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Rev. John Dudley, of Wisconsin, brought the congratulations of the churches of Wisconsin.
The following resolution was passed by a unanimous vote :
Resolved, That this Association tender their hearty thanks to the people of Bristol for their kind and generous hospitality, in entertaining this body and its friends at this meeting; and to the choir of this church for their valuable services; that the Secretary be instructed to express to the following Railroad Companies--Boston, Concord & Montreal, Concord with its branches, and Northern Road and its branches and connections —the sincere thanks of this Association for reduction of fares to persons attending this meeting ; also to the Committee of Arrangements for their services.
Voted, That at the close of the communion service the Association stand adjourned to meet on the Tuesday after the second Sabbath in September, 1873.
Voted to adjourn to 12 o'clock.
A committee of three, as follows, was appointed to nominate officers: Rev. J. G. Davis, D. D., Rev. J. K. Young, D. D., Dea. J. R. Hills.
The report of the Treasurer, L. D. Stevens, was read and accepted.
Rev. Wm. Clark, D. D., Secretary, read his report. Accepted and adopted. Voted that the report be printed under the direction of the Trustees.
Remarks were made by Rev. Isaac Willey, Dea. Geo. S. Dean, Rev. H. M. Stone, Rev. A. Tobey, D. D., Rev. C. E. Milliken, Rev. Charles Seccombe, Rev. Geo. Dustan, Hon. L. D. Stevens, Rev. S. L. Blake, Rev. W. R. Jewett.
Recommendations, as follows, were accepted and adopted :
Voted, That we recommend to the Trustees of the New-Hampshire Missionary Society to adopt, so far as practicable, the plan of enlisting the aid of the stronger churches in behalf of specific feeble churches ; and that, when it is impossible for the time to procure the permanent services of ministers to labor in
the feeble churches, systematic effort be made to supply them.
The following outline of a plan is suggested :
1. That the Trustees and Secretary be requested to district the State into Conferences or adjoining Conferences, and secure some pastor to act as Superintendent of the district.
2. Tbat the Superintendent, acting in conjunction with the Secretary, visit the churches and arrange to supply their pulpits by definitely engaging each local pastor to give one Sabbath-calling on unemployed ministers and teachers in our academies, students in our colleges and academies, and others, personally-endeavoring to enlist them in this work, promising small but certain pay from the New Hampshire Missionary Society.
The following officers were elected: President, Asa D. Smith, D.D., LL. D. ; Vice President, Hon. J. E. Sargent; Secretary, Rev. Wm. Clark, D. D. ; Treasurer, Hon. L. D. Stevens ; Auditors, John Kimball, Esq., W. W. Storrs, Esq.; Trustees for three years, Hon. Milan Harris, Rev. W. R. Jewett, Rev. H. A. Hazen.
Prayer was offered by Rev. S. L. Blake.
AFTERNOON. Rev. E. H. Greeley preached the sermon before the communion. Text, John 13: 14. Subject–Service. Rev. H. M. Stone and Rev. Q. Blakely officiated at the table.
S. L. BLAKE, Moderator. A. B. PEABODY, Scribe. WM. O. CARR, Assistant Scribe.
NARRATIVE OF THE STATE OF RELIGION.
It is a great blessing to be permitted to assemble, as we do to-day, for consultation respecting the highest privileges, and the holiest, most important work entrusted to man. Once a year seems hardly often enough to gather the churches of the State for such Christian fellowship. Certainly it would not be, if we did not meet more frequently in smaller local bodies for the same purpose. The record of one year of Chi istian service and blessing must be in many respects like that of another. But these highest subjects, unlike many others, are always new to those who love them. To speak often one to another, publicly and privately, about our work, is a help to every true minister and every warm-hearted Christian. Not our joys only, and the fulfillment of our hopes, are profitable for communication, but there is encouragement in finding that praying, working Christians everywhere encounter the same difficulties with ourselves.
We are permitted this year to add one new name to the sisterhood of churches represented by this Association, viz., that of Milton Mills, organized September 26, 1871. It is called the Union Evangelical Church of Milton Mills, and its aim is to include all Christian believers in the town; and what is this but the very genius of Congregationalism?
Change and death have been busy the past year, as usual, among our ministry. Some valued brethren have left the pulpits of our State, and some who are a real acquisition have been received.
Only two ministers who were in active service in the State, have died during the year, viz., Rev. Reuben Kimball, of North Conway, aged 69, and Rev. Benjamin F. Ray, of New Ipswich, aged 48 ; both men beloved for Christian fidelity and worth. Three others have died, whose names should be mentioned here, viz., Rev. Charles W. Richardson, for some time
past without charge, and a resident of Canaan, who died November 16, 1871, aged 70; Rev. Dr. Ezra E. Adams, a native of East Concord, a graduate of Dartmouth College, and for some time pastor of the Pearl St. Chtirch in Nashua, who died in Pennsylvania November 3, 1871, aged 58; and Rev. Harrison 0. Howland, who passed much of his ininisterial life at Warner and Chester, N. H., and died at Kinderhook, N. Y., February 13, 1872, aged 59. While we mourn the loss of these brethren, we give thanks for their example and their work, and think of them as having entered into a higher fellowship in the heavenly kingdom.
In reporting the condition and work of the churches, we shall speak first of the things relating to their external prosperity, and afterwards of their spiritual conflicts, trials, joys, and victories.
We name first such churches as report the payment of debts ; since this is the true preparation for every other form of outward good. Tilton reports that most of an old debt has been removed, and as is natural, an increased feeling of financial ability prevails. The church at Goffstown has liquidated some $250 of debt on the parsonage, (mainly through the noble efforts of one of the mothers in Israel,) besides the purchase of a cabinet organ for the Sabbath School, and the gift of some $1,100 in money and clothing to the sufferers by the fires in Michigan.
Lyndeborough has paid off about $400 of debt.
The Pearl St. Church in Nashua, strengthed by having received once more a pastor, has paid off a debt of $4,500. The financial condition of the society is said to be better than for several years past.
Of churches which have paid debts, none deserves more credit than the little feeble one of Alton. Of its twenty-six members, only five are men, and not one of them resides in the town ; but through the noble efforts of Christian ladies, a debt of about $550 has been paid, and now they are moving in the matter of a parsonage, rightly thinking that this will aid them to secure a permanent pastor.
In this connection we state what is reported from other churches in regard to the securing of parsonages.
Says Rev. Mr. Page, of Atkinson, after speaking of the valuable service rendered to the church there by students from Andover Seminary: "Yet it is very desirable that there should be a stated ministry; and for this end an effort is being made to raise funds for a parsonage, with an encouraging prospect of success.”
The church in Lee is engaged in a similar effort.
Warner has provided, at an expense of about $2,400, a commodious and very pleasant parsonage, to which the ladies have generously added some comforts.
The new parsonage at Hampstead was named last year, but it may here be added, that it has cost somewhat over $3,000, of which sum, the late Joseph Chase, senior deacon of the church, gave $1,068. He was one of those, of whom we have many in our churches, and need many more, who make expenditures for the Lord's work not the last, but the first thing in their plans. Says the report: "He lived to see this enterprise completed, and the society once more through its Annual Meeting with a clean balance-sheet—a condition of things, financially, in which the good deacon thoroughly believed.”
At Dalton a parsonage has been purchased by the ladies.
At Chester a very commodious parsonage has been built, costing with the grounds $4,200; and at Farmington one at an expense of $4,500. It deserves special note that this has been done at Farmington in addition to the erection within two years of a church which, with organ, bell, and all modern improvements, cost $25,000.
We name now the expenditures reported by the churches for the improvement of church edifices, and various other enterprises which enable them to prosecute Christian work with greater efficiency.
Bristol reports about $300 expended in repairs and improvement of the church ; Jaffrey between $300 and $400; Auburn $200; Orford $150; Dartmouth College church $200.
Orfordville reports $260 expended upon the parsonage ; Lyme $125 for the same purpose ; and North Hampton $200. At Alstead Centre the parsonage has been repainted and otherwise improved.