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3. Therein let us give ourselves to prayer for one another, and for a blessing on our labor.
Of the General Conference.
Quest. Who shall compose the General Conference, and what are the regulations and powers belonging to it?
Answ. 1. The General Conference shall be composed of one member for every twenty-one members of each annual conference, to be appointed either by seniority or choice, at the discretion of such annual conference: yet so that such representatives shall have travelled at least four full calendar years from the time that they were received on trial by an annual conference, and are in full connexion at the time of holding the conference.
2. The General Conference shall meet on the first day of May, in the year of our Lord 1812, in the city of New-York, and thenceforward on the first day of May once in four years perpetually, in such place or places as shall be fixed on by the General Conference from time to time but the general superintendents, with or by the advice of all the annual conferences, or if there be no general superintendent, all the annual conferences respectively, shall have power to call a General Conference, if they judge it necessary, at any time.
3. At all times when the General Conference is met, it shall take two-thirds of the
representatives of all the annual conferences to make a quorum for transacting business. 4. One of the general superintendents shall preside in the General Conference; but in case no general superintendent be present, the General Conference shall choose a president pro tem.
5. The General Conference shall have full powers to make rules and regulations for our Church, under the following limitations and restrictions, namely:
1. The General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our articles of religion, nor establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine.
2. They shall not allow of more than one representative for every fourteen members of the annual conference, nor allow of a less number than one for every thirty: provided, nevertheless, that when there shall be in any annual conference a fraction of two-thirds the number which shall be fixed for the ratio of representation, such annual conference shall be entitled to an additional delegate for such fraction; and provided, also, that no conference shall be denied the privilege of two delegates. 3. They shall not change or alter any part or rule of our government, so as to do away episcopacy, or destroy the plan of our itinerant general superintendency. 4. They shall not revoke or change the general rules of the United Societies.
5. They shall not do away the privileges of our ministers or preachers of trial by a committee, and of an appeal: neither shall they do away the privileges of our members of trial before the society, or by a committee, and of an appeal.
6. They shall not appropriate the produce of the Book Concern, nor of the Charter Fund, to any purpose other than for the benefit of the travelling, supernumerary, superannuated and worn-out preachers, their wives, widows, and children. Provided, nevertheless, that upon the concur rent recommendation of three-fourths of all the members of the several Annual Conferences, who shall be present and vote on such recommendation, then a majority of two-thirds of the General Conference succeeding shall suffice to alter any of the above restrictions, excepting the first article and also, whenever such alteration or alterations shall have been first recommended by two-thirds of the General Conference, so soon as three-fourths of the members of all the Annual Conferences shall have concurred as aforesaid, such alteration or alterations shall take effect.
Of the Annual Conferences.
Quest. 1. Who shall attend the Annual Conferences?
Answ. All the travelling preachers-both
those who are in full connexion, and those who are on trial.
Quest. 2. Who shall appoint the times of holding the Annual Conferences?
Answ. The Bishops: but they shall allow the Annual Conferences to sit a week at least.
Quest. 3. Who shall appoint the places of holding the Annual Conferences?
Answ. Each Annual Conference shall appoint the place of its own sitting.
Quest. 4. Who shall preside at the Annual Conferences?
Answ. The Bishop. In case no Bishop be present, a Presiding Elder, appointed by a Bishop, by letter or otherwise, shall preside. But if no appointment be made, or if the Presiding Elder appointed do not attend, the Conference shall in either of these cases elect the President by ballot, without a debate, from among the Presiding Elders.
Quest. 5. What is the method wherein we usually proceed in the Annual Conferences? Answ. We inquire,
1. What preachers are admitted on trial? 2. Who remain on trial?
3. Who are admitted into full connexion? 4. Who are the Deacons ?
5. Who have been elected and ordained Elders this year?
6. Who have located this year?
7. Who are the supernumeraries?
8. Who are the superannuated or worn-out preachers?
9. Who have been expelled from the connexion this year?
10. Who have withdrawn from the connexion this year?
11. Are all the preachers blameless in life
12. Who have died this year?
13. What is the number of members, and what of probationers, in society?
14. What amounts are necessary for the superannuated preachers, and the widows and orphans of preachers, and to make up the deficiencies of those who have not obtained their regular allowance on the circuits?
15. What has been collected on the foregoing accounts, and how has it been applied?
16. What has been contributed for the support of Missions, what for the SundaySchool Union, what for the publication and circulation of tracts, and what to aid the American Bible Society?
17. Where are the preachers stationed this year?
18. Where and when shall our next Conference be held?
Quest. 6. Is there any other business to be done in the Annual Conferences?
Answ. 1. The electing and ordaining of Deacons and Elders.
2. It shall be the duty of each Annual Conference to examine strictly into the state of the domestic missions within its bounds, and to allow none to remain on the list of