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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20

Session III

Session III.

The Synod met and was constituted. The Moderator in the chair.

Minutes of former meeting read and confirmed.

It was agreed to appoint the University Committee a committee to consider the training of theological students.

Overture from Presbytery of Southland anent funeral services was called for and read. Mr. Stobo having been heard in its support, it was page 7 moved and seconded that the overture be adopted, and that "Whereas it has not been usual to have religious services at graves among Presbyterians in the mother country, and the practice is discountenanced by the directory for public worship; and whereas if the practice of having such services both at the house and the grave-yard were to become customary, ministers might be subjected to serious inconvenience, and run the risk of neglecting more important duties; this Synod declares that it is not desirable that this should become the ordinary practice of the Church, but leaves it free to ministers to have a religious service either at the house or at the grave, as they may deem it most expedient, or at both the house and the grave if any special circumstances should seem to render this advisable in any particular case."

It was also moved and seconded that the overture be not adopted, and that the "Synod recommend that the ministers of this Church hold religious service at the house of the deceased, and, when convenient, at the grave."

It was further moved and seconded, "That the overture be not adopted, and that the Synod, deeming it unnecessary to give any deliverance on the matter referred to therein, leave it to every minister to act according to his own judgment."

A vote having been taken between first and second amendments, there voted for the first 17, and for the second 24. A vote having been taken between the second amendment and the motion, there voted for the motion 9, and for the amendment 31. The amendment was declared carried accordingly.

Commissions were laid on the table in favor of Rev. J. Elmslie, Moderator of General Assembly of Presbyterian Church of New Zealand; Rev. Charles Fraser, Christchurch; and Rev. J. Kirkland, Hokitika; and Messrs. J. D. M'Pherson and J. L. M'Donald, elders—appointing them deputies to this Synod. It was resolved that the Moderator welcome the deputies present, and that they be associated with the Synod. Messrs. Elmslie and Fraser being present, were welcomed by the Mode-hator, and took their seats accordingly.

Returns to overture on Hasty Legislation having been called for, it was reported that all the Presbyteries disapproved of the overture, also eight Sessions, and that four Sessions approved.

It was resolved that the overture be not adopted.

Overtures from the Presbyteries of Dunedin and Southland anent the practice of the administration of Baptism were read, and Dr. Copland heard in support of the overture from Dunedin, and Mr. Stobo in support of that from Southland. Thereafter it was moved and seconded, "That the Synod having considered the overtures anent the administration of baptism, declares that the law authorises the administration of baptism only to those, and the children of those, who profess faith in Christ, and enjoins that any who, after due examination, may be judged fit to receive this privilege for their children, but who have not joined the Church as members in full communion, shall be placed on the roll of catechumens, or members on trial; that they shall be subject to the same jurisdiction and discipline as members in full communion, but shall page 8 in no ease have any voice in the management of the spiritual affairs of the Church until they shall have been admitted as members in full communion. That in the event of their leaving one congregation to connect themselves with another, they shall receive a certificate bearing that they are catechumens, or members on trial, and that their conduct has been consistent with such profession, and that the minister to whom they may apply be required to receive such certificate before admitting them to the privilege of baptism for their children. Further, the Synod declares that the law of the Church requires that baptism shall, in all ordinary cases be dispensed in public before the congregation, and enjoins that when, from special circumstances, a minister deems it right to dispense baptism in private, or in other places than the ordinary place of public worship, the reason why it was so administered shall be recorded on the minutes of the session."

It was also moved and seconded:—"Having considered the overtures anent baptism, declare that the principles of this Church are opposed to indiscriminate baptism, both as to subjects and place, and require that those receiving baptism for themselves or their children make credible profession of their faith in Christ and obedience to Him; and that the ordinance, when practicable, be administered in public; and enjoin the ministers of the Church to carry out these principles in their practice."

It was moved and seconded, that the motion and amendment be both sent down to presbyteries and sessions, in the form of overture, for consideration.

It was further moved that the two original overtures be sent down to presbyteries and sessions for consideration.

A vote having been taken between the two last amendments, the first was carried by a majority of 21 to 7. A vote was then taken between the amendment carried and the one preceding, when the former was adopted by a majority of 20 to 4. A vote was then taken between the original motion and the amendment, when the motion was carried by a majority of 17 to 13, and the motion ordered to be embodied into an overture and sent down to presbyteries.

Adjourned, to meet in this place tomorrow at 11 o'clock a.m.

Closed with prayer.