Proceedings of the Methodist Annual Conference.
[reported for the Richmond Dispatch.]
Norfolk, Nov. 27, 1861.
Rev. Joseph A. Davis
, by permission, withdrew the resolution instructing the editor to travel as he might have opportunity.
Rev. E. M. Peterson
submitted a motion requesting the General Conference to change the law of the Church
so as to allow the Virginia Conference
to elect the editor of the paper, if in the judgment of the General Conference the law does not now authorize such action.
Leave of absence was granted Rev.--Hammer, and permission granted him to leave a vote for delegates to the General Conference.
The resolution also was debated by the author, Messrs Rosser
, and Whitehead
, and adopted by a decided vote.
Rev. D. P. Wills
offered a resolution expressing the opinion that it would be better in every instance where the subscription is not paid in advance to discontinue the Advocate.
A brief discussion ensued between the mover, Messrs. Burton
, and Duncan
, when the Rev. W. W. Bennett
moved a substitute, that the propriety of publishing the Advocate
upon the cash system be referred to the Publishing Committee, and that if it shall seem proper to adopt that system it will meet the hearty concurrence of this body.
The mover accepted the substitute and the motion was adopted.
Rev. P. F. August
moved a resolution instructing the preachers to bring up to Conference the lists of subscribers furnished them during the year, to be turned over to their successors.
Rev. Jas. A. Davis
brought to the notice of the body the case of Rev. C. F. N. Blogg
, German Missionary, who had failed to get his pay, as was expected, and it was ordered that his claim be allowed.
On motion of Rev. H. B. Cowles
, it was ordered that when the Conference adjourns this morning, it be to meet this afternoon, at 3½ o'clock.
Rev. W. H. Christian
read a certificate from Texas
, concerning the character of. --Williams
, a superannuated preacher, connected with this Conference.
The relation of this member was continued.
read to the Conference, from Rev. Benj. P. Ames
, a letter concerning his situation and circumstances.
The letter requested an election to Elder
The Conference to elected him.
Also, a letter from Rev. F. J. Boggs
, from Chape Hill, Texas
, representing himself as now Captain
in a regiment of mounted Texas
The examination of character of Elders was resumed, and Messrs. Wm. B. Rowzie
, Robt. Michaels
, L. M. Lee
, W. J. Coffman
, John D. Blackwell
, P. A. Peterson
. A Moss, Jas. W. Wonnicutt
, Jas. G. Hammer
, (who was continued on supernumerary list,) C. C. Pearson
, Joseph J. Edwards
, J. McMullin
, W. J. Norfleet
, T. A. Payne
, and A. M. Hall
, were passed.
Rev. J. S. R. Clarke
presented the report of the Committee
on Memoirs, including short sketches of the lives and labors of Rev. Jas. W. Payne
, W. M. Ward
, and R. T. Nixon
of this Conference who have died during the past year.
The report was adopted.
The Rev. W. B. Rowzie
, when his name was called, gave a brief account of his transactions as agent for Wesleyan Female College.
Early in the year the troubles of the times made it evident that nothing could be done, and he, at the instance of the Presiding Elder
of the district, took charge of Greensville
circuit, and remained there until the close of the year.
Rev. Minton Thrift
, G. W. Charlton
, Robert Scott
, E. Chambers
, (who was located,) were severally called, and except as indicated, continued upon the superannuated list.
Preaching at night was announced by Dr. Sehon
, at Cumberland Street, and John C. Granberry
, at Granby Street Church.
And then the Conference adjourned.
Pursuant to adjournment, the Conference met at 3¼ o'clock, Bishop Andrew
in the chair.
Prayer by Rev. J. D. Couling
apologized for arriving five minutes too late, on the ground that the delay was caused by a call at the residence of Dr. L. M. Lee
Rev. Chas. Hall
announced that the Treasurer
, D'Arcy Paul
, had left with him for settlement the contributions to the Missionary Society
, and the certificates of life membership.
The Conference then went into an election of delegates to the General Conference.
The votes of several absent members were allowed to be cast, these members having prepared their ballots and confided them to members of the Conference in attendance.
Upon the first ballot the following persons were elected; W. A. Smith
, D. S. Doggett
, L. M. Lee
, G. W. Langhorne
, J. E. Edwards
, Leonidas Rosser
, Henry B. Cowles
, W. W. Bennett
, J. D. Couling
, and Wm. B. Rowzie Messrs. Spiller
, and Bain
were granted leave of absence.
And then the Conference adjourned with the benediction.
The Conference assembled at half-past 7 o'clock, in the basement of the Cumberland
street Church, and was called to order by Rev. H. B. Cowles
, who stated that the Bishop
had requested that he would preside at the evening session.
was in council with the Presiding Elders
Prayer was offered by Dr. Carter
It was resolved to proceed with the unfinished business, the election of delegates to the General Conference, and that a messenger be sent to the Presiding Elders
to bring their votes.
Three ballots were had without effecting an election, and on the fourth the Rev. Jos. H. Davis
was elected eleventh delegate.
It was resolved that three alternates be elected now, and upon the first ballot two were chosen, namely, Rev. James A. Dunean
and Rev. P. W. Archer
A ballot was then had for the third alternate, which resulted in no election, and another was about to be taken, when it was moved that the candidate receiving the highest number of votes upon the last ballot be declared elected — which motion prevailed; and thereupon Rev. John C. Granberry
was declared elected.
The Joint Board of Stewards made another and final report, which, on motion, was adopted by the Conference.
The Board distributed — dollars, which paid about sixty per cent, upon the claims before them — something less than the amount paid in previous years.
The dividend would have been very much smaller but for the action of sundry preachers, before noticed, who declined to prefer any claim for deficiencies, although with some these were great.
Rev. W. W. Bennett
gave notice that he was authorized to receive any moneys which any of the preachers had for W. T. Smithson
, of Washington city
An immediate meeting of the Distribution Committee
of the Relief Society was called, and the presiding officer being a member of that body, called the Rev. W. W. Bennett
to the chair.
Rev. L. S. Reid
, aided by the Conference Secretaries
, paid over to the preachers the several amounts allowed by the Board of Stewards, to the claimants upon their funds and when this was concluded, the Conference about nine o'clock, took a recess, to allow the Bible
and Tract Society to hold its annual meeting.
Rev. J. D. Blackwell
, called the society to order, and the Rev. Paul Whitehead
read the report of the Board of Managers.
Upon the motion to adopt this report an animated and protracted debate arose.
It was chiefly confined to our recommendation of the report, which was, that in view of the stringency of the times the collecting agency be discontinued.
After an hour's talk this feature of the report was stricken out and then the report adopted.
Immediately after the discussion about an agency was renewed and continued some time, but was terminated by a motion from Rev. P. F. August
to refer that matter to the Board of Managers
of the Society.
All the old officers of the society, from the President
down, were elected, and the society adjourned.
The Conference resumed its session; but as it was now about half past 10 o'clock, a motion to adjourn was put and carried, and the President
pronounced the benediction, and the members departed to their homes.
was preaching in two of the churches, that the room in which the meeting was held was small, and the night very unlikely, there were but few besides the ministers in attendance.
A few ladies and gentlemen did drop in, after the services in the churches were over.
Norfolk, Nov. 28, 1861.
The Conference adjourned to meet this morning at 9 o'clock, but it was very nearly half-past that hour when the Bishop
called the body to order; and even at that hour but a small part of the preachers were in their seats.
Religious services conducted by Rev. Jacob Manning
The character of Rev. C. F. N. Blogg
was examined and passed, and continued on trial as a missionary, without charge to the Missionary fund.
remarked that the war in the Southern
country had greatly interfered with the regular operations of the Church
.--Churches had been taken for hospitals, and from others people and pastors have been driven away by the enemy.
And yet there is all the greater need of the preaching of the gospel.
Religious instruction cannot, and must not be intermitted.
But, then, there is a difficulty.
The commerce of the country is in great measure suspended, and from circuits and stations the cry comes up, send us single men; we cannot support a married man. All very well if we only had single men to send, but it makes great trouble in a Conference like this, where there is so great a proportion of married men.
Now, I have a suggestion — there are many of you who tell us unless I can have such or such an appointment.
I cannot take work.
I wish I could meet the desires of all these brethren, but it is simply impossible, and I would advise these persons to rise upon the floor and frankly say my circumstances will not permit me to take work, ‘"leave me without an appointment at my own request"’ That seems to me the better course, and it will greatly relieve our embarrassment.--Then there is another thing I wish to say, there are a great many preachers in the army, I do not mean to say too many.
Perhaps there cannot be too many.
I am not sure that I may not have to fight myself.
The tide of war seems to be rolling towards my home, and I may have to shoot, although for many years I have not fired a gun even at a bird or squirrel.
But whether you have gone or shall go as Chaplain
, or in any other position, at least be a Christian while in the camp.
Otherwise, you had better keep out of the army.
Not every man who is called Chaplain
is useful in that calling.
On the contrary, there are men who are a curse to the regiment they serve.
Such as take a drink with the officers now and then, joke with the men, getting off now and then something not altogether seemly.
These men are not only of no service, but they are a nuisance and a curse.
The army would be better without them.
If then, you will go into the army, go there with the purpose to make such an exhibition of your Christianity as will commend it to all who look upon you, and so that your example will tend to leave the entire camp.
Honestly doing this you will serve the Church
and the country, and your God as well, and accomplish a vast amount of good.
A faithful Chaplain
is in condition to do the cause of Christ
great service, while an unfaithful one will inflict upon that cause infinite injury.
I am sorry to know there are these already in the army whose influence is not good.
On motion of Paul Whitehead
, the Conference proceeded to elect five clerical members of the Board of Managers
of the Bible
and Tract Society.
They were nominated and elected as follows: Paul Whitehead
, Nelson Head, J. D. Couling
, James A. Duncan
, and Dr. L. M. Lee
Rev. John C. Granberry
, from a sub-committee, to whom its preparation was committed, submitted a report on the Educational interests of the Church
The report briefly presented the condition, resources and patronage of the several institutions of learning under the supervision of the Conference.
There were seven or eight of these, all of which were, to some extent, suffering from the exigency of the war; but several reported a very creditable display of students.
The report concluded with sundry resolutions pertinent and growing out of the suggestions embodied in the paper.
Rev. Wm. B. Rowzie
, for three or four years agent of the Wester an College, addressed the Conference, giving an outline of his labors, and a detailed account of the present actual condition of the institution.
Dr. Wm. A. Smith
of Randolph Macon College, made some remarks explanatory of the military features engrafted upon the college.
Rev. Nelson Head
desired to be understood as not approving the new regime adopted for R. M. College, and believed that the expectations based upon these arrangements were visionary.
The report was adopted with the accompanying resolution.
The Committee of Conference with the messengers from the Virginia
Methodist Protestant Conference, submitted a report through the Rev. William Andrew Smith
The report presents resolutions which, in the first place, reciprocate the expressions of kindness and sympathy contained in the address brought to this body by the messengers, and requiring this body to appoint fraternal messengers to visit the Annual Conference
of the Methodist Protestant Church at its next session; and secondly, a recommendation that Messrs. Thompson
, and Woodhouse
attend the General Conference, with the view of establishing fraternal relations between the two General Conferences
Rev. W. W. Bennett
complained of the indefiniteness of the report; it left everything as before, while he had hoped that, after so many years of compliment between the two churches, they were now about to propound some distinct plan for the union of the churches.
replied, arguing that a distinct and unequivocal plan was shadowed forth in the report.
When I close this report the Rev. Morris Langhorne
is upon the floor addressing the Conference.