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For several years the writer has conducted the “Pastors' Department” of “The Advance, to which department come frequent letters concerning questions of Congregational polity, and repeated inquiries where a book may be found containing a comprehensive statement of Congregationalism as it exists at the present time. To this question no satisfactory answer can be made.
In 1865 Rev. Henry Martyn Dexter, D. D., published his “Congregationalism, What It Is, Whence It Is, and How It Works.” It was a monumental work, and one which entitles his memory to lasting regard. In 1880 he issued his pocket “Handbook of Congregation
A few years later Rev. Dr. A. Hastings Ross issued his “Church Kingdom, following it with a briefer “Congregational Manual,” the best expression of that type of Congregationalism then developing in the Central and Western States, and prophetic of the larger Congregationalism which is yet to be. All these books, excellent in their day, are now out of print, nor has anything since published taken their place. The nearest approach to it was “The Congregational Way,'' by Rev. Dr. George M. Boynton, published in 1903. In 1892 the National Council authorized the publication of “A Concise Manual of Congregationalism, for the Facilitating of the Organization of New Churches." This little book appeared in 1896, and is an excellent pamphlet superseding earlier booklets of the same character by Dr. James Tompkins and Dr. Joseph E. Roy.
All these books, each of distinct value, make plainer the need of a book containing much more information than the Council Manual, yet issued in a volume small enough to be carried in the pocket.
In previous books of this character, the subject of Parliamentary Law has been treated in a single brief chapter, and for more extended information the reader has been referred to general manuals, prepared for legislative assemblies, debating societies, and women's
clubs. These are valuable, but inadequate. Thomas B. Reed wrote:
“Parliamentary bodies liffer so much in their nature that it would be impossible that they should be governed with equal advantage by a common system of parliamentary law.' (Reed's Rules of Order, p. 49.)
It is time for a manual based on ecclesiastical precedents. The present volume gives primary recognition, not to the rules of Congress, but to those of the National Council, and other ecclesiastical assemblies.
Our recent changes have necessitated forms; and these, after conference with a number of men of experience, are here provided.
I acknowledge the courtesy of Rev. J. A. Adams, D.D., of The Advance; Rev. A. E. Dunning, D.D., of The Congregationalist; Rev. E. F. Williams, D.D., Lecturer on Congregational Polity, and Prof. C. E. Beckwith, D.D., of Chicago Theological Seminary, for valuable suggestions, and of many friends whose encouragement has been of substantial service. For advice in legal matters touched upon, I am indebted to Hon. T. C. MacMillan and to Mr. John L. Pearson, attorney for the Illinois Home Missionary Society.
It was the good fortune of the author to study Congregational polity under Dr. A. Hastings Ross, and to hear from his lips the whole of his volume on “The Church Kingilom, and later to come under the somewhat intimate influence of Dr. A. H. Quint, the foremost authority in his day on Congregationalism. The author had the further advantage of beginning his ministry in a field where a number of little churches had to be organized and maintained; and in subsequent years has had a somewhat wide experience in councils and denominational assemblies East and West.
Our polity is midway of a notable evolution. We cannot wait for current movements to bring forth their full fruition. “We know in part and we prophesy in part.” This volume attempts to be a handbook of our polity as it now is, and is issued in hope that it may be à contribution also toward that more perfect polity which is yet to be.
William E. Barton.
IV. THE INTRODUCTION OF BUSINESS
Methods of Introducing Business.
The Form of a Motion.
Reducing a Motion to Writing.
Seconding a Motion.
Motions That Do Not Require a Second.
Motions That Require More Than One Second.
V. RULES GOVERNING DISCUSSIONS
When Discussion Is in Order.
Opening andl Closing Arguments.
Number of Speeches by One Member.
What Constitutes an Address.
Speaking Before the Motion Is Made.