The Electoral Colleges Called – Presiding Elders’ Convention to Meet in Boston
Christian Recorder: September 25, 1890
The Electoral Colleges of the First Episcopal District for the purpose of electing lay delegates to attend the General Conference of the A. M. E. Church, May 1892, is hereby called to meet as follows:
For the Philadelphia conference district, Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Nov. 12th, 1890.
For the New Jersey conference district, Trenton, N. J., Wednesday, Nov. 19th, 1890.
For the New York conference district, Albany, N. Y., Wednesday, Nov. 5th, 1890.
For the New England conference district, First church, Providence, R. I., Wednesday, Oct. 29th, 1890.
As the time for the meeting of electoral colleges in most cases was left to the judgment of the presiding bishop, we think the dates designated above better than to hold them in dead winter, or even in the early spring, which would be too late to allow the required three months prior to the sitting of the respective annual conferences. The above Electoral College conventions will be called to order and proceed to business at precisely 12 o’clock, regardless of the number present.
The presiding bishop of the district has been asked what rights the itinerant ministers have with or in the convention. He begs to answer, None whatever, except that the pastor of the church where the electoral college is held, may call the house to order and hear a motion for a chairman, temporary or otherwise, and as soon as he puts the said motion, immediately retire and leave the layman to transact their own business. An itinerant minister has no more business meddling with the laymen in the election of their delegates than the laymen have meddling with them in their election at the annual conferences. Indeed local ministers who are members of the annual conferences and are counted upon the roll that determines the ratio of representation, and who has the right to vote in the annual conferences for delegates, and who has the further right to be voted for if the annual conference chose to elect them, has no legal rights in the Electoral College. Otherwise such local ministers would be represented twice, a privilege which is neither enjoyed by the itinerant ministry or the laymen proper, and would be at variance with all rules regulating justice, and the general principles of right and equity, Nevertheless, the General Conference is the judge of the election and qualification of its members, and can recognize what it chosen, unless confronted with fundamental law.
The duty of pastors in their respective circuits and stations will be found in Chap. 1, Section III Paragraph 4, page 5, in our book of Discipline, which duty I enjoin all pastors to faithfully carry out. The presiding elders are directed to see that the pastors in their respective districts do not omit, neglect or fail to do the same.
The presiding elders of the First Episcopal District having adjourned the convention last October, to meet in Boston, Mass., in October, 1890, subject to the call of the bishop. I hereby re-assemble the convention, Tuesday, October 14th. Each presiding elder will prepare a paper of moderate length upon whatever phase of our ecclesiastical jurisprudence and usages he may elect, which paper will be subject to discussion. The presiding officer will request the presiding elders to discuss “If it is not a sin to use leavened or baker’s bread in the administration of the Lord’s supper;” and should not unleaven bread be prepared by the Church. Other instructions will be given to the presiding elders privately. Ex-presiding elders will be welcomed. Other ministers desirous of witnessing the deliberations will be at liberty.
H. M. Turner, Philadelphia, Pa.