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CONSTITUTION AND RULES OF THE ASSOCIATION.
I. NAME. This body shall be called the GENERAL AssociaTION OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.
II. MEMBERS. This Association shall be composed of delegates from the several District Associations of Ministers, and from Conferences of Churches, in the following proportions ; pamely, one minister for every seven members of a Ministerial Association, and one layman for every seven churches belonging to a Conference of Churches : Provided, that
Association and every Conference shall have one delegate. If a fraction of four or more members exists, the body having such fraction shall be entitled to an additional delegate. The pastor of the church with whom the Association meets, the permanent officers of the Association, and members of such committee as reported to it, with a representative of the Faculty of Dartmouth College, shall be members ex-officiis. Seven members shall constitute a quorum.
III. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES. 1. It is ever to be understood that the system of Scripture doctrine contained in the Assembly's Shorter Catechism is the basis of our union in this Association. Hence every Association and every Conference in this State, receiving these doctrines as the Christian faith, is invited to unite in this body.
2. This General Association wholly disclaims ecclesiastical power or authority over the churches, or the opinions of individuals.
3. The essential objects of the Association are "to promote brotherly intercourse and harmony, and our mutual animation, assistance and usefulness as ministers and churches of Christ; to obtain religious information relative to the state of our particular churches, and the general state of the Christian Church in this country and throughout the world; and to coöperate with other similar institutions in the most eligible measures for building up the cause of truth and holiness.
IV. MEETING AND ORGANIZATION. 1. This Association shall meet annually, on the fourth Tuesday of August, at 10 o'clock A. M., in such place as shall be designated at the preceding meeting, and notified by the Secretary, and be opened with a sermon by a minister appointed by one of the District A880ciations in rotation.
2. At the close of this service the preacher shall take the chair and preside until a moderator is chosen. The Secretary
shall read the certificates of delegates, and report the names of members; when the Association shall be organized by the choice of a Moderator, a Scribe, and, if necessary, an Assistant Scribe, by ballot.
V. PERMANENT OFFICERS AND STATISTICS. 1. The Secretary shall be chosen by ballot for three years from the close of tho meeting at which the choice shall be made. He shall keep a record of the proceedings of this body, prepare an outline of business, preserve schedules and narratives of the state of religion ; bave charge of the archives, and conduct the correspondence of this body. He shall be allowed his expenses for correspondence and attendance on the meetings of this body.
2. A Statistical Secretary shall be chosen by ballot for three years from the first day of November following his appointment. He shall procure the statistics of the churches through the Statistical Scribes of the several Conferences, complete and arrange them for publication, and present them in that form, and properly combined in a summary, at each session of the General Association. He shall superintend their printing, and be a member of a publishing committe. The Statistical Secretary shall be the Treasurer of the Association, and be empowered to receive and pay out such sums of money as the body may direct. He shall be allowed his expenses for correspondence and attendance on the meetings of this body.
3. Each Conference connected with this body is requested to appoint a Statistical Scribe, to collect the statistics of the churches within its bounds, in methods designated by this body, and under the direction of tbe Statistical Secretary of the General Association. In case any Conference shall fail to appoint such a scribe prior to the 1st day of May, the Statistical Secretary may designate some person to act in this capacity for the year.
4. The statistical returns, with respect to the number in the churches, shall be made out according to a printed schedule of this body, and according to the numbers at the end of the statistical year, which shall commence with the 1st of June.
VI. VACANCIES. In case of the decease of either of the permanent officers, or his removal from the State, the duties of his office shall devolve on his associate. Should both offices be thus vacated, the scribe of the preceding meeting is authorized to act in their stead.
VII. COMMITTEES. At each meeting of the Association, and near the organization, the following committees shall be chosen by ballot:
1. A Committee of Arrangements, consisting of one minister, one layman, and the pastor at the place of meeting, shall be appointed, who shall prepare and arrange the business of the
session; and no business shall be introduced without their consent. But if the committee shall decline presenting any item of business requested by a member, he may appeal from their decision to the Association.
2. A committee of three, called Committee of Nominations, shall be appointed, to designate an auditor, and make all other nominations not otherwise provided for.
3. A Committee on Narratives and an Address to the Churches. A committee of two shall be appointed annually, to receive the narratives and statements concerning the state of religion, which shall be furnished by the several Conferences as early as the 1st of July, and condense the same into one narrative, to be read before the Association and published in the Minutes. This committee shall subsequently prepare a Pastoral Address on some topic affecting the general interests of religion and the welfare of the churches, which shall be submitted to the next annual meeting of this Association, and, if approved, published by them and sent to the churches.
4. A committee of three, to be called the Committee of Inquiry, the members of which shall reside within the limits of one Conference, shall be appointed annually, to prepare a schedule of questions for discussion by the Association, at the meeting of the following year. These questions shall be submitted to the Secretary, and two or more published under his direction. In this connection the Secretary shall designate the Associations which sball furnish one speaker on each question so publisbed.
5. The Scribes of the Association and the Statistical Secre. tary, and such other person as they may select, shall be a Committee of Publication. They shall revise and publish such extracts of the Minutes as they may deem proper, and order such number of copies printed as the Association shall direct. The Statistical Secretary shall send a copy of the Minutes to each minister and each church connected with this Associa. tion, and copies to other ecclesiastical bodies, in numbers as shall be mutually agreed upon.
VIII. ORDER AND RULES OF PROCEEDING. 1. Tuesday forenoon, after the opening sermon, shall be devoted to organization, choice of committees, and business of the Association. Tuesday afternoon, two hours may be appropriated to bearing the narrative of the state of religion, to addresses and statements on the same subject, and the reading of the Pastoral Letter; after which delegates from corresponding bodies shall be heard.
2. Wednesday forenoon. The Association will devote an hour to bearing reports from their delegates to foreign bodies. Then time shall be appropriated to hearing reports and addresses respecting the operations and prospects of our benevolent in
stitutions; commencing with the New Hampshire Bible Society, and followed by other societies and institutions in such order and for such length of time as the Association shall direct.
Wednesday afternoon. At 2 o'clock the Association shall give place to the anniversary of the New Hampshire Branch of the Education Society, and hear the report of its Secretary, including a presentation of the religious condition of Dartmouth College. At 4 o'clock the anniversary of the New Hampshire Sabbath School Union.
Wednesday evening shall be devoted to the discussion of the questions submitted by the Committee of Inquiry, and previously published by the Secretary. The speakers opening the debate may occupy fifteen minutes.
3. Thursday forenoon. At 10 o'clock the Association will give place to the anniversary exercises of the New Hampshire Missionary Society.
Thursday afternoon. At 2 o'clock the Association will attend religious services, in which a sermon shall be delivered by a minister previously appointed, and our Lord's death commemorated in the Sacrament of the Supper.
4. Other devotional services may be appointed by the Committee of Arrangements, with the consent of the Association.
IX. Rules. At the hour of meeting in the morning the Moderator shall take the chair, call the members to order, direct the roll to be called, open the session with prayer, and cause the minutes of the preceding day to be read. Each session shall be closed with prayer or singing.
2. No motion shall be discussed unless seconded. No member shall speak more than twice to the same motion, without liberty from the Association. Any motion or resolution shall, at the request of the Moderator, or any two members, be reduced to writing.
3. The Moderator may speak on points of order, in preferepce to other members; and shall decide questions of order, subject to an appeal to the house by any two members. But he shall not speak on the merits of a question without leaving the chair, and calling some one else to preside while he speaks.
4. When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received, except for adjournment, amendment, postponement, .commitment, or the previous question-namely, Shall the main question be now put? The effect of adopting the previous question shall be to put an end to debate and bring the Association to a direct vote upon amendments reported by a committee, if any, upon pending amendments, and then upon the main question.
5. If a question under debate contain several parts, any member may have it divided, and a question taken an each part.
6. Every member, when speaking, shall address himself to the chair, and shall be subject to no needless interruption. If he act disorderly, it shall be the duty of the Moderator, and the privilege of other members, to call him to oder.
7. No member shall leave the Association before the session is closed, except with the consent of the body; nor shall any one leave the house during a sitting, without the consent of the Moderator.
X. CORRESPONDENCE. 1. This Association will maintain a fraternal intercourse with other ecclesiastical bodies, so far as this shall be deemed consistent with the principles of our organization, by the appointment and interchange of delegates. Representatives from ecclesiastical bodies with whom we are in correspondence shall have the privilege of sitting with us, and participating in our deliberations, as honorary members.
2. The District Associations are requested to nominate delegates to foreign bodies in accordance with the schedule printed herewith, sending up their nominations, for confirmation, by delegates to this body. If any Association fails to nominate, the committee on nominations shall do it.
3. Delegates to foreign bodies may exchange their appointments, when, by so doing, one or both will be enabled to fill the appointment personally. The same delegate may be appointed to more than one foreign body; and any regularly chosen delegate may represent us in any State west of NewYork, in the absence of the delegate appointed to that body.
4. The Secretary of the Association, on information that the delegate appointed will fail to represent us, he may appoint any minister or layman, in our churches, to discharge this service.
5. The printed Minutes of the Association shall be sufficient testimonial of the appointment of delegates to corresponding bodies. In case any delegate is unable to attend, in person or by substitute, in accordance with the preceding rules, it shall be his duty to forward a written communication to the corresponding body to which be was appointed.
XI. EXPENSES. The cost of printing the Minutes, and other necessary expenses of this Association, shall be defrayed by assessments, apportioned among the several Conferences uniting in this organization, according to the number and relative strength of the churches belonging to each; and the Treasurer of each Conference shall be responsible to the Treasurer of the General Association for the amount so assessed.
XII. AMENDMENTS. Any of the foregoing articles, except the fundamental rules, may be amended or annulled at a regular meeting of this body, in which two thirds of the Associations and Conferences are represented, by a majority of the members voting.