A FORM FOR RECORDING CHURCH BUSINESS.
As many of the clerks of our churches have had but little experience in recording business meetings, they are frequently embarrassed to know how to go to work. This article is written to assist such persons. If they will study it carefully, and preserve it for reference, they can soon learn to record a meeting properly in the clerk’s book.
I was much pleased and edified by the “Business School” held at this place (Sigourney, Iowa) by Elds. Canright and Farnsworth. I am fully satisfied that every church, as well as our scattered brethren throughout the land, would be greatly benefited by such a course of training on the organization and business transactions of our churches. But as a great majority cannot avail themselves of the benefits of such instruction, it has occurred to me that a concise statement of the workings and business transactions of this school, published through the REVIEW, might be of service to many.
At the suggestion of those who had charge of the school, I will try to furnish a chapter.
There were about fifty persons convened in a comfortable meeting-house, and the exercises were conducted much after the style of a teachers’ institute, Elds. Canright and Farnsworth having charge. Each person was expected to keep a record of all business transacted, and in turn these records were examined, criticised, and corrected by the managers.
We had a church organized and business transacted by it, the object being to learn the art of doing church business and keeping church records. It is very evident that the business of our churches is often bunglingly done, and the records are sadly deficient. The following is supposed to be a form of business that might occur at and after the organization of a church society:—
A company of believers in the Bible doctrines held by S. D. Adventists, located at Sigourney, Iowa, convened in their church house, April 1, 1878, at 10 o’clock A. M.
After singing and prayer, Eld. D. M. Canright was called to the chair, and L. McCoy was chosen secretary.
The chairman stated the object of the meeting to be the organization of a church of Seventh-day Adventists, and requested those desiring to participate in the said organization to give their names to the secretary.
Whereupon the following named persons responded, to wit, L. McCoy, C. E. Moser, G. B. Starr, Rachel Buck, and Carrie Dalbey.
The chairman then asked each of this company if they had any objections to any one of the others, and there being no objection, he then asked them if they could freely and cheerfully fellowship one another. This being answered in the affirmative, they all, by a rising vote, united in the following covenant:—
“We hereby associate ourselves together, taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, and covenanting to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” This constituted them a church.
On motion of Bro. Starr, supported by Bro. Moser, Bro. L. McCoy was elected church clerk.
On motion of Bro. Moser, supported by Bro. Starr, the church adjourned to call of the chair. L. McCoy, Sec.
Sigourney, April 6, 1878, 9 A. M., the church convened for a business meeting, all the members having had notice of the same. Prayer by Bro. Starr.
On motion of Bro. McCoy, supported by sister Dalbey, sister Jessie P. Moser was received as a member of the church, subject to baptism.
Bro. Henry Nicola, bearing a letter of commendation from the church of S. D. Adventists at Richmond, Iowa, was, by motion of Bro. Starr, supported by Bro McCoy, duly received as a member of this church.
Bro. Asa Ruloff, a member of the Baptist church, having embraced our views, and desiring to be identified with our people, presented himself for membership. There being no objections.
On motion of Bro. Starr. supported by sister Buck, Bro. Ruloff was received.
On motion of Bro. Moser, supported by Bro. Nicola, the church adjourned to call of the chair. L. McCoy, Clerk.
Aug. 12, 1878, at 10 A.M., the church convened for business.
Meeting opened by singing and prayer, Eld. Canright in the chair.
Bro. C. E. Moser asked for a letter of commendation.
On motion of Bro. Asa Ruloff, supported by Bro. Starr, the clerk was instructed to give Bro. Moser a letter.
By unanimous vote of the church, all being present, Bro. H. Nicola was selected elder of the church, and was duly ordained as such by Eld. Canright.
Bro. McCoy at this meeting preferred charge against Bro. Asa Ruloff for immorality, alleging that Bro. R. had violated the fourth commandment, in that he had sold coal and otherwise permitted labor to be done in his mine on the Sabbath day, the third of August, 1878.
Bro. R. being present demanded an investigation, and the case was heard, Bro. R. having opportunity for defense.
On motion of Bro. Starr, supported by Bro. McCoy, Bro. R. was placed under censure by a unanimous vote of the church.
On motion, adjourned until 2 o’clock P. M.
Aug. 12, 1878, at 2 P. M., the church convened pursuant to adjournment, for the transaction of business, Eld. Nicola in the chair.
Bro. Starr presented resolutions expressive of the sorrow occasioned by the death of our beloved sister Jones, which occured on the 8th inst, who by her Christian deportment and faithfulness in the discharge of every duty, had won for herself a place in the hearts of all. Although her loss is a severe trial to this little band, yet we bow in meek submission to the will of Him who doeth all things well.
The resolutions were ordered placed upon the record, and a copy of same furnished to the bereaved family.
On motion of Bro. M., supported by Bro. B., the church adjourned.
L. McCoy, Clerk.
NOTE.—”Will the clerks of our churches please preserve the above article for reference? It gives the proper form of conducting and recording business meetings. Notice, (1.) The first thing to do in making a record of a meeting is to give the date, thus: April 1, 1878, 10 A. M.; or July 5, 1878, 2 P. M.; (2.) if a vote is taken upon any question, the clerk should state who made the motion and who seconded it, as it is sometimes very important to know; (3.) The clerk should always sign his name at the close of the record of each meeting.
If further instruction is desired, it will be given any time.
Notes by Newsman777:
This 1878 document:
1) Demonstrates secretary procedure of that era.
2) Illustrates role playing as an effective teaching method.
3) Provides leadership to the many church clerks.
4) Illustrates the role of a teaching institute.
5) Provides examples both of joining by baptism and by profession of faith.
6) Cites only two doctrinal points upon which the church formed.