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J " a brighter PROSPECT. ;…

MONTGOMERYSHIRE LIBERAL ASSOCIATION.…

ST. ASAPH DIOCESAN CONFERENCE.

THE CONFERENCE.

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THE CONFERENCE. The first sitting of the Conference was held in the Public Rooms at 2-30. The Bishop took the chair, supported by the Ven. Archdeacon Thomas and Mr W. Trevor Parkins, hon. sees., the Earl of Powis, the Dean of St. Asaph, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, Bart., Sir Robert A. Cunliffe, Bart., Sir Pryoe Pryce-Jones, M.P., Principal Gent, Mr P. P. Pennant, the Rev Principal Owen of Lampeter, the Rev Chancellor Richardson, Corwen, Rev R. Evan-Jones, Llan- llwchaiarn, Rev David Williams, Llandyrnog, and Mr W. Forrester Addie. The lay and clerici.1 delegates present included :— Aberhafesp, the Rev James Dixon, Rev E. T. M. Evans, and Mr E. B. Proctor; Berriew, the Rev J. Baines Bettws, the Rev T. Hughes Davies and Mr Joan Pryce; Bettisfitld, the Rev W. L. Martin; Bryneglwys, Mr John Davies Buttington, the Rev T. Hughes; Dolfor, Mr W. Brown; Guilafield, the Rev J. S. Lewis and Capt. D. H. Myttoc Gresford, the Rev L. Wickham, Mr W. J. Sisson, Mr T. Reginald James; Kerry, the Rev A. O. Nares and Mr James Martin Llandysilio, Mr T. Pryce; Llan. dyeail, the Rev J. Parry Morgan and Mr R. E. Jones Lianddoget, Mr J. P. Evans; Llansilin, the Rev D. Davies; Llanfair Caereinion, the Rov T. Jeffrey Jones and Rev T. D. James; Llanllwchaiarn, the Rev R. Evan Jones and Mr E. Powell; Llanllugan, tn., Rev C. Williams; Llanwyddelan, Mr James Thomas; Llantysiiio, the Rev J. S. Jones; Llan- fyllin, the Rev T. Jones, the Rev C. F. Roberts and Mr J. Marshall Dugdale; Llanrhos, Mr W. Drake Blew; Llansantffraid, Mr Elijah Pryoe and Mr G. Kempster; Llanwyddyn, the Rev John Williama, Mr T. Davies and MrW. Owen Llanrhaiadr, the Rev D. Jodes; Llaarwst, Rev E. B. Hugh Jones; tfanafon, the Rev T. Rarries, Mr T. J. Hounsfield and Mr J. E. Thomas: Meifod, the Rev J. Wilym Jones; Newtown, the Rev E. A. Fishbourne, the Rev F. M. Hamilton and Mr C. W. Norton; Pennant, the Rev D. James; Prestatyn, the Rev G. Prion Pool Quay, the Rev R. J. Roberts; Tregynon, the Rev D. Grimaldi Davis and Mr John Thomas. ELECTION OF OFFICERS. Mr P. P. PENNANT proposed that Mr Trevor Parkins and Archdeacon Thomas be requested to act as hon. secretaries for the ensuing year, and that Mr Trevor Parkins be also asked to act as treasurer (oheara). Mr EDMUND PÉEL, of Brynypys, said the honour had been done him of asking him to second the mo- tion. The laity had as much confidence in the secretaryship of Mr Trevor Parkins as the clergy hae in that of Archdeacon Thomas (cheers). The motion was put and carried unanimously. THANKS. Sir P. PRTOE-JONES, M.P., said it was with infinite pletsure he proposed the resolution which had been placed in his hands, a resolution which he was sure would be received with aoclamatiou it was no oth-r than thanks to the excellent Principal who preached that admirable sermon to them that morning. Principal Gent not only,gave them a theological sermon, but carried their minds to things tiat n^ight possibly take place in the future, and he hoped and true ed that those who heard him would aot worthy of 'he occasion should it arise (cheers). His motion w s that the beet thanks of the Con. fef. nee be g ven to Principal Gent for the excellent mon he p eoobod to them that morning (cheers). Col. DAVIKS-COOKE, in seconding the motion, said he fully agreed with Principal Gent that it was mot I advisable r,hat tho-e Conferences should be held. The interchange of uleas between the ciergy and the laity was of the greatest use to the Church. They had most fortunately an excellent Bishop for the,e troublous times--(cheors)-aiid to them, whether lai'y or clergy, it was a pleasure to try and support him in every way they could. Th* motion was put and carried unanimously, and Principal GENT briefly thanked the meeting. DELEGATES. Mr E. O. V. LLOYD, of Berth, proposed that the Dean of St. Asaph, the Rev David ill vans, the Rev Principal Owea, Lord Harlech, ?!h P. P. Pennant, and Chincelior Trevor Parkins be elected delegates to tho Ceutral Council of Diocesan Conferences. The Rev Chanceilor RICHARDSON seconded the motiou, which was carried unanimously. Tne BISHOP OF ST. ASA.PH said For the first time in the history of our Diocesan Conference it meets at this important centre, which industrial enterpri e has made a familiar name all over the world. I am also reminded that counting the Church Congresses tbis is the fifth conference over which I have had the honour to preside, and we may well look back and pan6e over this fruitful and striving retrospect. In my first address to you at Rhyl, one of the first subjects, calling for attention, was that of the maintenance of our elementary schools. The atten- dance in the voluntary schools of this diocese is double that in the Board schools, and in the face uf great difficulties the average attendance since 1 spokti to you at Rhyl has increased by more than 1,400. This is a rosult which speaks eloquently for the generosity and devotion of clergy and iaity alike, but it encouragement increases so do our difficulties. We are now under powers that know not voluntary schools, or know them only with an unfavouring eye. and one of the most harassing aspects of the situation is this :—Unnecessary requirements, involving a con- siderable outlay of money, are enforced upon many 01 our schools, notably upon those that seem least able to bear the additional strain, and when we resist these requirements we are cleverly exposed to the accusation of wishing to maintain voluntary schools at the expense of efficiency. The accusation is un true (applause). We must make it impossible (hear, hear), in Wales during this century the clergy have been the most generous and devoted friends oi elementary education, and their interest in educating the children of the labourers and the artisan long predate the time when the enfranchisement of those classes attraoted political interest. Until tht labourer had a vote who but the Church cared about the euuoation of the children (applause) ? But be- cause new forces have come into the field we will not slacken our zeal for education (applause). How could we, while religious education in Wales finds in the Cuuich its only friends and protection? According to the Blue Book of 388, 290 out of the 300 Board schools in Wales have no examination in religious kn Jwledge. In 242 the Bible is not lead at all, 01 laad without comment. We are still, therefore, at Churchmen, the sole upholders of the most essential part of education. The defence of religious education 14 a noble cause, and while I invite every Churchmai in the diocese to go and to labour in this cause, let me warn myself and you that nothing could imperii that cause more than the slightest ground for sus- picion that we were maintaining religious education at the cost of a less efficient secular education in oui elementary schools. For this reason we, in tiiit- diocese, must spare, and I know will spare DO effort to maintain our national schools as well equipped ii ever.v detail of educational appliance, apparatus au, provision as are the Board schools, and when require ments wn.ch seem to promote this end are pressed upon us we must endeavour to meet them in a willing and generous spirit. We, as Churchmen, are the only upholders of religious education in Wales, anc we will not allow those whose educational efforts arc rate-aided to pose as the best friends of secular edu cation. In September, 1839, the Welsh Intermedial. Education Act had just been passed by the lati Government. I ventured then to hope that the exclu sioa of definite religious instruction, already auiented iu the day schools, and condemned by letd ing Nonconformists, would not be repeated in tht case of the new intermediate schools. That hop has not been fulfilled. Tue schemes drafted by the county committees propose, in direot violation of th Endowed Schools Act. that no distinctive religiou. teaching be given by the head of a boarding hODS. to his boarders, and that the formularies of an) particular denomination are not to be used in tht famdv worship. The mere settlement of such a pr. posal is its own condemnation, and it is a matter- foi satisfaction that two of these èchemes have been sen bick for amendment by the House of Lord., The regret remains that there should be anyone in Wales so narrow and so int jlerant as ever to bav. drafted such proposals. When we met at Rhy I had to call your attention to special difficulties nd trials which then beset the clergy. h ,this diocese those difficulties and trials have ab solutely disappeared, and while they are, all con nected with them are best forgotten, it is still we; and wise to remember tkat their disappearance W. E due entirely to those who took their st.Lud upon prin- ciple, and absolutely refuseJ to conciliate or com- promise at the cost of great principles; and the sani, firm grip of principles is still as imperative as it was then. The present Government have brought th( Dia-stablishment and Disendowment of the Church in Wales within the sphere of practical potitics. Tht discussion in the House of Commons on the firs reading of the Suspensory Bill aroused all loyal chu. chinen throughout Englaud and Wales, and the meeting summoned by the Archbishop of Canterbury which was held at the Albert Hall last May, ia a proof, if proof were needed, that the enemies of the Church in Wales must reckon with the whole Churci of England before they can carry out their scheme of spoliation (cheers.) I know I may on your behalf tender our respectful thanks to his grace the Arch. bishop of Canterbury for having put himself at the head of our defendmg forces, and with him let me couple those English Churchmen throughout tht length and breadth of the country, who, when the danger appeared, showed us not only the deeper sympathy, but gavo pledges of a strenuous determi- nation to stand by the Church in Wales to the last. The Suspensory Biil is probably dead, but not the danger. Next session we shall in all probability, have to face a Government measure for the Dises- tablishment and Disendowment of the Church in Wales, and this autumn we may be certain will bt used by our opponents to create if they can an agita- tion against the Church in Wales, and in the creation they will not be, from past experience, too scrupulous in the choice of means, with the use of weapons. May I in this connection commend to the careful perusal of clergy aid laity alike the Bishop of Ox- ford's charge, delivered last year. They will find there amostvaluabe. if brief, summary ofWetah history and Church history in Wales, from one whoe &alizority none can question. It would, indeed, be well if all interested in this subject were to study carefully the words of the Bishop of Oxford. What are we as Churchm ?u in this diocese going to do ? Is this question of Disestablishment of great import- ance or have we allowed our fears to magnify into greatness. a change which need not excite fear or alarm ? We know in outline what Disestablishment and Disendowment mean. Aupiy this knowledge practically. Do you see the way clear to carrying on the work of the Church as it is carried on now in any parish in the diocese under a disendowed Chutch? Stripped of the small endowments you have, could you carry on your National schools, could you maintain a settled ministry in our country parishes, could you maintain the present supply of clergy, and could you secure for them a position of adequate independence and authority? If the answer <0 all the"e is negative, then the greatness of the change proposed cannot be overstated. Again, is not the change equally great in relation to the whole community ? Do we adequately realise the effect which would follow in every parieh upon the disor- ganization and denudation of the Church, not only in the wok of religion, charity, and education, bui ill the drying up of countless, fertilising streams of social influence? Here, again, the answer oonfirma the greatness of the issue at stake. But grant that Disestablishment r-ud Disendowment would be a arreat change. is it after all a matter of principle or of mere ecclesiastical and civil arrangement? Is there a gioat principle involved in the recognition of religion by the State? Are the first principles of honesty and justice not involved in disendowment, or the taking away of property given for a specific pur- pose? Surely, first principles of the highest import- ance are involved in the proposals of Disestablish- ment and Disendowment? If then, this be a qaes. tion of such magnitude, and involving such arche- typal principles, Disestablishment and Disendow- ment is not a matter upon which an honest man can play the opportunist. Consider, too, the question of itq o;r»oi>il relation to the Church in Wales? Would it be well to have a Church in Wales distinct Mad separate from the Church in England, or so loosely federated as to be eutiraly under Its own rule ? A'i illustration from the civil side will be helpful At present the Parliamentary representatives of Wales ait in the Imperial Parliament at Westminster. Their proposals are now brought into the broad and open field of English public life, with its fresh and full currents of wider thoughts and independent •ritioism. Our young leaders, under much bracing conditions, will thrivd better and serve their own country better than if they were condemned to mature their ideas in iitifling- atmosphere of a small local assembly. What is so obviously true of our civil polity is eqally true of our ecclesiastical, and the analogy I have indicated will bear elaboration. We are told that disestablishment and disendowment would end the strife and dissension in Wales, and that at present evertbing resolves itself into a ques- tion of Church and chapel—a dividing and initiating line whioh the proposed change would, we are told, tío':4.. obliterate. But Wales has a history, and tbzosgfr out that history those divisions and dissensions ba"- existed. They are the natural characteristics of »• highly sensitive and sympathetic people, and at pM- sent these charaoteristics find a fusion in prtiiacdl^ and religious differences, and it is a serious blender to mistake the form of the difference for its eaUN". Disestablish and disendow the Church to-morrow,- and you will still have the differences still remammg,. only with a sharper edge, and in a more aggravated, if d fferent, form. Theee characteristics or defeew, of our people exist with very solid compeiittfuiog qualities. If we would mitigate these local and racial defects it will be by widening the area of iu- terest and contention, by giving the popular energies a share and responsibilities in uims, and interesá. and purposes of a broad and national character, wherein the petty strifes of local quarrels and zmtjpo-- thies will be forgotten in the promotion of larger hopes and more ennobling aims. These thought* indi- cate the direction in which our duty lies with rogaxd to disestablishment. It is a great question. It is a question of first principles. Where principles stake we do not ask for quarter. We are now bciofr told that if you come to ternn at once, these ifsrniM shall be easy. It is early to offer terms. Why i the offer made ? It is out of pity for our weakner)", from the sudden discovery of our strength. What- ever the answer may be, we won't parley about tenDll" we mean to win victory for the cause of religion and justice, and if Churchmen are loyal and united that victory is assured (cheers). THE SETTLED PASTORATE. Mr P. P. PENNANT read a paper on the Setttei Pastorate: Its Advantages and Responsibilities." He said the present parochial organisation was the best example he knew of a settled pastorate. It bad stood th-3 test of 1,000 years, and was being copied- in our numerous colonies, and they might coufidenfcjy claim that great advantages belonged to the system. Other bodies could not fill the place of the Church, for they failed in what was the essence of the parochial system; that it covered the whole of th*' land so that every place was included in scnoff parish, and so that every soul was in the care of tome appointed pastor. Occasionally, in the life of a nation, a body of preaching friars, or the eloqncneo of a Wesley or a Whitfield, might temporarily gal- vanise into religious fervour both town and country alike; but during the much longer periods of ealtOp- when religious excitemtnt was non-existent, wim, would then be found, if the settled pastorate wall gone, to carry out the Master's order, Feed my sheep." The voluntary religious bodies could not do, it. It was stated on good authority that there was no resident minister of religion other than the pastosr of the Es ablished Church in more than half the parishes of the diocese. Carry out the principle of disestablishment and disendowment, and it would cripple the old parish organisation that had esisted for 1000 years, and what pastoral provision woakl remain in many a rural parish P He would remind them there was a strong body, partly religious, portly political, who whatever their protestation as to- motive might be, did threaten action against the Church, which they firmly believed would do deadly injury to har and Christianity, and, further, that to leave alone any weakness which could be removt4 was to give the most efficacious aid to strengthen the attack. When a clergyman was appointed to Ow cure of souls he must remember he was an ambassador of Christ, not merely for those who went to Clburcbv nor to those who happened to live near the parsonage, but to every individual in the whole parish; to toodv. to teaoh and to adviee in all matters spiritual,astber might find opportunity. Ho must become con £ >- dential family lawyer and chief adviser, as well aB spiritual pastor. To gain that position, visniiny, regular and systematic, must be done. They nmet try to make a friend of everybody. To live amosfit none but friends had its reward. Let them kle.are of this, that those who saw them oftenest in their houses, they would see most often at the services ia the house of God. The day school, the clothing club, the penny bank, the care of the sick, the eot lecture, and other parochial ministrations, were all important in themseves, but mo-t important wbou w exercised as ta lead to and uphold the public serrioep of the Church. In conclusion, he reminded ill". of the schemes promulgated for disestablishment and, disendowment; of the Church, which would abolish the settled pastorate and cripple and disable the system most severely. He asked clergy and laity alike to value the loss, and be careful and preserve*, and hand down to their children uninjured, this holy and blessed heritage, which they, under Providence,, through so mmy gdnerations, had received from tkw eariy days ot Christianity. Canon FLETCHEB (Wrexham) having spoken, The Rev GRIMALDI DAVIS said he had heard WiW, great pleasure and profit the recital of the serviow, rendered by the Church to the Welsh people tnrongh settled pastorates, one way or another. He felt there was no need to lay stress upon one important fact, that there was great necessity to impress upon thf many inside the Church, and upon a much larger number who were without the pale of the Churub, t- value of settled pastorates. A great deal was heard nowadays about the good work done by the Noncon- formists of Wales, and whilst not desiring to minimi.. the good work done by them he thought the Cbnrch could justly claim a considerable portion cf creditfor the good that had accrued. If they took the mosfc favourable view of the work done by Nonconfornsisto it only went back 150 years, but the work of thf Church went back for 1800 years, and was character* ised by much trial and tribulution (hear, hear), rh. Church was the first to prdach the great truths of' Christianity to their forefathers and she tot-k prominent part in laying the foundation of the liber- ties of the people, religious, social, and educational, and she had maintained and defended those liberties- over and over again (applause). The Church in Wales had also done a grand work in the field of sacred literature, and had given to the Welsh people- the best treasure they ever had, the word of God in their own tongue (applause). If they compared the Welsh version and the revised edition of the Blbl. they would find that nearly every word was the Bamw as in the original, and this, he thought, spoke volumes- for the learning of Bishop Morgan and his colitaguee.. In the matter of education the Church had done meet- important work. Before 1870 the Church was practi-" cally the only educationist in the country, and Mr Mundella had said the best friends of education were the clergymen of the Church of England (bear, bear). Much of this had been carried out by means of their settled pastorate system. The clergyman's duty might, he thought, be divided into three, viz., the preacher, the pastor, and the priest. But preaching after all was not the be-all and end-all of a clergy man't' life. Every clergyman should have a personal know- ledge of the difficulties and trials of the people- to whom he ministered, and he ought to take, an active interest in their temporal welfare. He had to christen the children, to prepare the young for confirmation, to marry people when they came of age, to visit the sick, the poor. and the- dying, and he had a great deal to do, and how oould. he do it all unless he was a resident amongst the people to whom he was expected to minister (ap- plause.) Without endowments it would be impos- sible for the Church to have resident ministers in the. various parishes, and the value of the endowments lay in the great mission which they enibled ther clergy to carry out. There were people to day who strove their very best to take these gifts away from the Church, and he had not se.'n a single one of them- refused even the smallest endowment when it had been offered (laughter.) The clergyman of a parish in order to do his work well ought to be above the' constant worry of trying to make both ends meet- (tpplause.) This might be supposed by many to be tt very low ground upon which to argue, but the Master himself had told them The labourer is worthy of hi.. hire (hear, hear.) He thought no man ought to be given full charge of a parish until at least he had been at least fivfJ years in orders, and until he had had some. practical experience of parochial life, and on the otuer hand when clergymen bad arrived at a period when they were past work they should have a proper and sufficient competence to enabl. them to end their days in comfort and peace (bear, hear.) There had been many improvements of late. yeara. Thsy found their friends the ladies coming' forward in greater and increasing numbers, and tak- ing an active part in the<Jhurch's life. The clergy were most grateful to them for the help they gave, as it cheered them in work which was not only diffi- cult and responsible at most times, but very difroult, and very responsible in times like the present. Al- though the clergy admitted this, there was still room for greater improvement. The principle of personal, service in the Master's cause was not reoognisa, amongst Church people as it ought to be. They had great arreari to make up, there were new problem. constantly pressing on the Church, they had to oopo with the temptations to the rising generation. The day of democracy had dawned, and they must do all they could on behalf of the religion they professed,, and he hoped they would be able to induce their lay brethren and sisters to come forward more nobly an more energetically to help them, so that whatever changes might be in store for the Church in future, and in spite of the difficulties which surrounded her, she might become what she once was, the universal and the only one Church of the land (loud applause.) Captain MYTTON said he did not stand on the plat- form except in favour of the advantages to be deri ved.1 from the settled pastorate. He thought it behoved laymen to respond to the call of the previous speaker, and shew that they were interested in having a setw tied pastorate amongst them. The only argument ta be advanced against the settled pastorate was thafc amongst the clergy there were some who had failed in their work in different parishes, but whilst point- ing this out the laity were only too conscious of their" own failings and fallings from duty (applause.) Mr J. MARSHALL DUGDALE, referring to the re* marks which had been made with regard to the necessity that the clergy with scant iaoonas has* :¡;a