1902 Ministerial Convention Minutes



Thirteenth Annual Ministerial Convention.

The Thirteenth Annual Ministerial Convention of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ of the Pennsylvania Conference convened in Faith Chapel, Tenth and Oley Streets, Reading, Pa., on October 16, 1902.

The Chairman, Elder W. K. Ziegler, opened the convention at 9 A. M. by singing and prayer, followed by the enrollment of members, after which the minutes of last year’s Convention were read and received.

Elder W. K. Ziegler gave an address of welcome.

Resolved, That all members of the Annual Conference be voting members, and all other members present advisory members.

The Convention bar shall occupy the first three pews and one amen corner of the church.

Upon request the chairman appointed Elders H. B. Musselman, C. H. Brunner and P. Y. Foltz a committee to decide which of the essays, if any, shall be published in the “Gospel Banner.”

The following essays were then read, discussed and received:

“The Characteristics of an Applicant for the Ministry,” by Elder W. K. Ziegler.

An applicant must have a call of God, definite, clear as the noonday sun. This call does not change, even if he is set back for three years, or rejected by his brethren. Having a spirit of sacrifice for God’s work, contented, waiting upon God; as God sees fit, place or no place to preach, he will not back-slide. If one is called to the ministry, the class will find it out. They are men who are boss, not the wife. Raise their children according to the Bible, having principle for God’s work all through, not entangled with the affairs of this life. He shall be the husband of one wife. He is called forever, called to stay in the harness; a character contented if put to the hardest place. He is not supposed to be soft, but stable in the Lord.

“The Pastor in his Study and Home,” by Elder E. T. Shick.

The pastor is to study as Paul writes to Timothy, Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God. He is to study to show himself approved unto God; must know God’s will before he can do it and in order to know His will he may have to study or meditate until God reveals His will and His smiles of approbation. I am afraid many of the so-called pastors are studying to show themselves approved by men instead of unto God. One approved of God is one who seeks to glorify God. The Bible instead of the daily paper first in the morning. He is not to be a religious bum, to bum on his people to get out of them what is in them.

Timothy maybe could not preach a text, but he could rightly divide the Word of God, which was far better. Let the Bible be the most prominent book in the study, and secondarily might study men’s expositions. A pastor should be sober, manly, pleasant in his home to his wife and family. He is not to pick out a house for his own taste, so that the class is almost unable to make up the rent; especially if he preaches self-denial from the pulpit. He is to depend upon God for wisdom and have control of the entire family. The forenoon session closed by singing the Doxology.

Second Session, 1.45 P. M.

Opened by singing and prayer by Eld. R. D. Dreisbach.

After the roll call, the minutes of the forenoon session were read and received.

The questions were answered by Elders H. B. Musselman and G. A. Campbell.

An essay by Elder W. G. Gehman, on “The Model Pastor’s Wife.” By a Model we understand anything of a particular form, shape, or construction; intended imitation, something to be copied; a pattern, a mold. (Webster.) Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies Prov. 31:10. This proves the scarcity of the Model kind.

The single woman in a class gets so intensely spiritual upon receiving a single minister, and lags behind upon receiving a married minister, will not make model wives for pastors.

Those who become so unduly modest and reserved, and jealous of those forward ones, who perhaps engage the attention of the single ministers, are very apt to become jealous wives.

One too easily persuaded and pressed into any sort of a mold, being too confidential; loving at first sight, sticking to any masculine object like a leech, are not commendable.

A model pastor’s wife, should be a pattern to the women of a class and community.

For some qualities of a model wife, turn to Prov. 31:11-31. She ought to be economic, a house-keeper. She need not be professional cook, confining half loaves of bread and quarters of pies to swill pails; but she should look well to the ways of the household; A wife who says it is cheaper to buy bread than to bake it, must have a tired feeling.

She ought to make her own clothes, trim her hats as nice as a Christian’s hat needs to be. She fixes the clothes of her husband. It is the wife’s part to get breakfast and not the husband.

She desires the husband’s assistance in household duties as little as possible, but encourages him to attend pastoral work.

She must not be double minded, she has to take a stand with him. She ought not to be afraid to Amen the truth her husband preaches She must not get too intimate with people readily.

She must pleasantly accept the people without Partiality.

“The pastor’s behavior and Work among saved and unsaved,” by R. D. Dreisbach.

He is to behave, not to loaf and lounge around, but be straight for God; a pattern for the class as well as for those who are out of Christ. A collection was taken for the expenses of the Convention.

A discussion opened by Elder J. G. Shireman on “Our Home Missionary Work.”

A discussion opened by Elder E. N. Cassel on “The Foreign Missionary Work of our Church.”

Resolved, That a man be appointed by the chairman on the question box instead of W. B. Musselman who was absent. Elder W. J. Fretz was appointed in his stead. The session closed with Benediction by W. K. Ziegler

Evening Session, 7.30 P. M.

Opened by singing and prayer by Elder R. D. Dreisbach. After roll call the questions were answered by Presiding Elder C. H. Brunner and Elder W. J. Fretz.

Resolved, That Bros. Farensworth and Fehr be received as advisory members.

Resolved, That we elect the Officers for the next Ministerial Convention this evening. The following were elected: E. N. Cassel. Chairman, and R. L. Woodring, Secretary. Committee to arrange program: C. H. Brunner, H. B. Musselman and E. T. Shick.

Resolved, That the next Ministerial Convention be held a day prior to the next annual Conference and at the same place.

A liberal collection for the labor and expenses for the secretary was lifted amounting to $3. 26. Thanks.

An Essay by Elder R. L. Woodring on the “Signs of the Times,” was read, received and discussed. Speaking of Signs (Biblically) we say first. A remarkable event produced by divine or supernatural power; miracle, wonder. Second, a miraculous deed as a mark of proof of divine commission. As many signs and wonders were done by the apostles. People are willingly ignorant concerning the “Signs of the Times.” “Physical signs:” The powers of heaven will be shaken, the sun and moon clouded the earth swept by cyclones and storms. A record breaking of famines, pestilence and earthquakes in divers places. Statistics of 1902 give I,482,000 souls killed and destroyed through earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, of which 754,000 being killed in the last two centuries.

“Intellectual or Scientific Signs,” see Daniel 12:4 Amos 3:7, an age of Locomotion, Navigation, Exploration, Discovery, Inventions, knowledge increased, Railway from Joppa to Jerusalem, been put on paying business.

Construction of trolley lines. Inventions of winning ways to moralize people. Political schemes. Societies causing distress and misery in thousands of homes. “Social Signs.” Lawlessness against authority in family, church and state, and treasonable combination. “Jewish Signs.” A great revival of Evangelistic zeal in speaking the Gospel Restoration of the Jews in part. All a sign of the day approaching.

Resolved, That we tender hearty thanks, by a rising vote to the members of the Reading class for their kindness and hospitality shown us during this convention session. The minutes of the afternoon and evening session were read and received. The committee on Publication recommended that the following essays be published in the Gospel Banner: W. K. Ziegler, W. G. Gehman, R. L. Woodring. The report was received.

The session was closed by prayer by E. W. Martin.

W. K. Ziegler, Chairman

J. G. Shireman, Secretary


C. H. Brunner

H. B. Musselman

E. N. Cassel

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