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s Church might be organized, and a succession in the “ Ministry kept up, so as to be an object of public " notice and support in common with other Christian « Churches under the Revolution.” This was the occasion of calling this General Convention.
Some Legislative interposition or sanction appeared necessary in the course of this business; for as our Church derived her Liturgy from the Church of England, and was formerly dependent on the same Church for a succession in her Ministry, and had certain property reserved to her by the Constitution of this State, under the name of the Church of England; it became a question whether, if any alterations should be made in the Liturgy, or in the mode of succession in the Ministry, she could any longer be considered as the Church described in the Constitution of this State, or intitled to the perpetual use of the Property aforesaid. An incorporating Act, or Charter was also deemed necessary to enable the Clergy or some Representative Body of the Church, to raise and manage a Fund for certain charitable and pious purposes; such Charters having been granted to Christian Societies of every denomination in other of the neighbouring States, wherever they had been prayed for.
This was the foundation of the following Petition, which has nothing for its object but equal Privileges; and prays for nothing but what the Members of our Church consider as their undoubted Right, under the Constitution and Laws of the State.
STATE OF MARYLAND.
THE MEMORIAL AND PETITION OF THE SUBSCRIBERS IN BE
HALF OF THEMSELVES AND OTHERS, THE CLERGY OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCHES,
That the happy termination of War, the establish, ment of Peace, and the final recognition and acknowledgment of the Sovereignty and Independence of these United States among the Powers of the World, yield a favourable occasion (which this State in particular hath long desired) of making some permanent Provision, agreeably to the Constitution, for “ the Ministers of Religion," and the advancement of useful Knowledge and Literature, through this rising American Empire.
That, in respect to the Episcopal Churches in this State (to the Communion of which so large a proportion of the good people of Maryland belongs) the following things are absolutely necessary, viz.
1st. That some alterations should be made the Liturgy and Service, in order to adapt the same Revolution, and for other purposes of Uniformity, Concord and Subordination to the State.
2d. That a plan for educating, ordaining, and keeping up a succession of able and fit Ministers or Pastors, for the Service of the said Churches, agreeably to ancient practice and their professed Principles, as well as that universal Toleration established by the Constitution, be speedily determined upon and fixed, under the public authority of the State, and with the advice and consent of the Clergy of the said Churches, after due consultation had thereupon
Your Petitioners, therefore, humbly prayThat the said Clergy may have leave to consult, prepare
and offer to the General Assembly, the draft of a Bill, for the good purposes aforesaid—and your Pe- . titioners, as in duty bound, shall pray, &c. (Signed,)
THOMAS GATES. The Prayer of the foregoing Petition was readily granted, and a Meeting or Convention of the Clergy, in pursuance thereof, was held at Annapolis, 13th August, 1783; and the following Declaration of certain Fundamental Rights and Liberties of the Protes
tant Episcopal Church of Maryland, drawn up and subscribed, viz.
Whereas by the Constitution and Form of Government of this State—“ All persons professing the Chris“tian Religion are equally intitled to protection in “ their Religious Liberty, and no person, by any Law,
(or otherwise] ought to be molested in his person or
estate, on account of his Religious Persuation or Pro“ fession, or for his Religious Practice; unless, under “ colour of Religion, any man shall disturb the good “ Order, Peace, or Safety of the State, or shall infringe “ the Laws of Morality, or injure others in their Na. “ tural, Civil, or Religious Rights:" And whereas the Ecclesiastical, and Spiritual Independence of the different Religious Denominations, Societies, Congregations, and Churches of Christians in this State, necessarily follows from, or is included in, their Civil Independence.
Wherefore we, the Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Maryland (heretofore denominated the Church of England, as by Law established) with all duty to the civil authority of the State, and with all Love and Good-will to our Fellow-Christians of every other Religious denomination, do hereby declare, make known, and claim, the following, as certain of the Fun: damental Rights and Liberties inherent in and belong. ing to the said Episcopal Church, not only of common Right, but agreeably to the express Words, Spirit aną Design of the Constitution and Form of Government aforesaid, viz. I. WE consider it as the undoubted Right of the said
Protestant Episcopal Church, in common with other Christian Churches under the American Revolution, to complete and preserve herself as an entire Church, agreeably to her ancient Usages and Profession, and to have the full enjoyment and free exercise of those purely Spiritual Powers, which are essential to the being of every Church or Congregation of the faithful, and which, being derived only from Christ and his Apostles, are to be maintained independent of every foreign or other Jurisdiction, so far as may be
consistent with the civil Rights of Society. II. That ever since the Reformation, it hath been the
received doctrine of the Church whereof we are Members (and which by the Constitution of this State is intitled to the perpetual enjoyment of certain Property and Rights, under the denomination of the Church of England) “ That there be these three Or“ ders of Minister's in Christ's Church, Bishops, “ Priests and Deacons," and that an Episcopal Ordination and Commission are necessary to the valid administration of the Sacraments, and the due exer
cise of the Ministerial Functions in the said Church. III. That, without calling in question the Rights,
Modes and Forms of any other Christian Churches or Societies, or wishing the least contest with them on that subject, we consider and declare it to be an essential Right of the said Protestant Episcopal Church to have and enjoy the continuance of the said three Orders of Ministers forever, so far as concerns matters purely Spiritual; and that no persons, in the character of Ministers, except such as are in the Communion of the said Church, and duly called to the Ministry by regular Episcopal Ordination, can or ought to be admitted into, or enjoy any of the “ Churches, Chapels, Glebes, or other Property,” formerly belonging to the Church of England in this State, and which by the Constitution and Form of Government is secured to the said Church forever, by whatsoever name, she the said Church, or her superior Order of Ministers, may in future be de.
nominated. IV. That as it is the Right, so it will be the Duty, of
the said Church, when duly organized, constituted, and represented in a Synod or Convention of the dif. ferent Orders of her Ministry and People, to revise her Liturgy, Forms of Prayer, and public Worship, in order to adapt the same to the late Revolution, and other local circumstances of America; which, it is humbly conceived, may and will be done, without any other or farther departure from the venerable Order and beautiful Forms of Worship of the Church from whence we sprung, than may be found expedient in the change of our situation from a Daughter to a Sister Church.
Signed, August 13th, 1783. William Smith, President, and Rector of St. Paul's and
Chester Parishes, Kent-County. John Gordon, Rector of St. Michael's, Talbot. John M.Pherson, Rector of William and Mary Parish,
Charles County. Samuel Keene, Rector of Dorchester Parish, Dorches
ter County. William West, Rector of St. Paul's Parish, Baltimore. William Thomson, Rector of St. Stephen's, Cæcil County. Walter Magowan, Rector of St. James's Parish, Ann
Arundel County. John Stephen, Rector of All-Faith Parish, St. Mary's
County. Thomas John Claggett, Rector of St. Paul's Parish,
Prince George's County. George Goldie, Rector of King and Queen, St. Mary's
County. Joseph Messinger, Rector of St. Andrew's Parish, St.
Mary's County. John Bowie, Rector of St. Peter's Parish, Talbot County. Walter Harrison, Rector of Durham Parish, Charles
Parish, Ann-Arundel County.
rish, Baltimore County.
Signed, Somerset County.
1784. Francis Walker, Rector of Shrewsbury Pa
rish, Kent County.