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must call in the Presiding Elder of the neighbouring district, who is required to attend and preside at the trial.
If the accused and accuser cannot be brought face to face, but the supposed delinquent flees from trial, it shall be received as a presumptive proof of guilt; and out of the mouth of two or three witnesses he shall be condemned. Nevertheless, even in that case, the Annual Conference shall reconsider and determine the whole matter.
And if the accused be a superannuated preacher, living out of the bounds of the Conference of which he is a member, he shall be held responsible to the Annual Conference within whose bounds he may reside, who shall have power to try, acquit, suspend, locate, or expel him, in the same manner as if he were a member of said Conference.
2. If the charge be preferred at the Conference, the case may be referred to a committee, in the presence of a Presiding Elder, or a member appointed by the Bishop in his stead, who shall cause a faithful record of the proceedings and testimony to be laid before the Conference; on which, with such other evidence as may be admitted, the case shall be decided.
Quest. 2. What shall be done in cases of improper tempers, words, or actions.
Answ. The person so offending shall be reprehended by his senior in office. Should a second transgression take place, one, two, or three ministers or preachers, are to be
taken as witnesses. If he be not then cured, he shall be tried at the next Annual Conference, and, if found guilty and impenitent, shall be expelled from the connexion, and his name so returned in the Minutes of the Conference.
Quest. 3. What shall be done when a member of an Annual Conference fails in business, or contracts debts which he is not able to pay ?
Answ. Let the Presiding Elder appoint three judicious members of the Church to inspect the accounts, contracts, and circumstances of the supposed delinquent, and if, in their opinion, he has behaved dishonestly, or contracted debts without the probability of paying, let the case be disposed of according to the answer of question one of this section.
Quest. 4. What shall be done with those ministers or preachers who hold and disseminate, publicly or privately, doctrines which are contrary to our articles of religion ?
Answ. Let the same process be observed as in case of gross immorality: but if the minister or preacher so offending do solemnly engage not to disseminate such erroneous doctrines in public or in private, he shall be borne with, till his case be laid before the next Annual Conference, which shall determine the matter.
Quest. 5. What shall be done when a travelling minister is accused of being so unacceptable, inefficient, or secular, as to be no longer useful in his work ?
Answ. The Conference shall investigate the case, and if it appear that the complaint is well founded, and the accused will not voluntarily retire, the Conference may locate him without his consent.
Provided, nevertheless, that in all the above-mentioned cases of trial and conviction, an appeal to the ensuing General Conference shall be allowed, if the condemned person signify his intention to appeal, at the time of his condemnation, or at any time thereafter when he is informed thereof.
In all the above-mentioned cases it shall be the duty of the secretary of the Annual Conference carefully to preserve the minutes of the trial, whether taken before a committee or before the Conference, and all the documents relating to the case, together with the charge or charges, and the specification or specifications; which minutes and documents only, in case of an appeal from the decision of an Annual Conference, shall be presented to the General Conference, in evidence on the case. And in all cases, when an appeal is made, and admitted by the General Conference, the appellant shall either state personally, or by his representative, (who shall be a member of the Conference,) the grounds of his appeal, showing cause why he appeals, and he shall be allowed to make his defence without interruption. After which, the representatives of the Annual Conference from whose decision the appeal is made, shall be permitted to respond in presence of the appellant, who shall have the
privilege of replying to such representatives, which shall close the pleadings on both sides. This done, the appellant shall withdraw, and the Conference shall decide. And after such form of trial and expulsion, the person so expelled shall have no privileges of society or sacraments in our Church, without confession, contrition, and satisfactory reformation.
A preacher on trial who may be accused of crime shall be accountable to the Quarterly Conference of the circuit on which he travels. The Presiding Elder shall call a committee of three local preachers, who may suspend him; and the Quarterly Conference may expel him: nevertheless, he shall have a right to an appeal to the next Annual Conference.
When any travelling elder or deacon is deprived of his credentials, by expulsion or otherwise, they shall be filed with the papers of the Annual Conference of which he was a member; and should he at any future time give satisfactory evidence to said Conference of his amendment, and procure a certificate of the Quarterly Conference of the circuit or station where he resides, or of an Annual Conference who may have admitted him on trial, recommending to the Annual Conference of which he was a member formerly the restoration of his credentials, the said Conference may restore them.
SECTION III. Of the Trial of Local Preachers. Quest. 1. What shall be done when a local Elder, Deacon, or preacher, is reported to be guilty of some crime expressly forbidden in the word of God, sufficient to exclude a person from the kingdom of grace and glory?
Answ. 1. The preacher having charge shall call a committee, consisting of three or more local preachers, before whom it shall be the duty of the accused to appear, and by whom he shall be acquitted, or, if found guilty, suspended until the next Quarterly Conference. And the preacher in charge shall cause exact minutes of the charges, testimony, and examination, together with the decision of the committee, to be laid before the Quarterly Conference, where it shall be the duty of the accused to appear. If the accused refuse or neglect to appear before said committee, he may be tried in his ab
And the president shall, at the commencement of the trial, appoint a secretary, who shall take down regular minutes of the evidence of the trial, which minutes, when read and approved, shall be signed by the president, and also by the members of the Conference who are present, or a majority of them. And in case of condemnation, the local preacher, Deacon, or Elder, shall be allowed to appeal to the next Annual Confer