First G.C. Session – Part 2 – Constitution



The following brethren were then appointed a committee to draft a constitution and by-laws for the government of this Conference:

Brethren J. N. Andrews, N. Fuller, I. Sanborn, W. Morse, H. F. Baker, B. F. Snook, J. H. Waggoner, and J. N. Loughborough. After due deliberation the committee presented the following constitution for the consideration of the Conference:



For the purpose of securing unity and efficiency in labor, and promoting the general interests of the cause of present truth, and of perfecting the (3–GCS 63-88) organization of the Seventh-day Adventists, we, the delegates from the several State Conferences, hereby proceed to organize a General Conference, and adopt the following constitution for the government thereof:

Article I. (NAME) This Conference shall be called the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Article II. (OFFICERS) The officers of this Conference shall be a President, Secretary, Treasurer, and an Executive Committee of three, of whom the President shall be one.

Article III. (DUTIES) The duties of the President and Secretary shall be such respectively as usually pertain to those offices.

Article IV. (DUTIES OF THE TREASURER) It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive and disburse means under the direction of the Executive Committee, and keep an account of the same, and make a full report thereof to the regular meetings of the Conference.


Section 1. It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to take the general supervision of all ministerial labor, and see that the same is properly distributed; and they shall take the special supervision of all missionary labor, and as a missionary board shall have the power to decide where such labor is needed, and who shall go as missionaries to perform the same.

Section 2. Means for missionary operations may be received by donation from State Conferences, churches, or individuals; and the Committee are authorized to call for means when needed.

Section 3. When any State Conference desires ministerial labor from a minister not a resident within the bounds of such Conference, their request shall be made to the General Conference Executive Committee, and ministers sent by said Committee shall be considered under the jurisdiction of the Conference Committee of such State:

PROVIDED, 1. That if such minister consider the State Committee inefficient, or their action so far wrong as to render his labor ineffectual, he may appeal to the General Conference Executive Committee;

PROVIDED, 2. That if such State committee consider such minister inefficient they may appeal to the General Conference Committee, who shall decide on the matter of complaint, and take such action as they may think proper.

Article VI. (SELECTING DELEGATES) Each State Conference shall be entitled to one delegate in the General Conference, and one additional delegate for every twenty delegates in the State Conference, such delegates to the General conference to be chosen by the State Conferences or their Committees:

PROVIDED, That the delegates to such State Conferences be elected according to the following ratio, to wit:

Each church to the number of twenty members or under shall be entitled to one delegate, and one delegate for every additional fifteen members.

Article VII. (TERM OF OFFICE) The officers shall hold their offices for the term of one year, and shall be elected at the regular meetings of the Conference.


Section 1. The regular meetings of the Conference shall be held annually, and the time and place of holding the same shall be determined by the Executive Committee, by whom due notice thereof shall be given through the Review.

Section 2. Special meetings may be called at the option of the Committee. (4–GCS 63-88)

Article IX. (CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE) This constitution may be altered or amended by a two-third’s vote of the delegates present at any regular meeting:

PROVIDED, That any proposed amendment shall be communicated to the Executive Committee, and notice thereof given by them in their call for the meeting of the Conference.

The report was accepted and the committee discharged.

The Conference then took up the reported constitution item by item, for consideration and discussion, which resulted in its entire adoption.

Source: Transcription of minutes of GC sessions from 1863 to 1888 (a pdf file)

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