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The New Zealand Evangelist

Wesleyan Methodist Annual Conference, Held In Hull, July And August, 1848

page 188

Wesleyan Methodist Annual Conference, Held In Hull, July And August, 1848.

Previous to opening the legal Conference, which was fixed for Wednesday, July 26, the preliminary Committees, appointed to prepare the main business which comes before the Conference, held their sittings and made their reports. These Committees are composed of ministers and laymen, and in them, not in the Conference, the chief secular business of the Wesleyan Church is transacted. From the Chapel Building Committee, the Rev F. J. Jobson presented a long and highly satisfactory report. It appeared that the efforts made to reduce the debts on Wesleyan Trust property had been very successful. Applications had been made to the Committee to erect 97 Chapels and School Houses. These, if built according to the conditions of agreement with the Committee, will cost £31,391; the debts remaining upon them will be £9,039; and the anticipated yearly income £1,675. Twenty-seven are to be entirely free from debt. 88 Chapels had been built during the year. The Kingswood and Woodhouse Grove Schools are designed for the education of Ministers’ sons. Their term of residence is six years, namely, from the age of eight to fourteen. The Rev. C. Prest, one of the Treasurers, reported that the total iucome of the Schools had amounted to £9,671, 2s, 10, being a little less than the previous year's income, and £542, 9s. 11 less than the expenditure. This, however, was a much smaller deficiency than the great depression of trade, &c., had led them to anticipate.

The Book Committee received the report from Wm. Mason, the Book Steward, on July 19th, when it appeared that the sales had exceeded those of last year, though they were not equal to the amount of sales two years ago, when the manufacturing and commercial interests of the country were in a better state. Still the general sentiment of the Committee was thankfulness that their Book affairs were no worse, and hopefulness that they would improve as trade and commerce revived. In counection with the Book Room is a Committee for the Publication of Religious Tracts. Under their supervision a considerable number of new tracts and hand-bills have been published during the past year, and the total issue of tracts &c. has amounted to nearly a million and a half—being a considerable increase on the previous year's issue.

The Contingent Fund Committee has for its object the various contingent expences counected with the working out the great itinerant system of the Connexion. It sustains the character of a Home Mission Fund, in part; for to its existence and support, it is owing that many circuits have been formed and maintained, in spiritually destitute districts, which are now independent of its aid, and flourishing. The fund is sustained from three sources; 1, A grant from the Book Room profits; 2. The yearly collection from the Classes in March; 3. The July collection in the congregations. Its total income during the year amounted to £6,722 3s. 3d., being only £71 19s. 11d. less than before.

page 189

From the Missionary Committee of Review, which is one of the most numerous and influential of the Connexion, it was learnt that 22 vacancies in the Mission field needed supplying—29 additional Missionaries were required in stations already occupied—and 16 were asked for new station—in all, 67.

The Income of the Theological Institution had been scarcely equal to its expenditure, as there had been a greater number of students than previously, while the receipts were only as on previous years.

The Education Committee met and examined the state of the Sunday and Day Schools. The increase of Sunday Schools was 65—of Scholars 17,825. Total number of Scholars 442,896. Average number in attendance 343,951. Total cost of the Schools £26,420.

Day Schools—Total number 408—of Scholars 37,659. The annual coat was £24,821 12s. 10d.

The One Hundred and Fifth Annual Conference Assembled on Wednesday, July 22, in Great Thornton Street Chapel; about four hundred Ministers in attendance. Rev. Robert Newton, D. D., was elected President for the fourth time. The former years of his Presidency being 1824, 1832, 1840. The Rev. Joseph Fowler, was chosen Secretary.

It was found that 23 Ministers had died during the year; and 24 were obliged to retire on the Supernumerary list, Dr. Bunting wished to retire bat was not permitted. There was a net decrease in the numbers of the Society of 2,768; but the names were taken down of 1,963 who had emigrated from Ireland alone to the United States, with whose Societies and Churches, they would become incorporated. Erom Cornwall also, they had returns of upwards of 1,300 members who had been obliged to emigrate through the closing of mines. Rev. R. Young, Chairman of the Cornish District, reported that since the District Meeting in May, 12 mines had been abandoned, and in consequence some 300 Members had emigrated.

From all accounts a more interesting and profitable Conference never was held. The kindness of the friends in Hull was spoken of in the warmest terms; and the various religious services were accompanied by manifest tokens of spiritual feeling.

The President's sermon was founded on Matt, 16, v. 26. “What is a man profited, &c.” and was a very solemn, impressive, and earnest exhortation and warning.