« AnteriorContinuar »
He look'd around, then rose ; and then again
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
With great pleasure do we present to our readers an abstract of the proceedings of the first convention of the diocese of Georgia, which was held in the city of Augusta from the 24th to the 28th of February last. After the usual forms of procedure at the opening of conventions, a committee was appointed to draft a constitution for the diocese, consisting of the three clergymen present, the Rev E. Matthews, A Carter, and H Smith, and three laymen, Edward F. Campbell, Esq., Dr. James B. Read, and Mr. Peter Guerrard. The following constitution, as reported by this comunittee, was considered by paragraphs, and unanimously adopted.
Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the state of Geor
gia,as it was unanimously adopted by a convention of the said Church, holden in the city of Augusta, on the 28th day of February, 1823. Provided, however, that nothing therein contained, shall be so construed, as to contravene any part of the constitution or canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the United States of America.
Art. 1. The several congregations of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this state, now represented in this convention, shall be considered as one church or diocese ; to be known and designated by the name of the “ Protestant Episcopal Church in the state of Georgia,' with a view to a union with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
Art. 2. Any congregation of said Church in this state, not now represented in this convention, by making application to the convention for admission, shall, on acceding to this constitution, be received into union with this Church or diocese.
Art. 3. A convention of this Church shall be held on the third Monday in April, 1824, and on the same day of each succeeding year, at such place as the previous convention may appoint: Provided, however, That no convention shall be opened for the transaction of business, unless there be present, at least, two clergymen, and delegates from two congregations. And in case no convention be formed, the standing officers of the last convention shall hold their respective offices until successors shall be appointed.
Art. 4. All clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church, of regular standing, residing and statedly officiating in this state, shall be considered (ex officio) members of the convention. Each congregation in union with this Church, shall be entitled to a representation by one lay delegate or more, at discretion, not exceeding three ; to be appointed by the church wardens and vestry of the congregation, to which such delegate or delegates may respectively belong
Art. 5. Every convention shall be opened with Divine service and a sermon, the preacher to be appointed by the previous convention.
Art. 6. The convention shall deliberate and act as one body, unless when any member shall call for a division on any question ; in wbich case, each clerical member shall be entitled to one vote, and the lay delegates of each congregation jointly, to one vote : and a majority of both orders shall be necessary to a division.
Art. 7. At every meeting of the convention, a president shall be choi sen from among the clergy, until a bishop be appointed for the diocese, who shall then be (ex officio) president of the convention.
Art. 8. At each annual meeting of the convention, a secretary and treasurer sball be chosen froin among the members thereof, each to hold his respective office, until the next annual convention.
Art. 9. A standing committee shall be chosen at each annual meeting of the convention, to consist of three clerical and three lay members, of the time and place of whose meetings, due notice, in writing, shall be given to all the members thereof, at least four weeks before the time of such meeting. At a meeting thus notified, any four members (provided one be a clergyman) shall form a quorum.
The standing committee shall meet as soon as practicable after their election, and choose a president and secretary from among their own number; and it shall be the duty of the president to call a meeting of the committee whenever he shall deem it necessary, or whenever he shall be required so to do by any three or more members of the committee.
The standing committee shall have power to call special conventions of this Church, whenever peculiar circumstances may render it necessary : Provided, at least four weeks notice of the time and place of holding such convention, shall be given in writing to all the clergymen, and all the congregations connected with this Church.
The general powers and duties of the committee shall be such as are designated by the general constitution of the Church.
Art. 10. The convention shall in all cases elect its officers by bal. lot, each clergyman to be entitled to one vote, and each congregation to one vote, to be expressed by its delegation.
Art. 11. After the close of this convention, no alteration of this constitution shall be made, but at an annual meeting of the convention ; and then, only with the concurrence of at least two thirds of the members present.
According to the provisions of the 7th and 8th articles, the Rev. A. Carter was unanimously elected president, Doct. I. B. Read, treasurer, and Doct. Thomas I. Wray, secretary. The convention
29 GOSPEL ADVOCATE, VOL. III.
then proceeded to pass 4 canons ; The Ist prescribes the manner of organizing congregations by the election of 2 wardens and any number of vestrymen at discretion, and by officially informing the bishop, or, when there is no bishop, the standing committee, that they are thus organized. The 2d makes it the duty of the president of the standing committee, in case he shall call a special convention, to specify in his notice, the business for which such convention is called; the 3d provides that an accurate parochial register be kept by every clergy. man, of which a written account is to be rendered at every annual convention ; and the 4th requires each church, duly represented in the conven'ion, to pay 15 dollars annually for defraying the incidental expenses of the convention.
The following gentlemen were elected members of the standing committee, viz:--Rev. E. Matthews, Rev. A. Carter, Rev. H Smith, of the clergy; E. F. Campbell, Esq., Jacob Wood, Doct. I B. Read, of the laity.
A resolution was passed acceding to the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, and requesting the delegation froin the diocese to give official notice of the same at the approaching meeting of the general convention. The Right Rev. Doct. Bowen, bishop of South Carolina, was invited to perform Episcopal offices in Georgia under the regulations prescribed by the 20th canon of the general convention. And a society for the advance. ment of Christianity in that state was instituted and placed under the control of the diocesan convention. A committee was appointed to draw up a suitable address to the members of the Church in Georgia. The address so prepared was unanimously adopted and ordered to be printed with the journals. We think it an interesting paper; and as it is, in the main, applicable to every part of our country, and espe. cially to those in which the Church is still in its infancy, we have no doubt that our readers will peruse it with profit as well as pleasure. We therefore give it entire.
The first convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church for the
state of Georgia, to all the scattered members of that Church,
throughout the state of Georgia. · The present, brethren, is an interesting era, in the local history of our venerabie Church. It marks the dawn of a brighter day upon her prospects. She now appears as a “city that is at unity in itself.” Her spiritual building is now “ fitly frained together, that it may grow unto an holy temple in the Lord." Duly and harmoniously organized, she is now about to exchange the feebleness of individual, separate action, for the strength of united, concentrated effort. She is about to take a name, and a station, among her sister churches in our country, and to form a component part of that glorious body, of which Christ Jesus, our ascended Lord, is the glorified Head.
Deeply indeed are we indebted to this divine Head of the cburch, for bis fostering care over ber infant state,- for having preserved in her members, when as yet “they were few in number, yea, very few, and they strangers in the land;" their attachment to her pure and primitive principles, and their zeal for her interests ; for having put
it into their hearts to associate for the celebration of her services, and the reception of ber ordinances--and, finally, for having now united by one tie of Christian fellowship, these separate associations into one body, animated by one spirit, having “ one faith, one Lord, one baptism."
These, indeed, are causes of the most lively gratitude, and we trust that you will cordially unite with us, in the thankful acknowledge. ment, that the hand of the Lord has been over us for good. Yes, breihren, “hitherto hath the Lord helped us," and while we gratefully acknowledge his aid, while we rejoice in the animating prospects wbich it opens to our view, let us remember, that it is both our duty and our privilege, to be “ fellow-workers with God” in the establishment and extension of his church; and that on the zealous, indefatigable discharge of this duty, in a great measure, depends the actual acquisition of those important advantages, whicb are now apparently within our reach. It is the good pleasure of God to work by means ; to accomplish the purposes of his providence by human instrumentality. If, then, we would attain the end, we must use the means. “It is good always to be zealously affected in a good cause ;” and what cause can more imperiously demand our warmest zeal, than the welfare of the Redeemer's church, which was “ purchased by his blood ?" Brethren, to you we look. In the name of our common faith, our common hopes, and, above all, of our common Lord, we ask your prayers and your co-operation. “Pray ye the Lord of the vineyard, that he would crown their labours with an abundant harvest.” In dependence on that aid which he has promised to the prayer of faith, diligently use your own exertions for the establishment of that Church, which, in your infancy, received you into her bosom, or, in maturer years, admitted you to her altar. She has a claim on your affections and on your aid. She is the church of your fathers; in her faith they were baptized, and lived, and died ; in her words they presented their petitions before God ; at her altar they knelt, and her solemn services consecrated their commitment to the grave.
It is not, however, on the feelings of nature, the tender recollections of filial piety, that we would rest her claims. In herself she is worthy of your affection and support. Her ministry is apostolick; her constitution is primitive ; her services are fervent and animated, yet chastened and reverential; her doctrines are the doctrines of the bible, the doctrines of the cross ; her only object is the promotion of "pure and undefiled religion.” Such, brethren, is the Church in whose establishment we ask your aid.
Brethren : you act, not only for yourselves, but also for those who will succeed you. In laying the foundation, and rising the goodly fa. brick of our Zion, you will be engaged in a work for which posterity will bless your memory. When you shall be laid low in the grave, your children and your children's children will think on you with gratitude. They will reap fruits of righteousness, and joy, and peace, froin that very seed which you will cast into the ground, and on which you will invoke the blessing of the Most High.
We are aware, brethren, that there are difficulties to be encountered. Your number is small, and the individuals composing that number, are, perhaps, scattered. But be not disheartened. These obstacles are not insurmountable. Despondence itself must become sanguine, when it inspects the record of our past proceedings. Incredulity itself inust believe, that he who “hath thus begun among us a good work, will perform it" unto the end.
However small, then, be your number in each vicinity, let that small number be embodied. The master whom you serve, declared, that “wheresoever even two or three should be gathered together in his name, there would be be in the midst of them.” Make the experiment. Fear not, even though you be "a little flock.” The " great Shepherd of the sheep,” who “ laid down his life” for their sakes, can augment your number, and cause you “ to go in and out and find pasture." Under the strong convictions of duty, and in your master's nanie, set up the standard of the Church. It will be hailed with joy, by many an eye now dim with age, that once gazed upon it with youthful rapture; and it will, perhaps, allure to the great “ Captain of your salvation,” many who are now engaged in the ser. vice of “the world, the flesh, and the devil." · Brethren: we invite and entreat your free and full communications on all points connected with the situation, the wants, and ihe prospects of the Church, in your respective vicinities. A knowledge of the actual state and necessities of the Church, is indispensable, in order to the amelioration of the one, and the relief of the other. Any counsel or aid, in the furtherance of your exertions, which the providence of God may place in our power, shall be cheerfully accorded..
At a crisis like the present, brethren, when the Church of our fathers, in this state, is for the first time, concentrating her energies, and assuming an organized form, it will not, we trust, be regarded as an indication of sectarian narrowness, but as a suggestion of prudence and of duty, when we remind you of the exclusive claims which your own Zion (especially under existing circumstances) has upon your liberality. Her wants are now various and pressing. Her very existence depends on your willing contributions. All the surplus of your means would not be more than adequate to the supply of her necessitjes. To the supply of these, and these only, let that surplus now be devoted. We wish you not wholly to confine your charities, either temporal or spiritual, within the pale of your own communion, but there, at the least, let them begin. 'Turn not the stream of your bepevolence into many and various channels, until it has first fully watered and refreshed your own enclosure; then, when this is accomplished, let it also extend its refreshing influence to others. It is doubtless our duty, “ as we have opportunity, to do good unto all men,” but it is especially our duty to do good to those who are of the same 'n household of faith." The apostle has stigmatized as," a denier of The faith, as worse than an infidel,” the man who w provides not for those of bis own household, and the remark is not more justly applicable to the natural, than it is to the spiritual family. To the sup