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GENERAL CO-OPERATIVE CHURCH BUILDING Association, for Pro
moting the Erection and Endowment of New Churches, and the Building of Parsonage Houses, throughout England and Wales.
Treasurer, William Leaper Newton, Esq., Derby. Secretaries, Rev. Roseingrave Macklin, and Rev. John Latham, Derby, and Rev. Martin Roe, Epperstone, Nottinghamshire.
The object of the association is to promote by small contributions, the extension of church accommodation, and especially to aid in the endowment of new churches, and in the building or purchase of par
Such a state of destitution as exists in many populous parishes, where a charge of 5,000, 10,000, and even 20,000 souls not unfrequently devolves upon one incumbent; and where church accommodation is scarcely provided for one-tenth of the population, is an obvious evil, and seems to call for some immediate and effectual remedy, notwithstanding the exertions which have been already made. There are 108 parishes in the four dioceses of London, York, Chester, and Lichfield alone, containing a population of 2,590,000, and the amount of church room provided for this aggregate is only 301,382 sittings; so that 2,288,618 souls are unprovided for, so far as the church is concerned.*
Although no pecuniary efforts have as yet been made, in any degree commensurate with the wealth of the country, and the spiritual destitution of its population, it cannot be doubted that there are numbers of able and zealous persons, to whom the welfare of the church is not a matter of indifference, and who would, if properly solicited, gladly contribute to her enlargement; and, possibly, be led to encourage others to do the same.
Under these impressions, the following plan has been drawn up, and is now proposed for general adoption, viz.
One treasurer (at least) to be appointed in each county ; who should undertake to find ten receivers : each receiver undertaking to find ten collectors ; and each collector ten subscribers, of any sum from one penny to one shilling ; to be paid towards the erection and endowment of every new church throughout England and Wales, the first stone of which shall have been laid after the 1st of August, 1840.
As it is of the utmost importance that a proper stipend and suitable residence should be provided for a clergyman in every parish or district where a church is to be erected, this association will dispose of its funds with especial reference to the attainment of this desirable object.
The number of new churches which subscribers must consider themselves as liable to be called upon to assist in any one year, will probably average fifty.
One great object proposed by this association, is to unite all orders and estates of men for one common and extensive effort, by calling to its aid, not only the purse, but the exertion and influence of every churchman, from the first noble in the land to the humblest cottager. May the blessing of him who is the great head of the church, rest upon
* Extract from a Charge delivered by the Bishop of Exeter.
the plan now suggested, and may he incline the hearts of all to give willingly of their substance, remembering the apostolic injunction, “Let every man do as he is disposed in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Rules and Regulations.
1. That this association be designated “General Co-operative Church Building Association, for promoting the erection and endowment of new churches, and the building of parsonage houses, throughout England and Wales.”
2. That aid be given towards the erection and endowment of churches, and the building or purchase of parsonage houses.
3. That the patronage of such churches be vested, either in the diocesan, or in the incumbent of the parish ex officio, or in trustees, or in such manner, that in no case either the presentation or advowson shall be disposable as property, to the private advantage of the patron or patrons.
Ā. That the admission of cases as eligible for aid be with the committee of the association, who, through prescribed queries to be sent to the applicants, will, in each case, obtain information as to the locality, population, patronage, present and proposed increase of church accommodation, together with the date of the first stone being laid.
5. That the management of the affairs of the association, and the administration of its funds, be confided to a general committee, to consist of not more than thirty-six members ; of whom thirty, who shall have attended the greatest number of times during the preceding year, shall be eligible for the ensuing year ;-five to form a quorum. The treasurer and secretaries shall be ex officio members of the committee.
6. That district committees be formed, the duties of which shall be, to solicit contributions, investigate local wants, and maintain a regular communication with the general committee.
7. That the patrons and vice-patrons of the association be considered members of the general committee, and of the several district committees with which they are locally connected.
8. That the funds collected by the several district committees be transmitted quarterly to the general treasurer of the association.
9. That all applications for the aid of the association be made to the general committee within three months from the time at which the first stone of any new church shall have been laid.
10. That the committee shall meet once in each quarter, the meetings to take place within a week before or after March 25, June 24, Sept. 29, Dec. 25, respectively, in each year. That all questions be decided by a majority of the members present, the chairman being allowed a casting vote.
11. That no payment on account of any case be made, until the committee are satisfied with the arrangements and securities for accomplishing the object: nor, in any case, of buildings, until they are in such a state of forwardness, as, in the judgment of the committee, will justify the payment; nor until the bishop of the diocese has given his sanction to the proceedings under which the work is commenced.
12. That subscriptions consist of any sum not exceeding one shilling, to be paid by every contributor, towards the erection and endowment (including a parsonage house) of each church, of which the first stone shall have been laid after August 1, 1840. And the committee will, if desired, receive and apply further subscriptions, to any one or more churches which
may be fixed upon by any contributor. 13. That subscriptions be considered due on January 1, April 1, July 1, October 1, in each year, respectively, at which time notice will be sent to collectors, of the number of churches commenced, and requiring aid during the preceding quarter.
14. That assistance be given to such churches, only, as shall be endowed with a sum of not less than £1000.
15. That the amount collected for each church be divided in such proportions as may seem most requisite, between the building, endowment, and
parsonage funds. 16. That no payment be made by the treasurer, without a written order, signed by two members of the committee, and by the secretary.
17. That an annual general meeting of the association be held at a time and place to be fixed by the general committee ; at which meeting the proceedings of the foregoing year shall be reported, and, if approved, confirmed; the accounts presented, and officers for the ensuing year appointed.
*** All communications, for the present, are requested to be addressed to the treasurer, or secretaries.
CHAPLAINS TO UNION WORKHOUSES.
Copies of Queries submitted to Dr. Addams, on the subject of the
Performance of Divine Worship in Workhouses, and his Opinion thereon.
QUERIES. 1. Is it requisite that some part of the workhouse should be consecrated, to sanction a clergyman of the established church in performing the duties required by the commissioners to be performed by the chaplain ?
2. Can any clergyman of the established church perform such duties without being licensed thereto by the diocesan ?
3. And without the consent of the incumbent of the parish in which the union workhouse is situated ?
4. Does the incumbent or curate of the parish require any license from the diocesan ?
5. Can a dissenting minister, being a protestant, read prayers and preach to more than twenty persons in the union workhouse, being pauper inmates thereof, without the same being certified to the bishop of the diocese, or the archdeacon, or the quarter sessions, and being registered in the bishop's or archdeacon's court, and recorded at the sessions under 53 Geo. III. c. 155, s. 1 ?
1. I think that with the bishop's license (see answers to the next query] it is not requisite that any part of the workhouse should be CONSECRATED, to sanction a clergyman of the establishment in the performance of any of the duties required of the chaplain of the workhouse by the poor law commissioners.
2. The answer to this question depends on whether the poor law commissioners require of chaplains to workhouses the “performance of divine service.” I so express myself, because “ reading prayers &c. in a PRIVATE FAMILY" is not a “performance of divine service," and it may be suggested that the reading of prayers &c. in one of these union workhouses, to the pauper inmates thereof, is rather of the nature of reading prayers &c. in a private family, than in that of a regular “performance of divine service." Seeing, however, that these chaplains are required to preach, pray, and administer the communion regularly, (though only to the inmates of the house, how far can such a house be deemed a private house ? and how can the inmates of such a house be assimilated to a PRIVATE FAMILY ?), I am of opinion that the chaplains of workhouses are rather required to “perform divine service ;" and consequently that, strictly speaking, the bishop's license is necessary. For, strictly speaking, no minister of the establishment is authorized to serve, that is, to “perform divine service” in any diocese without the license of the diocesan.
3 & 4. I think, strictly speaking, that the consent of the incumbent, in whose parish the workhouse is situate, is also necessary; for as no minister of the establishment can officiate, strictly speaking, in any diocese without the license of the diocesan, so neither, in strictness, can he in any parish without the consent of the incumbent. I think too that the bishop's license may be necessary, in strictness, even though the incumbent or curate of the parish, in which the workhouse is situate, be the chaplain.
5. By 52 Geo. III. c. 155, s. 2, (which I suppose, and not 53 Geo. III. c. 155, s. 1, is meant to be referred to), no congregation or assembly of protestants for religious worship shall be permitted or allowed, unless or until, &c., at which congregation or assembly “there shall be present · more than twenty persons besides the immediate FAMILY and servants of the PERSON in whose house, or upon whose premises, such congregation or assembly shall be held ; and every PERSON who shall permit or suffer any such congregation or assembly to be held in his house, or on his premises, unless or until, &c., shall forfeit for each offence a sum not exceeding £20. nor less than 20s.”
I have cited, in substance, the whole of this legislative enactment, to make it apparent how difficult it is of application, to the case referred to in this 5th question of prayers, &c., read by a dissenting minister in one of these union workhouses, to the pauper inmates thereof. When these paupers are assembled to hear prayers read, &c., by such dissenting minister, do they constitute a congregation or assembly for religious worship, within the meaning of the act? Can they be considered in the light of “A FAMILY ?” Is there any PERSON, in whose house, or
upon whose premises such congregation is held, and who, accordingly, is liable to the penalties, if held without the place of holding being duly certified? Upon the whole, I should rather say that the reading of prayers &c. to the pauper inmates of one of these union workhouses, by a dissenting minister, does not render it requisite that such workhouse should be certified and registered under the act of 52 Geo. III. ; and the rather, since (so at least it appears to me) there is or are no person or persons of whom the penalties incurred, in default of its being certified and registered, (supposing that to be requisite) can be recovered.
In conclusion, I beg to say, that I have found some difficulty in answering, and that I have not perfectly, to my own satisfaction, answered this last query, (or indeed any of these queries), by reason that my opinion is asked almost throughout, in respect of the application of particular laws to cases which these laws never contemplated, nor by possibility could have contemplated ; and with a view to which cases, it therefore follows that those laws neither were nor possibly could have been framed. Doctors' Commons, 22nd October, 1839.
The subject of pews
has been handled in such a masterly style by John Steer, Esq., in his “ Parish Law,” + that we cannot do better than quote his remarks.
“ Ancient Mode of Worship.] In the construction of churches in former times, the primary object seems to have been to facilitate and display the impressive grandeur of the Roman Catholic ceremonies. The services of religion were regarded as the peculiar province of its ministers, in which the people were not invited to participate ; and public worship was conducted as a sublime exhibition, calculated to impress the feelings and stimulate the imagination of the spectators, without at the same time diffusing amongst them a consciousness that they were equally interested, and engaged with those ostensibly employed, in one common act of devotion.
No Pews formerly.] This may account for the absence in our cathedrals, and other ancient ecclesiastical edifices, of any fixed and regularly constructed accommodation for the laity, as an essential part of the building. Until about the period of the Reformation, no seats were allowed, nor any distinct apartment in the church assigned to distinct inhabitants, except for the lord of the franchise, or some other eminent persons. The general seats that were provided were moveable, and the property of the incumbent, and thence in all respects at his disposal ; and they were frequently bequeathed by incumbents to their successors, or others as they thought fit. This is corroborated by the fact, that the common law books of an earlier period mention but two or three cases
Report of the Poor Law Commissioners, 1810, Appendix A. p. 112. + Published by Saunders and Benning, Law-booksellers, Fleet-street, London.