INTERESTING [Baptist] CONFERENCES AT POWELTON, GEORGIA
Georgia Analytical Repository, 1802
TAKING into conffideration the low, and languifhing ftate of religion among the churches generally for whom they were concerned, a number of minifters, and other leading characters, in Georgia, by mutual agreement, met to hold a religious conference, on the firft Lord's day in May, 1801, at Powelton. Several days were profitably fpent, it is hoped, in humble endeavors to ftrengthen the things that remained, and to form liberal and judicious defigns of ufefulnefs. The principal of thefe refpected itenerant preaching, through, and to the utmoft boundaries of the ftate, and the formation of a Mifionary Society, to fupport, if no more, a couple of pious, and fuitably-gifted minifters of the gofpel, in confining their labors to our dark, and almoft barbarous frontier, where, from a variety of obvious circumftances, there can be no ftanding miniftry. To mature and contribute as much as poffible to the execution of thefe plans, whofe objects were to revive, and extend the influence of true religion, and of courfe to promote morality, good government, and every focial bleffing, another conference was appointed at
the fame place, the Thurfday before the firft Sunday in May, 1802. Of this meeting the following are the minutes:
Thursday, April 29th, 1802.
1. At 10 o'clock, A. M. brother Joseph Baker delivered a fermon from Ifaiah 35 and 8.
And an high way shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness: the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those, the way-faring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
2. After a fhort intermiffion, the brethren convened — who wereAll from different Baptift Affociations,Joseph Baker, John Robertson,
Joel Willice, John Harvey,
George Granbury, Adam Jones,
Jobn Ross, Benjamin Thomson,
Henry Hand, Miller Bledsoe,
Edmond Talbott, William Lord,
Jesse Mercer, William Maddox, and
Francis Ross, Benjamin Maddox: --
3. Brother John Harvey was unanimoufly elected moderator, and brother Henry Greybill clerk. Adjourned until to-morrow morning, at 10 o'clock.
4. Friday, met purfuant to adjournment, when bufinefs was opened, as ufual, with prayer and fupplication to ALMIGHTY GOD.
5. On motion, the minutes of our laft year's conference
were read, and agreeably to a recommendation they contain, the brethren, Jesse Merter, John Rovertsou, Edmond Talbott, Adam Jones, John Harvey, Joseph Baker, and Francis Ross, feverally arofe, and reported to the conference the profpects, and occurences, moft material to the bufinefs in hand, which were the refults of their late different tours through the ftate, as preachers of the gofpel.
6. Refolved, that it is the decided opinion of this conference, that the religious interefts for which they are immediately concerned begin, already, to affume an encouraging afpect, under the influence of the partial execution of their lately adopted meafures.
7. Refolved; that we feel ourfelves bound to give itinerate preaching, for the enfuing year, all the aid, and encouragement in our power.
8. Concluded bufinefs with folemn prayer and adjourned 'till 10 o'ciock to-morrow morning.
9. Saturday, May 1, 1802, met according to adjournment, and after finging, and prayer, the fubject of union among chriftians of different denominations, was propofed for difcuffion, by brother Jeffe Mercer.
10. This fubject appearing to all the brethren as feafonable and important, was entered on accordingly; and, from the different impreffive lights in which it was placed, appeared to excite a general, and ardent defire to ufe every endeavor to haften the time when the watchmen in Ifrael fhall fee eye to eye, and all the real diciples of CHRIST be one, as he and his DIVINE FATHER are one.
11. As a meafure tending to produce effects fo defirable, on a motion made by brother Henry Holcombe, of, and juft arrived from Savannah, a committee was appointed to concert a plan of promoting union, and communion among all real chriftians, to be refpectfully fubmitted, to the confideration of the Georgia Baptifts, that fhould it be approved, they may concur in its adoption.
12. The brethren nominated, by the moderator, as members of this committee, were Joseph Baker, Jesse Mercer, and Henry Holcombe.
13. After well adapted exhortation, and prayer, adjourned until 9 o'clock to-morrow morning.
14. Met agreeably to adjournment, and on the moderator's opening bufinefs by a fervent and appropriate prayer, the committee appointed to draw up a plan to promote union, and communion among chriftians, reported, that they are humbly of opinion that the number, and prefent fituation of the Baptifts of this ftate require a ftricter, and more intimate union among themfelves, in order the moft effectually to concentrate their powers for any particular purpofe; that they conceive this more clegible ftate of the churches might be effect ed by a choice of delegates to reprefent each church, annually, inthe affociations to which they refpeclively belong, vefted with power to elect three members from each aflociation, to compofe a general committee of the Georgia Baptifts, which fhould meet annually, in fome convenient, and, as nearly as poffible, centrica! part of the ftate, with liberty to confer, and correfpond, with individu- als, and focieties, of other denominations, for the laudable purpofe of ftrengthening and contracting bonds of a general union, on the pure principles
of eternal truth, until all who breathe the fpiric, and bear the image of the meek and affectionate JESUS, fhall enforce a ftrict difcipline, and fit together at his table; and that the time and place for the firft meeting of this committee, fhould it be eventually formed, fhall be fixed on by the affociation that fhall meet laft, conformably to exifting appointments.
15. On folemn deliberation, agreed, unanimously, that the above report has the cordial concurrence of this conference.
16. The editor of the Georgia Analytical Repofitary, was requefted, to give a place, as foon as poffible, in that work, to the minutes of this conference, for the ferious and candid confideration of the churches.
17. Agreed to meet again on the Friday before the firft Lord's day in May, 1803, at this place, in order, through the Divine bleffing, further to mature our defigns of ufefulnefs, and particularly to form, if poffible, a Miffionary Society.
18. The bufinefs clofed with prayer, many demontftrations of brotherly love, and warm reciprocal exhortations.JOHN HARVEY, Moderator.
HENRY GREYBILL, Clerk.
The day, after thefe proceedings ended, was delightfully fpent, in preaching, baptizing, and the adminiftration of the Lord's Supper, amid incalculable numbers of the citizens. That fo many of the moft able and worthy minifters in the ftate
were abfent, when bufinefs of fuch great importance was the fubject of deliberation, was deeply regretted, while the animating hope of their concurrence in what was done, was exprefsed, with an anxious defire that they may add much light and respectality to the next conference.
[From Georgia Analytical Repository, Volume 1, Issue 2, July-August, 1802; via Internet archive.org. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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