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PRESBYTERIAN ASSEMBLY

Fifth Day.—Monday. The General Assembly met at 10 a.m. in Burns Hall, the Rev. W. M'Ara (exModerator) in the chair. —Sabbath Observance.— This committee presented a report in which the following clauses appeared: “ On the one hand there are many indications of a growing laxity throughout the Dominion with regard to the observance of the Sabbath. From all parts come reports of the steady encroachment of both labor and pleasure. There is a growing tendency to plead necessity as an excuse for Sunday labor in many industries. Police, railway, tram, and steamer officials, workers in the dairy, saw-milling, rabbiting, and other industries, hotel employees, those who are employed in catering for the amusements' of tho people; these, in addition to many others engaged in labor that la absolutely necessary, constitute a considerable proportion of the working portion of the community. And amusements, both indoors and in. the form of picture entertainments and concerts, and outdoors in the indulgence of picnicking, ‘ week-ending,’ fishing, and different kinds of sport, are in many parts transforming tho day into an ordinary holiday. On the other hand there are evidences of an aroused consciousness of the seriousness of this question. The committee report an increased interest, among our churches. Wo are glad also that newspapers and public bodies have given indication of a conviction that the time has arrived when tho tendency to commercialise the day must k>e checked. Although, Therefore, there are many disquieting features, the outlook is not without hopeful signs—signs of an awakening conscience and a stronger body of public opinion in regard to this question.” Rev. A. C. W. Standage (Wellington) moved the adoption of the report. One matter that had engaged the attention oi the committee during the year - was Sunday picture shows, concerts, and amusements. Residents in this part of the Dominion had no idea of how the Sabbath was-in this way used for holiday purposes in some other places, particularly on tho West Coast. The only remedy seemed to be to put into councils and on other bodies men who would not countenance that sort of thing. Anther subject before tho committee was the growing use of Sunday for military purposes. The Defence authorities would nave to watch these encroachments. The Canadian legislation was considerably in advance of ours. Tho committee did not, however, think that any good purpose would be served by approaching Parliament on the subject at the present time, for to make such legislation effective it would be necessary to have behind the movement a much stronger body of public opinion than existed just now". The recommendations of the committee were to appoint Ihe first Sunday of, August, 1915, as Sabbath Observance Day, and that a special endeavor be made by presbyteries and congregations to secure the formation of branches of tho Lord’s D;iv Alliance in every dislriit.

Rev. R. Inglis (Auckland) .seconded the motion. In tho course of his remarks ho, said tho position now- was “ Sunday or no Sunday.” Tho* Moderator supported the motion. Rev. W. Shirer (Wellington) said that this desecration was specially prominent in the North. As to Defence Department encroachments, the fault lay not only with the authorities, but with tho men themselves, for on Sundays the men often travelled to and from the camps in order to save expense. He desired to add that there was a certain amount of urgency in connection with the concentration camps, but this was not likely to occur again, for he hud it on good authority that after the crisis was over tho large concentration camps would not bo organised. Tho motion was carried without di-r-cm, —Tramways Union Case.Rev. Jtobt. Inglis moved —"That the General Assembly, having had its attention called to a case in which the Dunedin Tramways l.’nion has inflicted a line upon one of its members for absenting himself without apology from business meetings of the union held on .Sundays, such action having been subsequently dechued legal in a court of law, expresses its strong protest against such notion as a violation of tlu* rights of conscience. The Assembly also expresses its regret that the- Dunedin Tramways Union not only boldo its business meetings on that day. but seeks to coerce those of its mcrnlwra who conscientiously object to attending the same under pains and penalties.” Mr Inc)is referred to judgments of Mr 11. V. W ddowson. S.M The Sabbath Obsirvanee Committee approached re vend persons and bodies, and the only reply received was from the Dunedin Minister/ Association, who expressed their sympathy with the man who had been penalised. He maintained that, the question called for an enphatic protest. (Applause.) Bishop Clearv, with v,horn ho bad discussed tho matter, also held strong opinion* on this quiet ion of the 'lereiTatkm of the Sabbat It. He maintained that no union or organi-a-lion had the right to so frame th-nr rules to compel the attendance of any man at a meeting on Sunday ( Applause.) The Rev. R. L.’ Walker (Auckland), in rei ending tho motion, raid there was a tion of organised labor which v, as disMiir/y ant i-Chrietim. Rev. B. Hutson said ho knew of a, ci-c while a I’reshytci ian ehnreli had held a business meeting on a Sunday. 1 hat. Isung so. it behoved the General Assembly to >• t their house in order first. Rev. W. Sccrgie asked for the name of the proshyterv or chinch where this mi sines* meeting 'had been hold on Sunday. Rev. B. Hutson said it was the I’etone church, in the Wellington Presbytery. The motion was then put and carried on the voices. Rev. P. Hutson wished his dissent refolded, on the ground that, it was singling out one union. —Theological Hall.— The jv]>ort of the. committee on tile course of study for bonus missionaries in the Theological Hall -vas presented by Rev. G. H. Balfour. The committee, after consulting with presbyteries, put forward an amended ionise. This was discuesc-d clause by clause. T he Assembly settled it on these jinttmA home missionary may apply for admission t> the Theological Hall as a student ou condition that his application is accompanied by certificates that he has passed the course of study for home missionaries with credit, that he has for two years held an appointment as home missionary, or lias served for five years as an ordained home missionary. It was further provided that a home missionary whose application for admission to the Theological Hall has Iroeii granted shall take a preliminary year of study at Knox College, this to include classes in matriculation English. elcmentaiy Greek, and history. This preliminary year may be dispensed with in the ease of student* of sufficient, literary I attainments. | Nearly every clause was debated, mem- I hers who spoke being apparently anxious that access should not he so easy as to lower the, standard, and on the other hand , that men of natural capacity should not be frightened away from the gate. Rev. G. Budd (Feilding) moved to send j back to presbyteries tho clause about the j preliminary year, but this was lost on a show of hands, and the recommendation i carried. —Council of Churehes.— A deputation from tho Council of .Ghurches was received at 12.30. Rev.

E. Drake (president of the council) presented the greetings of that body and spoke of the points of agreement as btf* tween the churches.—Dr Gibb movof » motion in the direction of assuring the deputation of the Assembly’s sincere pleasure at their presence arid that the Assembly reciprocated the kindly sentiments expressed.—The terms of the motion were communicated, by the noting Moderator to the deputation. —Theological Committee.— Rev. G. H. Balfour moved the adoption of the report of the Theological Committee. It stated that the hall was opened on April 1, and that a satisfactory session had been held. The number attending the hall was 33. The mover said in the course of bis remarks that the committee asked for the. sympathy and the nravers of the church for the Theological llall. It was also necessary to provide the means. Move money was absolutely necessary. Unless the committee pot more donations and more bursaries it would be impossible to give due encouragement to young men to study for the ministry. Mr Balfour moved the following deliverance: — “Adopt the report; "express gratitude for the Divine blessing on the work of Iho hall during the past year; congratulate Dr Watt, the Professor of Hebrew, on attaining the 50th anniversary of his ordination; thank the donors to the scholarship fund and donors of prizes: sanction the scholarship proposals for 1915, and empower the committee to grant such additional scholarships as the state of the funds and the regulations connected therewith may warrant; approve the action of the committee in admitting Mr 0. P. Campbell to the special arts course feu- non-inatriculatod students, and in admitting Mr A. C. Hampton into the hall on the conditions indicated in the, report; approve the appointment of Revs. J. W. Shaw, M.A., and C. A. Gray, M.A., as relieving examiners in church history and New Testament Greek respectively; thank the examiners in connection with the entrance, exit, and other examinations for their services.” Rev. 11. 11. Barton seconded the motion, and the debate was adjourned, till to-morrow morning. The Assembly rose at 1.10 p.m.

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Bibliographic details

PRESBYTERIAN ASSEMBLY, Evening Star, Issue 15657, 23 November 1914

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1,552

PRESBYTERIAN ASSEMBLY Evening Star, Issue 15657, 23 November 1914

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