Minutes of the First Baptist Association
in California

Copied from Original
California State Library, Sacramento, California


SEPT. 25, AND OCT. 25-28, 1850


Constitution 3
Rules of Order 5
Order of Business 6
Primary Meeting 7
Convention 9
Minutes of the San Francisco
Baptist Association
Letters from the Churches
The First Baptist Church in
San Francisco
The Baptist Church of San Jose 17
The First Baptist Church in
Sacramento City
Reports of Committees
Committee on Domestic Mission 19
Committee on Education 21
Committee on Sabbath Schools 24
Committee on Foreign Missions 25
Committee on the State of Religion 27
Corresponding Letter 28





SEC. 1. This Association shall be called the SAN FRANCISCO BAPTIST ASSOCIATION.
SEC. 2. It shall be composed of delegates, who shall be members of the churches they represent.
SEC. 3. Each church shall be entitled to five delegates beside an additional delegate for every twenty members.


SEC. 1. The object of this Association shall be to promote piety, harmony, and efficiency in the churches.
SEC. 2. To devise such measures as may appear most expedient, in conformity with Bible truth, for the advancement of our denominational interests.
SEC. 3. To suggest and recommend to the churches, such means and modes of operation as may, from time to time, appear best adapted for the general diffusion of the gospel throughout the world.


SEC. 1. The officers of this.Association shall be a Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, and Corresponding Secretary.
SEC. 2. The election of these officers. (excepting the Corresponding Secretary, who shall hold his office during the pleasure of the Association,) shall take place, at each annual meeting, immediately after the preaching of the annual sermon; and candidates shall be elected by a plurality of ballot votes.
SEC. 3. All officers shall continue in office until successors are appointed.
SEC. 4. The Moderator shall preside at all the meetings of the body, and see that proper order and decorum be observed.
SEC. 5. The Clerk shall keep a fair and impartial record of the transactions of each session of the body.
SEC. 6. The Treasurer shall take charge of all monies belonging to the Association, keep an accurate record of the same and the objects for which they are designated, pay them out at the order of the Association. and report the state of the treasury before the close of each session.
SEC. 7 The Corresponding Secretary shall serve as associate Clerk, during the session, take charge of all the records and papers of the body, and conduct its correspondence.


SEC. 1. It shall be the duty of the churches composing this body to send with their delegates, to each annual meeting, letters containing a history of their condition during the year, with a statement of their additions and diminutions, their contributions to the various objects of benevolence and the present number of their communicants.



SEC. 2. Each church shall forward with its delegates and letter, money for printing the minutes.


SEC. 1..Any church desiring membership in this body shall, on application, be examined in relation to its faith and practice, and if approved the Moderator shall give to one of its delegates the hand of fellowship.
SEC. 2. Any minister on coming into the Association, shall be examined in reference to his Christian character and theological views, and if approved shall be appropriately designated in the minutes.
SEC. 3. This Association reserves to itself the right to examine into the character and theological views of delegates from the churches, and to receive or reject them at its pleasure.


SEC. 1. Any church in this Association wishing to withdraw for the purpose of uniting with another body of like faith and practice, shall on application be honorably dismissed.
SEC. 2. Any church neglecting for two successive years to communicate with this body, shall have its name stricken from the minutes, unless two members shall request a delay, and agree to inquire into the state of said church and report at the next annual meeting.
SEC. 3. While, as an associated body, we disclaim all right to interfere with the independence, the doctrines, and the discipline of any individual church, we nevertheless deem it our privilege to judge of the propriety of continuing in our connection any church or minister which, to us, shall appear heterodox in principle, or irregular in practice. Yet no such church or minister shall be liable to exclusion, until a written complaint against the same shall have been made by two members of the body; and a report upon the subject shall be presented by a committee appointed at a previous annual meeting.


This Association shall have the right to open and hold correspondence with other associations, religious bodies, and individuals, according to its pleasure.


SEC. 1. This Association shall meet annually on the second Friday in June, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
SEC. 2. Before the close of each annual session the Association shall appoint the place for its next annual meeting, and one or more brethren, (with alternates,) to preach on the occasion, and a writer of the circular letter.
SEC. 3. At each and every annual meeting, the Association may at its pleasure transact any business it may deem expedient, provided the same be not contrary to this constitution.


This constitution may be amended by a vote of two thirds of all the members present at any annual meeting, provided notice of the same shall have been given at a previous annual meeting.



lst. At every sitting business shall be opened and concluded by prayer, under the direction of the Moderator.
2d. Brethren who are invited to a seat with us, shall be at liberty to participate in all discussions, but not to vote.
3d. No member of the Association shall absent himself without leave of the Moderator.
4th. No subject shall be discussed till a motion is made and seconded, and stated by the Moderator.
5th. No person shall speak oftener than twice on the same motion without leave of the Association.
6th. If; when a motion has been made and seconded, any member shall oppose its discussion, the Moderator shall immediately put the question, “Shall this question be discussed?” which if negatived, the subject shall be dismissed.
7th. If any proposition or motion under discussion contain two or more points, it shall be divided at the request of any member and the question taken on each separately.
8th. Motions made and lost shall not be entered on the minutes, unless so ordered at the time.
9th. Any motion shall be reduced to writing, before it shall be discussed, if the Moderator or any member request it.
10th. No person shall speak in debate without first rising from his seat and addressing the Moderator, and during his remarks he shall confine himself to the question before the body and avoid personalities.
11th. All committees shall be nominated by the Moderator unless otherwise specially directed by the Association.
12th. The Moderator shall have the right to name any person to perform the duties of the chair, for a temporary season. When he wish to speak or otherwise vacate his place.
13th. On the opening of business the second day, the roll of delegates commissioned by the churches shall be called, and the mark of absence attached to the names of those who have not arrived.
l4th. Any member dissenting from a decision of the chair, shall have the privilege of appeal to the house without debate.
l5th. A motion for adjournment shall always be in order, but shall never be discussed.
l6th. No motion or proposition on a subject, different from the one under consideration, shall be admitted under color of an amendment.
l7th. All questions shall be propounded in the order they were moved and seconded, except that in the filling of blanks, the highest number, the largest sum and the longest time, shall be put first.
l8th. The minutes of the session, shall be leisurely read and corrected before the rising of the Association.
19th. These rules shall be distinctly read from the chair immediately after the organization of the body.
2Oth. The Rules of Order and Order of Business may be temporarily suspended or permanently altered, by a majority of votes at any regular meeting of the body.



I. Preaching of the annual sermon, followed by a collection.
II. Choice of officers, the Moderator of the previous year, or in his absence the preacher of the annual sermon presiding till a Moderator is chosen.
III. Invitation to visiting brethren present, to a seat with us.
IV. Appointment of Committees.

lst. On Devotional Exercises for the season.
2d. On the State of Religion.
3d. On the Admission of Churches and Ministers.
4th. On the Circular Letter.
5th. On Benevolent Efforts.
6th. On the Examination of Minutes of Corresponding Bodies.
7th. To Audit the Treasurer's.Account.
8th. To propose a Place, Preacher or Preachers, and writer of the Circular Letter for the next Session of the Association.
9th. Missionary Committee.
10th. Other Committees, if any.

V. Unfinished Business of the previous year.
VI. Letters from the Churches, interspersed with devotional exercises.
VII. Applications for.Admission.
VIII. Reports or Committees in the order of their appointment.
IX. Choice of place for the next meeting of the.Association.
X. Choice of preacher and alternate.
XI. Choice of a writer of the Circular Letter.
XII. Miscellaneous business.
XIII. Closing Services by the moderator.



A meeting of the following brethren was held in the study of Rev. O. C. Wheeler, in San Francisco, September 25th, 1850, to consider the interests of the Baptist denomination in this State, and adopt such plans as might best promote the welfare of the church in general:
REV. J. W. CAPEN, of Sacramento.
REV. L. O. GRENELL, of San Jose.
A. W. RICHARDSON, of San Francisco.
Rev. O. C. Wheeler was chosen Chairman and bro. Jno. F. Pope, Secretary.
Voted, after full and free deliberation, that the Secretary be directed to address a letter to each of the Baptist churches in this State, asking them to send delegates to a convention to be held in San Francisco, Friday Evening, October 25th, 1850, for the purpose of forming an Association.
Voted, that a committee of three be appointed to draft a Constitution, By-Laws and Rules of Order, to be presented to the Association. Rev. O. C. Wheeler, Rev. F. E. Prevaux and bro. E. J. Willis, committee.
Voted, that a committee of three be chosen to prepare an Order of Business for the convention, and appoint a preacher



of the opening sermon. Bro. C. L. Ross, Rev. F. E. Prevaux and A. W. Richardson, committee.
Voted, that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a report upon the subject of Domestic Missions. Bro. Jno. F. Pope, L. O. Grenell and O. C. Wheeler, committee.
Voted, that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a report upon Education. Bro. J. W. Raymond, Rev. F. E. Prevaux and Rev. O. C. Wheeler, committee.
Voted, that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a report upon the Sabbath School cause. Rev. L. O. Grenell, bro. E. J. Willis and E. Rogers.
Voted, that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a report upon Temperance. Brn. E. J. Willis, B. F. Edwards and Rev. J. W. Capen.
Voted, that in the judgment of this meeting it is expedient that Rev. F. E. Prevaux should immediately commence the labor of the ministry at Clark's Point in this city.
Voted, that a committee of three be appointed to procure a suitable place of worship to be occupied by him. Brn. A. W. Richardson, C. L. Ross and Jno. F. Pope.
Voted, to adjourn after prayer.
O. C. WHEELER, Chairman.
JNO. F. POPE, Secretary. Sept. 25, 1850.



SAN FRANCISCO, Friday Evening,
October 25th, I850.
In accordance with an invitation addressed to the Baptist churches of this State, by a preliminary meeting held in this city, Sept. 25th, delegates assembled in the First Baptist Chapel in this city this evening, and after listening to a sermon by Rev. J. w. Capen, of Sacramento city, the Convention was organized by the appointment of Rev. O. C. Wheeler Chairman, and bro. Jno. F. Pope, Secretary.
Bro. C. L. Ross, chairman of committee upon order of Business for the Convention, reported as follows:
1. That a committee on Devotional Exercises be appointed. Rev. F. E. Prevaux, L. O. Grenell, O. C. Wheeler.
2. That a committee be appointed to prepare a report on Foreign Missions. Rev. O. C. Wheeler, J. W. Capen, F. E. Prevaux.
3. That all reports of committees be referred to the Association when organized.
4. That the Convention adjourn when the Association shall have been organized.
Voted, to adjourn to to-morrow morning at l0 ½ o'clock.

SATURDAY, Oct. 26th, 1850.

The Convention met, pursuant to adjournment, at I0½, A.M., and was called to order by the Chairman. Prayer by Rev. J. W. Capen.


The following delegates to the Convention appeared and took their seats: Rev. J. W. Capen, brn. E. J. Wills, and Josiah Ames, of Sacramento; Rev. L. 0. Grenell, brn. J. Appleton, and P. F. Goodrich, of San Jose; Rev. O. C. Wheeler, brn. C. L. Ross, Jno. F. Pope, J. W. Raymond, T. Adams, H. Jameson, F. P. Way, J. H. Coghill, E. Rogers, A. D. Hatch, A. W. Richardson, and A. Hobson, of San Francisco.
Voted, that the reports of committees to the Convention be referred to the Association when organized. Voted, that when this Convention adjourn it adjourns to meet at the call of the chairman.
Voted, to proceed in the organization of an Association.
Proceeded to hear the report of the committee upon the Constitution, Rules of Order, and Order of Business for the Association, by Rev. O. C. Wheeler on behalf of committee.
The report was taken up article by article, and after amendment adopted as follows. (See 3d, 4th, 5th and 6th pages.)
The choice of officers resulted as follows: Rev. O. C. Wheeler, Moderator; bro. Jno. F. Pope, Clerk; bro. James Appleton, Treasurer; Rev. J. W. Capen, Corresponding Secretary.
After prayer by Rev. F. E. Prevaux, adjourned to 2½, P.M.



THE Association assembled SATURDAY, Oct. 26th, at 2½ o'clock, P. M., pursuant to adjournment.
Prayer by bro. H. E. Lincoln.
Voted, that visiting brethren be invited to a seat with us. Bro. H. E. Lincoln, of Harvard Street Church, Boston, Mass., accepted the invitation.
The following committees were then appointed:
On Devotional Exercises-Rev. F. E. Prevaux, L. O. Grenell, O. C. Wheeler.
State of Religion-Rev. J. W. Capen, brn. J. M. Appleton, T. Adams.
Benevolent Efforts-Rev. F. E. Prevaux, brn. E. J. Willis, C. L. Ross.
Auditing-Brn. Jno. F. Pope, Josiah Ames.
Next Annual Meeting-Rev. L. O. Grenell, J. W. Capen, bro. H. Jameson.
Home Missions-Rev. J. W. Capen, F. E. Prevaux, L. O. Grenel1, brn. E. J. Willis, A. W. Richardson.
The Letters from the Churches were then read. (See page 15.)
The committee upon Domestic Missions presented their Report, which was adopted and ordered to be printed with with [sic] the minutes. (See. p. 19.)


The Committee upon Education presented their Report. (See p. 21.)
The Ccommittee upon Sabbath Schools presented their Report. (See. p. 24.)
The Committee upon Foreign Missions presented their Report. (See p. 25.)
The Committee upon Devotional Exercises presented the following Report:
1. That a meeting for prayer and conference precede this Evening's Session, commencing at 7 P. M.
2. That a prayer meeting be held to-morrow morning, commencing at 10 o'clock.
3. That Rev. L.O. Grenell preach at 11 A. M.
4. That Ret. J. W. Capen preach at 3 P. M. Services to be followed by administration of the Lord's Supper.
The following brethren were appointed a committee upon the subject of Education, with power to add to their number: Rev. O. C. Wheeler, brn. C. L. Ross, Jno. F. Pope, J. W. Raymond, Rev. F. E. Prevaux, of San Francisco; Rev. J. W. Capen, bro. E. J. Willis, of Sacramento; Rev. L. O. Grenell, bro. J. M. App1eton, of San Jose.
Voted, that T. J. Nevins, Esq., Agent of the American Tract Society, be invited to address the Association upon the Tract cause.
After listening to a very interesting address, the following Reso1utions were presented by Rev. O. C. Wheeler and adopted.
Resolved, lst. That we regard with deep interest the efforts making to disseminate the truths and principles of our holy religion, by the distribution of religious books and tracts.
2d. That as an efficient instrument for the accomplishment of this object, the American Tract Society commends itself to our sympathies and is worthy of our support. That we entertain the fullest confidence in its general plans and measures; and in the integrity and ability of its executive officers to carry out the same.
3d. That we hail with peculiar delight the organization, in our State, of the Pacific Tract Society; and that we will, to the extent of our ability and influence, sustain its executive board in its efforts to pursue its objects with the greatest possible efficiency.


4th. That we respectfully suggest to the said Society the importance of immediate and energetic efforts, to supply the people of various foreign nations, in our midst, with religious truth in their own native tongues.
Voted, to adjourn to meet at 7, P. M.
Prayer by the Moderator.


The Evening Session was opened by devotional exercises, continuing one hour.
The committee upon next Annual Meeting presented the following report, which was adopted.
1st. That the next Annual Meeting be held with the church in Sacramento city.
2d. That Rev. O. C. Wheeler preach the introductory sermon.
3d. That Rev. F. E. Prevaux be his alternate.
4th. That Rev. J. W. Capen write the Circular Letter.
On motion of Deacon J. M. Appleton
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to prepare a memorial for general circulation, to be presented to the Legislature of this State at its next session for the suppression of gambling.
Brn. C. L. Ross, J. M. Appleton, and Rev. J. W. Capen, committee.
Voted, that a committee of three be appointed to present a list of Associations with which we solicit correspondence. Rev. J. W. Capen, brn. T. Adams, E. J. Willis, committee.
After prayer by Rev. L. O. Grenell, adjourned to Monday 10 o'clock, A.M.
MONDAY, Oct. 28th.
Association met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 A.M.
Prayer by deacon J. Appleton.
The committee upon the State of Religion presented their report. (See p. 27)
The following committee upon Foreign Missions was appointed for the ensuing year: Rev. F. E. Prevaux, J. W. Capen, and bro. J. Appleton.


The committee, to whom was entrusted the service, recommend that the Association solicit correspondence with the following bodies:
American Baptist Home Mission Society; Southern Baptist Convention; American Baptist Publication Society; and the American Indian Mission Association. And with the following Associations:
Kennebec, Me. Shiloh, Va. Concord, Tenn.
Milford, N. H. Chowan, N. C. Bethel, Ky.
Woodstock, Vt. Charleston, S. C. Mad River, O.
North Boston, Mass. Georgia, Geo. Indianapolis, Ia.
Warren, R. I. Florida, Fa. Illinois River, Ill.
New London, Ct. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Blue River, Mo.
New York, N. Y. Central, Miss. Lenawee, Mich.
East New Jersey, N. J. Mississippi River, La. Milwaukie, Wis.
Philadelphia, Pa. Union, Texas. Davenport, Iowa.
Maryland Union, Md. Saline, Ark.
Report adopted and committee discharged.
Voted, that Rev. F. E. Prevaux, with the Moderator and Clerk, be a committee to prepare and superintend the publication of the minutes of the Association.
Voted, that the thanks of the Association be presented to Capt. A. J. Howell, of steamer Hartford, for his kindness in giving a free passage to the delegates to the Convention from Sacramento.
After a most delightful and harmonious session, richly interspersed with devotional exercises, the Association resolved to adjourn, to meet at Sacramento city on the 2d Friday in June next, at 10 o'clock, A.M.
The Moderator gave a brief but concise sketch of the rise and progress of religion in California, alluded, with deep emotion, to the providence of God which had placed him in his present position; returned thanks for the kind attention and aid of the brethren; invoked the divine blessing on the Association, and dismissed with the benediction.
O. C. WHEELER, Moderator.
Jno. F. POPE,
J. W. CAPEN, Clerks.

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