Free Christian Baptist Church of New Brunswick
|Extracts from the Minutes of the Annual General Conference Meetings of the Free Christian Baptist Church of New Brunswick relating to the Land Dispute between the residents of the 2nd Tier and the residents of the 3rd Tier in Jacksontown, Carleton County, N.B.|
July 1858—26th Conference @ Victoria:
"Committee appointed to visit the Church in Jacksontown—Elders B. Merritt, W.E. Pennington, and S. Hartt"
July 1859---27th Conference @ Studholm:
"The Committee appointed to visit the Church in Jacksontown, report that they attended to that duty without success".
July 1862---30th Conference @ Carleton:
"The matter of difficulty in the Second Church in Wakefield was discussed at considerable length. A number of resolutions were moved and lost. Finally the following was carried. RESOLVED,--That this Conference in view of all that has been said and done in reference to the cause of difficulty in the Second Church in Wakefield, think it best to let it lay over for another year with a recommendation that a disinterested Committee be appointed by this Conference, to visit both parties and labour with them to get them to comply with the resolution of last year’s Conference, the report of that committee to be decisive both in evidence and case. The resolution was passed, and Brethren Elisha Baker, and E.R. Parsons appointed to be the Committee with power to choose a third person."
July 1863---31st Conference @ Southampton:
"The Committee appointed by Conference last year to visit the Second Church in Wakefield, in connection with the difficulty there, submitted the following Report, which was received:--
The Committee to whom was referred the matter of difficulty in the Second Church in Wakefield, beg to submit the following as their Report.
Your Committee, in accordance with instructions received from this General Conference at its last yearly session, visited the parties in difficulty, and labored with them to induce them to comply with the Resolution of Conference, viz., to refer their difficulties to a Committee to be agreed upon and chosen by themselves. Both parties consented to comply with the requisition of Conference, but a disagreement arose between them in regard to the number of the Committee. Those upon the 2nd tier proposed to refer the matter to a Committee of three—one to be chosen by each of the parties, the third to be chosen by the two thus chosen. This proposition was rejected by those on the 3rd tier.
A proposition was then made by those on the 3rd tier, that the members of the Committee be twelve; but subsequently they were willing to reduce the number to six. This was objected to by the 2nd tier. Another proposition was made by those on the 2nd tier, in which they were unanimous that the whole matter of dispute be referred to the Surveyor General, and that his decision be final. The 3rd tier, after considering the proposition one week, declined accepting it.
Your Committee deem it proper to state here that a difference of opinion exists between the 2nd and 3rd tier, as well as between those on the 3rd tier and your Committee, as to whether it was the intention of the General Conference, in the resolution governing this matter, to refer the entire matters of difficulty, both of Church and estate, or only the question of dispute in land. Those upon the 2nd tier, as well as your Committee, were of the opinion that it only embraced the question of dispute in land, especially as non-professors of religion were eligible to sit on the Committee. Your Committee were strengthened in their opinion by the impropriety of referring matters of Church discipline to such a Committee. Consequently, the question was narrowed down to the difficulty between the parties about land, and to those persons only who were directly interested therein.
Your Committee being unsuccessful in reconciling the parties in difficulties, in consequence of the disagreement and misunderstanding referred to, beg to refer the matter back to this General Conference, to be dealt with as you in your collective wisdom may deem proper".
"Woodstock, July 6th, 1863
After some discussion on the matter, it was
RESOLVED—That a Committee of five brethren, consisting of two elders and three laymen, be sent to the Second Church, Wakefield, to investigate the matter of disunion in the Church according to the law of the Bible, and make such decision in the matter as that law warrants, which decision shall be final.
Committee—Elders Merritt and Conner, brethren B. Palmer, L. Slip, and E.R. Parsons."
July 1864---32nd Conference @ Fredericton:
"The following Report was received from the Committee appointed by the General Conference last year, to visit the Second Church in Wakefield---
The Committee appointed by the last General Conference, to visit the Second Church in Wakefield, and investigate the cause of disunion give the following decision:--After hearing the case on both sides, we are unanimously of opinion that James Mallory, John DeWitt, and James York, were set aside from the Church in an unscriptural manner; they having not been called before a regular church meeting, and given an opportunity to defend themselves. And that W. Mallory and Josiah Mallory were improperly prohibited from exercising their gifts in the church. And that the meeting, in which action was taken in the expulsion and prohibition of the persons before referred to, was illegal; and that the paper dated Nov. 11, 1859, drawn by Elder Hartt, was uncalled for, from the fact that they had a church covenant which bound them to be governed by the Word of the Lord. And that those who acted in the matter were not justified in excluding those persons who did not sign the writing, without their having had a previous trial according to the Word of the Lord, and the common usage among us. We therefore decide that the church be placed in the same position it was immediately before that paper was written. We regret to say from the evidence presented, that much that is improper and unchristianlike has been done by individuals on both sides. And while we are willing to accord to Elder Hartt the intention and aim to labour for the best good of the people, yet we cannot resist the conclusion that he has erred in judgment in his acting among them.
We are pleased to know that those on the 2nd tier have conceded to the request of the 3rd tier, to have the land measured about which they have been in difference; thus removing a hitherto great barrier to a union among the church. We earnestly hope and pray that all minor differences may be dropped, that the entire church will come together, secure the labours of some man of God, and with him rally around the standard of the Cross, and unitedly with him sustain the cause of religion in the land.
Signed by the Committee
Leonard G. Slip
Benjamin S. Palmer
Wakefield, July 10, 1863"
July 1865---33rd Conference @ Coverdale:
"Considerable discussion arose upon the portion of the Report referring to matters connected with the Second Church in Wakefield. It was Voted that a Committee be appointed to whom this matter shall be referred, who shall submit their Report to-morrow morning, which Report shall be accepted or rejected by vote without discussion. The Committee to consist of brethren W. Peters, Otis J. Smith, and Elder Babcock…
The following is the Report of the Committee on matters connected with the Second Church inWakefield, which was submitted to the meeting, and unanimously adopted:
Your Committee appointed to report upon the action of Elders Hartt and Taylor, in dissolving and reorganizing the Second Church in Wakefield, and to complaint of certain parties formerly of said church, concerning such action, finding the claims so conflicting, and being forced into the belief that the opposing parties will not be likely to establish any platform whereby they can, in one church, unitedly labour for the best interests of the cause of God, and the most comfort to themselves; and believing that, inasmuch as said church was a member of the Second District Meeting, it had no power to dissolve without the consent or advice of the District Meeting, but inasmuch as Elders Hartt and Taylor, in our opinion, did dissolve said church, believing it to be the only course left them to pursue, to save the church and effect a union among the greatest number;--
THEREFORE RESOLVED, That under the circumstances, this Conference does sustain the action of Elders Hartt and Taylor, in reorganizing said church, and recommend such as are not free to join the new church, to organize another church; and
FURTHER RESOLVED, That in the event of another church being formed, it shall be known as the 2d Wakefield church; and when a new house, in connection with this General Conference, is built, the present newly reorganized church shall pay to the new church or church to be formed, when such house is finished, the sum of one hundred and twenty dollars, giving bonds to this Conference immediately for the payment of the same; also
RESOLVED, That this Conference recommend the Second District Meeting to receive said church or churches; and furthermore
RESOLVED, That this Conference to not admit the principle that any church has authority to dissolve itself without the consent of the District Meeting to which it belongs, and do not admit the above as a precedent, but allow it, and only allow it, under these peculiar circumstances.
July 1866---34th Conference @ Victoria Corner:
"While in Committee of the Whole, matters connected with the 2d Church, Wakefield, were introduced, when the following Preambles and Resolutions were adopted;---
WHEREAS, The vote of the Second District meeting, at its last session, in receiving the Second and Third bodies as Churches, was not strictly constitutional---
THEREFORE RESOLVED, That the vote of the District Meeting be considered void, and the Churches referred to be as they were left by the last General Conference; and further RESOLVED, That no future action be taken by this Conference relative to the matter.
WHEREAS, This Conference, in a Resolution passed in the session at Coverdale, July, 1865, did require of the Church 3d tier Jacksontown, to pay the sum of $120 to the body referred to in said Resolution---
THEREFORE RESOLVED, That the Church 3d tier shall not be bound for the payment of the above sum for a longer period than three years from this date, provided the body referred to, do not within that time build a house in accordance with the Resolution referred to."
July 1868---36th Conference @ Springfield:
"Your Committee on Letters respectfully reports, that there has been but one letter handed us. This is from the Clerk of the 2d church, Jacksontown, stating that said church expects this General Conference to pay them the sum specified in a resolution passed by General Conference at Coverdale; stating also that they have built a house of worship 52 x 45 and 16 feet post, and that they intend to open it for Divine service on the 19th of this month. Your Committee, in view of fact that the 1st church, Jacksontown, did accept and provide for the carrying out of the resolution of Conference above referred to, and have given to the Conference their written obligation for a certain sum of money to be paid to the Conference, to be used for the object stated in the resolution, would recommend that this Conference instruct the Board of Managers, in whose possession the obligation is, to collect the amount and pay over the same to the 2d church, Jacksontown.
Secretary to Committee"
Oct 1869---37th Conference @ Presque Isle, Car. Co.:
The Board of Managers report that "the Titles of property in our hands are: Two separate deeds of a lot of land in Wakefield, known as the Lower Jacksontown meeting house lot, both registered in Woodstock, July 20th, 1855…Besides these, we have a Bond, signed by a number of persons in Wakefield, Carleton County, which still remains unsettled."
Oct 1870---38th Conference @ Hampstead:
"RESOLVED, That Rev. G.A. Hartley be appointed a Committee to visit the brethren in Wakefield who gave a Bond to this General Conference in 1866, to labor in trying to get the whole business adjusted and settled, and to use his judgment in the matter, with full power to do as he thinks best; and that his travelling expenses be paid from the funds of this Conference."
Oct 1871---39th Conference @ St. John:
"REPORT OF COMMITTEE TO JACKSONTOWN---Your Committee appointed to visit the brethren in Wakefield, whose Bond this Conference has, for several years, held, and to try to get the whole business therewith corrected, adjusted and settled, begs to report that he has attended to that duty.
Your Committee was kindly received by all the brethren who were held responsible by the Bond, and had no difficulty in collecting an equal proportion ($15 each) of the $120 (the amount of the Bond) from six of the eight parties. Changes in the circumstances of the other two appeared to your Committee sufficient to justify him in taking from those brethren just what they thought they could give, and he settled with them accordingly. The parties to whom the money was to be paid, however, refused to close the matter up for any less sum than the $120, and being anxious that this Conference should spend no more time with this affair, your Committee drew on the Treasurer of the Conference for the sum of $18.70 hoping the Conference would justify the act, and paid the whole amount of $120, for which he has a receipt cancelling all claims and wholly closing up the transaction.
G.A. Hartley, Committee
October 9th, 1871"