Rev. J. P. E. Kumler, D. D., Rev. N. B. C. Comingo, C. L. Rose, O. L. Miller, M. D., J. H. Baldwin, Thomas H. Rabe, Robert S. Totten, William B. Negley; and the committee shall determine by lot the several terms of their service, and report the result to the stated clerk for insertion in the minutes of the Assembly.
Adopted 1886, p. 96, and Appendix, pp. 233-236.
(Anté, pp. 131 and 463–468.)
8. The Right of Alternates to Sit is at the Discretion of the Judicatory.
The Committee upon the Records of the Synod of Colorado would report their approval, with one exception, to wit:
On page 254 the Synod excepted to the action of the Presbytery of Boulder in admitting to a seat in an adjourned meeting an alternate in place of a principal who had sat in a previous regular meeting.
The Committee had also referred to it the Report of the Judiciary Committee upon the matters involved in the complaint of Rev. J. L. Reid against the action of the Synod of Colorado in excepting to the action of the Presbytery of Boulder in admitting to a seat at an adjourned meeting an alternate in place of a principal who had sat in a previous regular meeting. The Committee would report:
1. That, in their opinion, the very object of electing an alternate is to ensure, if possible, the actual representation of each constituency in its proper judicatory.
2. That, as the General Assembly has in several instances admitted to seats in its own body, during the progress of its annual meeting (see Digest, p. 468), an alternate in place of a principal who wished to be absent during the residue of the meeting, it is expedient that this subject, so far as there is no positive law, be left to the judgment of the several Presbyteries, as circumstances may require.
Adopted 1886, p. 110.