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Accordingly, the design of this communication is to express disinclination to variety, any further, than it is called for by variety of subject and of state of mind.
No. 36. Page 268.
Constitution of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society
of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, us established in 1820, and amended in 1823, 1829, 1832, and 1835.
ARTICLE I. This institution shall be denominated “the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America."
Art. II. The society shall be considered as comprehending all persons who are members of this Church.
Art. III. At every triennial meeting of the General
ART Convention, which is the constituted representative body of the whole Protestant Episcopal Church in these United States, there shall be appointed, by a concurrent vote, on nomination by a joint committee of the two houses, a board of thirty members, who, together with the bishops of this Church, and such persons as became patrons of the society before the meeting of the General Convention in the year 1829, shall be called the “ Board of Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America." The said committee of nomination shall consist of three bisliops, to be elected by ballot in the House of Bishops, and three presbyters and three laymen, to be elected by ballot in the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies.
ART. IV. To the Board of Missions shall be intrusted the supervision of the general missionary operations of the Church, with power to establish missionary stations, appoint Inissionaries, make appropriations of money, regulate the conducting of anissions, fill any vacancies in their number which may occur, and also to enact all by-laws which they may decm necessary for their own government and the government of their committees. Art. V. The presiding bishop of the Church shall be
. the president of the board; and in his absence, the senior bishop prescut shall preside; in the absence of all the bishops, the board shall elect a president pro tempore.
ART. VI. The Board of Missions shall hold its first meeting on the call of the presiding bishop, and shall meet annually thereafter at such time and place as may have been appointed at the previous annual meeting ; and also on the second day of the meeting of the General Convention, at the place of its meeting. They shall publish an annual report of their proceedings for the information of the society, and present a triennial report to each stated General Convention.
At all meetings of the board, ten members shall form a quorum.
Special meetings of the board may be called as shall be provided in their own by-laws.
ART. VII. The board, as soon as may be after it has been constituted, shall proceed to appoint eight persons, four of whom shall be clergymen, and four of whom shall be laymen, who, together with the bishop of the diocese in which the committee is located, shall be a Committee for Domestic Missions; and eight persons, four of whom shall be clergymen, and four of whom shall be lamen, who, together with the bishop of the diocese in which the committee is located, shall be a Committee for Foreign Missions; all of whom shall be ex officio members of the Board of Missions.
Any bishop or bishops present at the place of meeting, shall have a right ex officio to attend the meetings of the committee, as members of the same.
Vacancies occurring in either of the committees, during the recess of the board, may be filled by the committees respectively, subject to the approval of the board at its next meeting.
ART. VIIJ. To the committees of the board thus constituted, shall be referred, in their respective departments, during the recess of the board, the whole administration of the general missionary work of the Church, subject to the regulations of the board. Each committee shall make a report of their proceedings to the Board of Missions at every meeting of the board. ART. IX. The Board of Missions shall appoint for each
. committee a secretary and general agent, with a suitable salary, who shall be the executive officer of the committee, to collect information, to conduct its correspondence, to devise and recommend plans of operation, and, in general, to execute all the purposes of the board, in his proper sphere, submitting all his measures, before their adoption, to the committee for whom he is appointed, for their approval.
Each committee shall also appoint a treasurer. And the board shall designate which of the treasurers so appointed shall be authorized to receive all moneys not specifically appropriated, which moneys shall be at the disposal of the board.
The secretaries and treasurers shall be ex officio members of their respective committees, and of the board.
Local and subordinate agents and officers may, when necessary, bc appointed by each committee.
ART. X. For the guidance of the committee it is de.clared, that the missionary field is always to be regarded as one, THE WORLD—the terms, domestic and foreign, being understood as terms of locality, adopted for convenience. Domestic missions are those which are established within, and foreign missions are those which are established without, the territory of the United States.
Art. XI. No clergyman shall be appointed a missionary by the board, or by either of the committees, without the recommendation of the ecclesiastical authority to whose diocese he belongs; nor shall any missionary be sent to officiate in any diocese, without the consent of the ecclesiastical authority of the same.
Art. XII. The Board of Missions provided for in the third article of this Constitution, shall in all cases be continued until a new board is elected.
Art. XIII. It is recommended to every member of this society to pray to ALMIGHTY GOD for his blessing upon its designs, under the full conviction that unless He direct us in all our doings with his most gracious favour, and further us with his continual help, we cannot reasonably hope to procure suitable persons to act as missionaries, or expect that their endeavours will be successful.
No. 37. Page 269.
It is expected that there will be brought before the ensuing General Convention, the question agitated in NewYork concerning the proposed division of that diocese. My present opinion, as to the principles which should goveru in that and in every similar case, is as follows:
I am in favour of the division of a diocese, whenever it is rendered expedient by extent of territory, and by Episcopalian population in point of number.
Where these circumstances combine, and the measure is consequently determined on, there is suggested the inquiry, shall the additional bishop be an assistant, or a suffragan, or the diocesan of a new diocese ?
If the demand be occasioned by the old age, or by the infirmities of the present bishop, the new one may be the most properly his assistant. Or, if the former should choose to continue his labours over the whole, although with the aid furnished, there is no principle in opposition. But much may depend on circumstances of expediency.
A suffragan bishop lias under his charge a portion of the diocese. He retains it in the event of the decease of the diocesan, whom he does not succeed. Such an arrangement may suit local preferences prevailing in Europe, but would be contrary to the habits of thinking generally prevailing in America. Among other resulting evils, it would probably happen, that the suffragan's taking of his place would be offensive to the district left, or to that to which he is to be transferred. If, to avoid this, he should be continued in the place of his former residence, there may be chosen to the diocesan Episcopacy a clergyman considerably junior to him, but made his superior by that measure. This would probably be painful to his feelings, and to those of a population who had been under his ministry through a loog tract of time. There would be, in their estimation, a surt of patriotism in resisting the degradation of the district in which they would be citizens.
The result of my speculations is the opinion, that in the case of a call for more than one bishop, in an extent of country now constituting a diocese, the most useful plan would be u division of it, the two portions to be as independent on one another as are now the Churches of any two states.
The question occurs, What would be the effect of this measure on our general organization? In answer, it may be stated, that both of the bishops of the two contemplated dioceses would have votes in the General Convention ; but that there would be required of it a legislative act, to enable cach of these bodies to send their clerical and their lay deputies.
Some may object to this, as giving to the Church in a single state, an increase of power beyond what is provided by the constitution, on other points. The objection would have weight, if the provisions of the constitution worc ac
commodated to the numbers of the Episcopalian population in the several parts of the union. When the constitution was framed, the public mind had not yet raised itself' above that excessive attachment to the peculiarities of the different states, which is in the way of consistent adherence in practice, to the principle contended for in theory, the founding of law on public will.
If there should ever happen a dissolution of the unity of our American Church, the deplorable event will probably be occasioned by the said inequality. There may occur questions having important bearings on our doctrine, or on our discipline, or on our worship. Measures may be adopted by a majority, according to the constitution, but dissented from by an acknowledged majority of our Episcopal popuJation. It can hardly be supposed, and is contrary to our observation of human nature, that the measures would be submitted to.
Whether the separation would be prevented by the fairer representation in the House of Bishops, cannot be foreseen. But here is a good reason not to object to the increase of their number, by the division of a diocese, or to an analogous provision for representation in the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies.
Since the penning of the opinion, it has been suggested to me, in favour of suffragan Episcopacy, that it would lessen the disadvantage likely to result from having an inconvenient number of members of the House of Bishops; which, it is said, may be prevented, in a degree at least, by excluding suffragans from that house, with the permission of their being chosen as clerical representatives for the other.
First. It would make but little difference, as we may suppose that the larger dioceses only will be divided.
Secondly. The permitting of suffragans in the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies, seems to nilitate with the principle, that legislation should be exclusively the act of all the orders of men whoin it concerns.
Thirdly. Where large dioceses become divided, each department having a larger Episcopal population than several of the entire dioceses, it is unfair that the bishops of the latter should be of a higher grade than that of the former, especially when the incongruity would be uggravated by great disparity of years.