THE PHILLIPSTOWN CHURCH.
THE REV H. C. GILBERTS RETIREMENT. MEETING OF VESTRYMEN. A meeting of vestrymen was held on Wednesday evening by the request of many parishioners, to consider the charges brought against the Rev H. J. C, Gilbert, which led to the Bishop suspending him for two years. Before proceeding with the business of the meeting, a letter to one of. the churchwardens was read, in which it was stated that " the Bishop had put the cure under offer to another clergyman." The Bishop's action in not having considered tho wishes of the people was commented upon, alter which the meeting took up the business for which it had been called. The matter was fully gone into, and it was held to bo proved beyond a doubt that the only specific charge was untrue. The following petition to the Bishop -was then unanimously agreed upoii, and signed by all present, with a resolution that 'it be forwarded to his Lordship : —
Phillipstown, April 19. To his Lordship the Bishop of CSristchurch, — My Lord, — The petition of the undersigned, the Vestry of the Church of the Good Shepherd, at PhiUipstown^ humbly prays your Lordship to reconsider your judgment, on our Vicar, the Rev it. J. C. Gilbert, for the following reasons .- That we have not on any occasion known him to have been under the influence of spirituous liquors, of which he is now accused. That all Church services have been well and ably conducted by him, and under his guidance the rendering of the services at the "Church of the Good Shepherd, as also his sermons, have been highly appreciated by the congregation, and strangers and visiting clergymen alike have spoken in high terms ot praise of the heartiness of the services. That the congregation has increased, under his ministration, from a more handful Oi worshippers to a well-filled churck That the debt on the Church buildings under his active and energetic leadership Ims been totally extinguished, and to his guidance is due the present satisfactory state of thtChurch finances. That he has at all times most readily and willingly responded to Hit calls of his people, and the residents in his parish, whether they were members of Ins Church or not, in cases of sickness, death, or other trials and difficulties, often at great personal inconvenience, and his kindness and 'sympathy at all times have endeared bim to the people of this parish. That your petitioners fear that his removal from amongst Us will so disturb the zeal for, and the love of, the Church of the Good Shepherd Tvhioh now exists that there will be a falling off in attendance and financial support to such an extent as may prove disastrous to the maintaining of public Worship in our midst. That in consequence of his having," during a long period of nineteen years, baptised our children and buried our dead, he has become endeared to us, and therefore we would deeply deplore Were he to bo removed from the parish. That the members of his church, as well as others outside of his parish, have at all times readily and joyfully responded to his appeal for good works, as witness the success of the Christinas offerings, now carried oa for Eome years, and the erection of the memorial to the memory of the late B. W. Motiiitfort. That we deprecate the rumours of intemperance which haVe reached your Lordship's oars, Had We iisSure your Loi'dsLip \pe have no personal evidence of the slightest approach to intemperanoa during his long ministrations in the parish. We, your petitioners, would therefore humbly pray that your liordship would be pleased to re-con-sider the whole matter* and -£cc fife to comply with the wishes of your people in this parish by re-instating .him in his duties here by the withdrawal of his resignation. We are moved to this course because of our esteem and respect for him, and the probable privations which may ensue to him j bis wife arid family (owing to his being a man turned fifty years of age, and his inability to perform work other tlitUi Church w-ork), if ho be made to endure a term of two years' probation/* ' •
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