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GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

The sittings of this body took place this year at Christchurch. The opening meeting was held on Monday, October 17, at which the following ministers were present : — The Revs. Chas. Fraser, Christchurch, Moderator ; James Duncan, Manawatu ; David Bruce, Auckland; George Brown, Onehunga ; Peter Barclay, Napier ; Ralph J. Allsworth, Taranaki ; George Graut, Christchurch ; Wm. Hogg, North Canterbury; Wm. -Kir lon, Kaiapoi; Donald M. Stuart, Dunedin ; Wm. McNaughton, Dunedin ; Messrs. J. M'Millan, Christchurch, Elder \ George Duncan, Heathcote Valley, Elder.

The proceedings extended over several days, and were of great interest in connection with the progress of the church in the colonies. The report of the Church Extension Committee, brought up by Mr,. Bruce, refers to this as well, as to the other provinces, and to many of our readers it will prove interesting. At another time we may be able to extract from the proceedings of the Assembly. REPORT. " The Committee report that since the last meeting of the Assembly three of the districts originally visited by the Convener have been favored by the arrival of resident ministers. Very soon after the rising of the Assembly the Eev. John Campbell arrived at Nelson in answer to the call from Riwaka, Motueka, and Moutere, and entered with zeal and much acceptance upon his sphere of labor. In obedience to the Assembly's instructions the Convener proceeded to Nelson in the month of March, and aided the Eev. Patrick Calder, minister in that place, in the ordination of Mr. Campbell to the work of the ministry among the people to whom he had been sent ; and the Committee are glad to say that the work of God has since that time prospered well in his hand. Steps have been taken to erect a church in the principal district, Riwaka, upon a site liberally granted by- one of the members of the church ; and in the course of a few weeks the foundation of the fabric will be laid. The efficiency of Mr, Campbell's labors will doubtless be greatly increased, and the organisation of the congregation be more complete, so soon as minister and people are privileged to occupy the new church. " The northern parts of the province of Canterbury, lying between the Ashley and Hurunui, together with the Amuri, in the province of Nelson, were early in the year occupied by the Key. William Hogg, who, amidst difficulties and hardships not a few, has labored with much satisfaction to all the residents in the districts, as also to the brethren in the Presbytery. The Committee are gratified to learn that steps are being now taken to provide a manse in a convenient place for the comfort of Mr. Hogg and his family, and this object once attained, will prove a great encouragement to Mr. Hogg to prosecute his work in a sphere calling for much endurance and devotedness. "With regard to the Wairau district, in the Province of Marlborough, the Committee have much pleasure in stating that within this last week the Rev. Arch. Russell, late of Newburg, Scotland, has arrived and entered upon that important sphere of labor. It will be gratifying to the Assembly to know that in the interval between the sending of their call and the arrival of their minister, the people had wisely erected a manse in the town of Blenheim, on a site granted by one of their number, and that thus Mr. Russell's family would be saved on their removal many of the inconveniences attending an unfixed residence. Owing to the discovery of gold in the Province of Marlborough, and the consequent increase of population, Mr. Russell's sphere has already greatly outgrown his power, but the Committee, from Mr. Russell's well-known abilities, have every confidence that he will do all that he can to overtake work imposed on him by Divine Providence, and they will be ready to aid him by at once obtaining a minister for Picton and Havelock. These places Mr. Russell can only visit ; they urgently require the presence of a resident ministry. " The Committee have further to report that they daily expect the Rev. Mr. Barclay, Licentiate of the Presbytery of London, to occupy another part of the field of their operations. Mr. Barclay comes out in answer to the call which went from the Amuri district, but as this district has already been under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Hogg, who has got over the preliminary difficulties connected with the commencement of ministerial work in the colony, and as there is an equally important sphere of labor in the district of Timaru, the Committee hope that the Presbytery of Canterbury will be able to arrange that Mr. Barclay should be settled among the people there. They make no doubt that the matter will be arranged with satisfaction to all parties, and with advantage to the Church. "Respecting Timaru, the Committee are glad to report that matters there are in a very forward state. The Rev. C, Fraser, on his return from the conference of the Commissioners with the Presbytery of Otago, had an opportunity of conducting divine service with the people, and thereafter meeting with them to consider the steps which should be taken to secure a resident minister. The result was the adoption of a resolution to invite the Rev. Mr. Barclay to minister amongst them, and to provide for him a suitable maintenance. "The "West Christchurch country district, as also the Ashburton district, urgently require the presence of resident ministers, and there is every prospect of due provision being made for their support. In the former of these districts several grants of land have been secured, on one of which a schoolroom has been .erected, whioh will be j available for the purposes of public worship. Banks's Peninsula remains vacant since the removal of the Rev. Mr. Grant to Christchurch, but it is hoped that so soon as a manse is provided the services of an efficient minister will be obtained. " The claims of the district of Rangiteiki, in the province of Wellington, were recently brought ) under the notice of the Committee, and understanding from the ministers resident in the adjacent districts that the people were looking to the Presbyterian Church for a minister, and were prepared to subscribe £150 per annum, towards a stipend, and to provide a manse, the Committee decided to grant them in aid £50, and send home for a minister without delay. " The arrangements which existed at Taranaki at the time of the last Assembly, and which were placed under the control of the Presbytery of Auckland, were terminated with the concurrence of that court, but the Committee have to report that, at the instance of the members of the Church residing in that distriot, a call for a minister has been sent to the Established Church of Scotland, accompanied with a request for monetary aid. If the unhappy native disturbances

■were over, a fine opening for a devoted minister would be found in this province, and the Committee hope that the desire of the people for a supply of religious ordinances from this Church may soon be fulfilled. " With respect to the province of Hawke's Bay, the Committee have to say that no minister has as yet arrived for the Meanee and Puketapu districts ; but one is looked for, while another has been sent for to take charge of the district of Waipukurau, so that there is every likelihood that before another meeting of the Assembly it may be possible to have a Presbytery established in the Hawke's Bay province, and it is to be hoped with but little, or comparatively little, charge on the Church Extension Fund. "In the course of the year the Committee recommended that steps should be taken towards securing a minister for the Kewmarket and Remuera districts, in the suburbs of Auckland, and there is every prospect of this end being secured. If the Government plan of military settlement be carried out in the southern part of Auckland province, there is certain to arise an urgent demand for a number of ministers, and indeed that demand already exists, and the Committee are not in a position at present to say what steps should be taken to meet it. *' The Committee regret that as yet they have not any definite intelligence of the appointment of ministers for Pakatau and Waiinea in Nelson, or for the Hutt and Wairarapa in Wellington, but they hope that ere long their cause of regret will be removed. There seems to be great difficulty at home in securing ministers fit and willing to go to the colony, and also in securing necessary funds to defray their passage, and the twofold circumstance seems to the Committee to suggest the double necessity of providing a fund for bringing ministers out from the home country, and of making provisions for the training of a native Ministry. " The Committee cannot close their report without remarking that the thanks of the Assembly and of the Church are due to the Eev. W. Will and Archibald Clarke, Esq., for the exertions they have made to interest the home churches in the welfare and extension of the Church. It is chiefly to them that we owe the appointment of two of the ministers who have been sent out to the district the Committee are charged with, as also the liberal grant of £100 per annum from the Presbyterian Church of Ireland and United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. " Commending their work to the care of the Lord, and the sympathy of the Church, the Committee beg now to lay their report on the Assembly's table. "(Signed) D.Bruce, Convener."

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Bibliographic details

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH., Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume 7, Issue 544, 8 November 1864

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume 7, Issue 544, 8 November 1864

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