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PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION., Issue 10461, 3 November 1897
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION.
FINAL MAJORITY, 29. At yesterday afternoon's sederunt of the Presbyterian Synod consideration |of the - basis of union was resumed. The Rev. James Girc moved tho adoption of article 7 as follows:—" That considering the difficulties attendant on an immediate unification of the firancial methods hitherto in use, the General Assembly shall at first recognise: (1) The sustentation fund scheme and church extension fund as at present in operation in the Church of Otago and southland. (2) The church extension scheme (which U for the double purpose of sustentation and extension) of the Northern Church a3 now administered ; it being understood that the General Assembly shall address itself without delay to gradually effect uniform schemes for tho support «.f the ministry and for ohurch extension ; and (3) meanwhile these funds shall be administered separately by committees of the General Assembly of the I united church, in teruu of their respective regulations; and until the sustentation funds, church extension fund?, widows and orphans' funds, and aged and infirm ministers' funds of the two churches be amalgamated the rulci and regulations rr.ay be amended from time to time, those of the Church of Otago and Southland by a committee consisting of the members of that Synod, and those of the Church of Ken- Zealand by ,i committee of members representieg the churches noith of the AVaitaki." The Rev. \V. O. M'Lakex seconded the motion. Tho Rev. W. Eanxeiwan objected to the proposed article altogether, on "the ground-i that it did away with the (itago sustentation fund. He would move—'-That this aitic'e 7 be remitted to the Committee on Union, to be framed so as to continue the sustentation fund as a inean3 of ministers-support for providing Christian ordinances throughout the bounds o? the Synod of Otago and Southland." The Rev. J. U. Spksce seconded the motion. The Rev. J. CLABKKmoved the addition of the following words to article as proposed by Sir Gibb:—"That no fundamental change shall be made in the sustentation fund of either church until at least a three-fifths majority of kirk sessions and presbyteries within the respective branches of the united church affected bv the change shall declare themselves in favor of the change." The Rev. R. R. M. Sutherland seconded this amendment. On a vote being taken as to whether Mr Clarke's proposal should be added to the motion, the addition was carried by a small majority, and the article as amended was then agreed to. On the motion of the Rev. J. Glim, seconded by the Rev. A. M. Dalkymit.e, article 8 was adopted:—"That the rr.irsi nary funds of the two churches shall he amalgamated, and devoted to the support of tho missions which are now being carried on by the respective churches." The Rev. J. Gibh moved the adoption of article 9—"That, while aiming at an amalgamation of the widows and orphans' funds and of the aged and infirm ministers' fund 3 at as early a date as possible, yet having respect to the duty cf administering these fuml3 on sound financial principles, it is agreed: That the respective funds in each church shall be kept distinct; widows, orphans, and ministers having claims only rn the fund wherewith tirey were connected at the date of the union; (2) that after the union, and until further arrangements are made, ministers shall connect themseves with the fund to which they b dong territorially, and the funds shall be administered separa:ely by a committee of the united Church in terms of their respective regulations, and until the widows and orphans' funds and aged and infirm ministers' funds of the two churches are amalgamated the rules and regulations of the said funds may be amended from time to time, those of the Church of Otago and Southland by a committee consisting of the whole membership of that Synod, in terms of the present regulations, and those of the Church of New Zealand by a committee consisting of members of the Assembly representing congregations north of the 'Waiiaki." The adoption of the article was seconded by tho Rev. A. Cajiehon and carried. The Rev. J. Gibc moved and the Rev. J. M. M'KXRBOw seoonded the adoption of article 10 "lhat Dunedin sha'l be the seat of the Theological Hall." The Rev. P. B. FitASER suggested that it should be left open to the Assembly of the United Church to put ttio Theological Hall where it chose-at Anderson Bay-(laughter)-cr Auckland, or elsewhere. It had been said that it was generous on tho part of the Northern Church to concede this point, hut w-hat was wanted was a fair thing and a just thing, and this looked like a bribe to accomoany something unpalatable. If they were to have a united church it must be on different tern.3 to the bargaining that was now being conducted He moved-" That Dunedin shall be tho seat of the Theological Hall unless otherwise determined by the General Assembly." The Kev. R. R. M. SfTKEKLANn seconded Mr Fraser s motion. The ltev. \V. Bannerman proposed the following further amendment:-"That until a theological hall shall be erected by the northern branch of tho United Church Dun-C-Jtn siiall be-the seat of tfie Theological Hall." Mr M'Caw secouiled'"thi3 amendment pro foriitu. .Blr Bannerman's amendment was carried as against Mr Fraser's by a Urge majority, but when put a3 against Mr Gibb's motion was lost, the voting being 47 to £9. At 5.20 p.m. the Synod rose, to meet again at 7 p m. tin resuming. The Rev. j. Gir.n moved and the Rev. I. Jolly seconded the adoption of article 11, as f.llows :-"That while tho appointment and removal of theological professors nuut rcmiiu with the Synod of Otago and Southland, in terms of the Act of 1855, jot, inasmuch ss such appointments and removals are of the highest importance to the whole church, it is necessary that the Assembly and Synod should act harmoniously in this matter, and that, therefore, prior to any appointment or removal being made by tho Synod the mind of the General Assembly shall be ascertained." The Rev. A. M. Finlayson moved—"That this article he deleted." The Rev. A. B. Todd seconded this pro forma. The Rev. V. R Fp.aser moved as a further amendment—"That the article read as follows : 'lhat the appointment and removal of the theological professors still remain with tho Synod of Otago and Southland, in terms cf Act of 18i>6, but no professor Bhall be appointed to, removed from, or retained in hi 3 position against, tho express decision of the General A'sembly. , The Rev. A. Cameron seconded this amendment. The Rev. Dr Dunlop, speaking from the view-point of. one of the p ofessors, said he i thought that practically the right way was, in uom.3 way or other, to leave the appointment of protessora to the United Church, and that tho professors would feel far happier if they were snbject to the jurisdiction of a united church even than if they were under the Svncd of Otago and Southland. The Rev. W. Bannerman oppased the motion on the ground that it wa3 contrary to articlo 3. That article provided for the maintenance of a continuance of all rights and privileges of the properties pertaining to the Synod, and they had to surrender some of these rights by making the appointment of their professors subject to the approval or disapproval of the Assembly. Another objection that ho had was that it was opening the door for the invasion of their propsrty»» other directions, which might lead to the depnval of the church of many privileges now enjoyed in virtue of the possession of this property. On being put to the Vote, Mr Fraser.'s motion, as against Mr carried .by'7o to if Zr-l ,V aser a motion -was-;then put as agaiost Mr Gibbs, and carried; unanimously. The Rev. A. M.. Finlayson entered hU protest against the article being carried, as it contradicted article 3. Article 12 was adopted without discussion in - the fol.owing form:—"That the Barrier Act shall apply to all proposals for fresh legislation " The Rev. Jails s Gibb moved-"That the Synod reappoint a committee and instruct it to forward the basis of union as amended by this Synod to the Assembly of the Northern Chui'ch to meet at Auckland, and report to Synod in March next." In speaking to the motion Mr Gibb made passing reference to the petitions against the adoption of the basis of union which had been presented to the Synod at the commencement of these proceedings. Those petitions contained between 700 and 800 signatures, out of from 12,000 to 13,000 members in full communion in the Church of Otago, and it was very signifiant of the feeling of the church on this question when only that number signed the petitions against it. Another matter ho wished to refer to was the significance of Mr Sutherland's motion at the very outset of tbfc consideration of the union proposals. Mr Sutherland had written to the Stab saying that his (Mr Gibb's) motion on that occasion was only equivalent to the first readmg of a Bill. Io v, Mr Sutherland ought to have known that thjt was not so If the opponents of union had elected to make" the trial of strength later on, when they cimo to take the articles seriatim, there might have been some grounds for Mr Sutherland's statement, but immediately Mr Sutherland's motion was moved the question of union versus bo union was before the Synod. The Synod, in fighting for the various motions were considering and discussing the question was there to be or was there not to he union c f toe Presbyterian chutche3 0 f this .'aid ? By. a
majority of 36 the Synod decided that the union was to go on. Mr Gibb also combated Mr Sutherland's published statement that by the vote on articlo 3, when the Committee's proposal was carried by 53 to 40, that ahowed a decrease in the majority in favor of union. If there had b:en a full meeting of the Synod there would perhaps have been a difference in the voting of perhaps from six to ten, but no more. If article 3 had been defeated it would have been a nasty shook to union, and a groat difficulty would have been created, but as it was the Synod affirmed their desire that thero should be union otthe Treabyteiian Churches in New Zealand. The Kev. Mr Chisholm seconded the motion. Mr A. C. Begg moved a? an amendment—" In view of the divided state of the Synod and of the church, and the extreme difficulty of finding a sati. factory basis on which to form a union of incorporation with the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand at present, the Synod reluctantly pass from the subject." He declared that when the Synod went to Parliament in the present divided state of the church they would be told to go back until they were unanimous and then to approach Parliament again.-(Hear, hear) He hoped the Synod would accept the amendment and terminate for the present this question, which had practically spoilt this meeting of the Synod. Mr John Ricm seconded the amendment. Mr K. Ham sat, in supporting the motion, said that afrer last 'J Imr.mlay's vote a better epiiit would havo been exhibited by the minority if they had joined with the majoiity in framing a basis of union instead of throwing every possible obstacle in the way. He complained tliib trivial, objections had been offered to the union proposals, and said that he had come to the concluion that there were leading members of the Synod and would-be leading members of the Sj nod who seemed to live and move and have their In-ing in hair-splitting, dividing o:i this and that little thing, and giving every pissible attention to the letter of a thing altogether oblivious of the spirit; and bethought that was a state of affairs that should not be en- , couraged in the Synod.—(Applause ) \ 'Jhe Rev. J. Clarke moved a3 a furlher , amendment —" That the basis be sent back to \ the Committee for fuller consideration and amendment, and that the Committee be in- \ structed to confer with the Union Committee of \ the North on all questions that may arise, a [ report ot the results to be submitted to the next meeting of the Synod." .He felt con- ! strained, after all the amendments that had been made in the basis of union, to tay that he , must oppo3e the present basis of union on the , lloor of the Hou'e of Rei r.'sentatives, if necessary. And he was going to do it, not on the ground of expediency, but on the ground of unfairness, and to the extent that there w-is unfairness, unr ghtcbUHnci-s. He w.is convinced also that no basis ciuld be satisfactory to thii church nor to the Northern Church unless it provided for a representative a-sembly. The Kev. J. Gibson Smith asked it Mr Clarke's motion was competent at the present staSe, as it contemplated the possibility of amendments being made in the articles of basii. The Moderator : I do not know whether my ruling will be accepted, but I rule that the \ motion is incompetent at this p The Rev. A. M. Finlayson moved and the Rev. J. M'Cosn Smith seconded—"That Mr ' Clarke's motion is competent." '. The Rev. J. Giisson Smith moved and the ', Rev. Mr M'Laren seconded—" That the mode- | rator's ruling be sustained." '. The Moderator expressed willingness to \ withdraw his ruling, but several members pressed for a vote. A vote was taken, and after several attempts ' to make a correct count the motion dissenting , from the moderator's ruling was declared car- ; lied by 45 to 42. [ The Rev. J. M'COSH SillTH seconded Mr ' Clarke's amendment. He complained that the . Union Committee had not consider.d t'--e <|urs- , tion a3 seriously as they should have done, that . they had been carrying things with a sledge . hammer, ar.d that they had not shown that ; amount of conciliation they should have shown. He urged that the Synod ought not to have a discussion of that sort, in which the members • were greatly provoked, come up in the Jubilee year. He predicted that the unionists wou'd break up the church if they went on with unio.a at the present hour, and ic wou'd then be made impossible to have union for many years. Tho Kev. Dr "Watt thought that those who I were opposed to union ought to have spoken out before the ohurch had committed itself to the movement, and he felt that for it to withdraw ; now would be infamous and dreadfully disi honorable. He believed that the immediate [ advantages of union would not be so great aa ■ many on hi* eide cf the House believed, but I every day that passed would diminish the dis- ; advantages. If Mr Clarke'd motion was carried ; he would be inoliued to say that t'uey should ; stop all negotiat ons there and then; ho would rather do that than continue on in the present , state of things. i At this stage (9.15) the Rev Mr GiliD moved —"That as the hour was getting late the vote be taken after Mr Sutherland and Mr Gumming, both of whom had rh-eu to had addressed the Syno.l." Ihe Rev. Mr Bannkhman objected -to the mouths of members being compu'sorih- closed on a matter that affected the whole future interests of the Presbyterian Church of l.'tago Re had been debarred from speaking several times through such a course as that now sugsested b'.ing adopted, and other members had i -boon similarly treated. Hemoved as an amendment— "Thatthe'discussion proceed-"- - ; On being put to the vote, Mr GibVs motion ; was carried by a very narrow majority. The Rev. R.R. M. Sutherland, in the coime of a speech in favor of Mr He r 'g's amendment, 1 said the move merit in favor of union did n.t come out of the heart and life of the church, and declared that it was ur.-Presbyterian to force union on the church what there w.«s such 1 opp sition and division in the Syucd and throughout the whole church. The Rev. J. Cum.mixg said thero were some portions of the basis with which he did not agree, and ho belonged to the minority of forty the other evening. He found, however, that he was in the minotity, and the great p-actical question to him was: What was that minority to do ? 7hey could fall in with the maj)rity, or they could fall out with the majority. For his part he was not prepared to fall out with the majority, and accordingly would fall in with tbem. The Rev. James C!ibb having replied, Bfr Clarke's amendment was put as against Mr Berg's, with the result that the latter was carried by 39 votes to 35. On Mr Begg's amendment being put a» ag.iinst Mr Gibb's motion, the latter was carried by 65 votes to 36, the voting being : For Mr Gibb's motion. Ministers : Oreitr, Kirklaml, jWadclell, Borrie, Cameron, Gibb, M'Kerrow, Dunlop, Dutton, Jolly, Campbell) Paulin, Hewitson, J. M. Fraser, J. Chisholm, Currie, Dalrymple, Fairmaid, Kilpatrick, J. A Will, J. S. Reid, Gray, Stobo. Kwen, Lindsay, Blair, Maedonald, Gibson Smith, M'Laren, Brown, Standriug, Milne, Todd, Camming, Grant, Johnston, Asher, Adam Begg, Miller, Kyd. Elders: Waddell, Martin, W. Somerville, Couston, Marshall, Scott, G. Reid.D. A. M'Nicoll, Leishman, Smaill, Bremner, John Johnson, T. Tait, Huin, M'Caw, Ramsav, Hutchison, Dow, Jackson, Cargill. M'Gregor, R. Chisholm, Dickie, M'Kinna, Knowlss. For Mr tieg/s motion. Ministers: Sutherland, Christie, Bannerman, Spence, P. B. Fraser, Alexander, Bissett, Steven, Hay, Nichol, Wright Clarke, Thomson, M'Cosh Smith, Gellie, Smellie, Carter Elders: John Reid, George Moir Thomson, C. Moore, Harvie, Taylor, M'Lay William Begg, Blaekie, Dawson, Goodall. A Fraser, Robertson, J. T. Johnston, A. C. Begc Copland, Ayson, W. Stewart, M'Kay. Air A. C. Begg handed in and read the following protest signed by forty ministers and elders:-"We, the undesigned members of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Otago and Southland, in view of the votes taket), do hereby, for ourselves and all cohering, protest against any overt action on the pait of a majority of th : s Synod to consummate a union with the Northern Church on the present basis, and wo signify our intention to take all legitimate means under the constitution of this church to prevent its extinction, unless on a basis generally satisfactory to this churc'i." >iThe Rev. J. Gibso.nt Smith asked if all who had signed the pretest had taken part in the vote just taken. The Kev. J. Gibb said Messrs Davidson, Rose, and Pullar had not voted in the division just taken. The Rev. R. R. M. Sutherland said all the protesters had taken part in one or 6ther of the votes. The Moderator : That does not meet the present question. The Kev. J. Gibb asked the ruling of the moderator as to whether any name could be affixed to a protest of that kind of a person who was not present and who did not take part in the vote. The Modkrator : I say no, 'J ho Rev. J. Gibb : Then a numbar of the names should be removed. The Moderator said he ruled that the names of those who were not present that night and who did not take part in the vote could not be taken. The Rev. W. Bannerman gave in the following protest:-" I further protest against the adopted as involving a departure from the ortlination vows and responsibilities of ministers and office bearers, and from the constitution on which this church was originally constituted with which the trust property of the church haf bsen linked so that the church's title must be seriously endangered by that departure, and further because the office-bearers and members of the church have had no opportunity of learning the new form and constitutidpfproposed to be given to the church." ':. The Rev. J. Clarke was granted leave to give reasons next day for a protest. At 10.40 p.m, the Synod rose to meet at 10 .m. next day.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION., Issue 10461, 3 November 1897
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