The following material is from the 1909 Minutes of the ALABAHA RIVER PRIMITIVE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION which met October 9, 10, and 11, at Mill Creek Church in Pierce County, Georgia. These originally belonged to my great grandfather, James Monroe Henderson and were passed down to his daughter, my grandmother, Minnie Jane Henderson Griffin, and then to her daughter, Myrtle Loree Griffin Boyd, and then to me.
Page One: PROCEEDINGS
Saturday, Oct. 9, 1909.
The Introductory Sermon was delivered by Elder Moses Thrift, from the words: "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid." 1st Timothy 5.24-25.
After a recess of thirty minutes the delegates assembled at the house where the Association was opened in the usual manner. Prayer by Elder Joseph Thomas.
1. Received and read letters from seventeen churches and minuted their state.
2. Proceeded to the election of Moderator and Clerk. Elder J. H. Strickland was re-elected Moderator, and W. O. Gibson, Clerk.
3. On motion, invited visiting brethren in the ministry, of our faith and order, to seats with us.
4. On motion, called for letters from newly constituted churches and received none.
5. On motion, called for correspondence from sister Associations to be handed over to a committee for examination, and received a letter and package of minutes from the St. Mary's River Primitive Baptist Association.
6. On motion, the Moderator was authorized to appoint a committee of five to arrange preaching, receive contributions and say what shall be done with the same. Whereupon a committee was appointed consisting of brethren P.D. Griffis (should be Griffin), J.H. Chancy, C.W. Prescott, N.A. Dixon and G. W. Crawford. They report that Elders W.O. Gibson, J.D. Knight and Ephraim Thomas occupy the stand on Sunday, and Elders B.F. Jones and Joseph Thomas on Monday in the order of their names.
7. On motion, the Moderator was authorized to appoint a committee of three, together with the Moderator and Clerk, to examine correspondence and arrange the business of the Association. Whereupon a committee was appointed consisting of Elders B.F. Jones, Joseph Thomas and Moses Thrift.
8. On motion, adjourned to Monday morning ten o'clock.
Sunday, Oct. 10, 1909
The Elders appointed to the stand came forward in the order of their names and preached to a large and attentive congregation, and we hope much good may be the result.
Monday, Oct. 11, 1909
Met according to Saturday's adjournment. Prayer by the Moderator.
1. On motion, read the Decorum.
2. On motion, called for the report of the arranging Committee, which was handed in, read and by motion and second received. The report that they have examined the correspondence of the St. Mary's River Primitive Baptist Association, and that they find nothing objectionable.
3. On motion, agreed to take up the further business of the Association as reported by the Arranging Committee without further motion and second.
4. The correspondence of the St. Mary's River Primitive Baptist Association was received by the Moderator extending the right hand of fellowship to their messengers, Elder J.D. Knight and brother I.K. Crews.
5. Called for Circular Letter which was handed in, read and received.
6. Proceeded to elect one to preach the Introductory Sermon at the next session and one to write Circular Letter for the same. Elder Ephraim Thomas was elected to preach, and Elder Joseph Thomas his alternative; Elder W.O. Gibson to write, and Elder Joseph Thomas his alternate.
7. Called for report of the committee on contributions. They report that they have received $49.11, and agree that we have 725 minutes printed this year, 600 for the use of the churches, and 125 for correspondence, and that the clerk have the balance of contributions after paying for printing and distributing the minutes.
8. Appointed Elder Ephraim Thomas to write Corresponding Letter to our sister St. Mary's River Primitive Baptist Association, which was read and received, and messengers were appointed to bear the same, to-wit: Elders J. H. Strickland and Joseph Thomas, and brethren G.W. Crawford, J.L. Johnson, W.S. Martin, J.W. Guinn and Jesse Aldridge.
9. Called for general business, and a marked letter from Shiloh, asking for the next session of the Association, was taken up, and it was agreed that the next session meet with Shiloh church, Pierce county, (sic) Ga., two miles northeast of Blackshear on the A.C.L.R.R., to convene on Saturday before the second Sunday in October, 1910.
10. On motion, the minutes taken were read and the Association adjourned to her next time and place.
W.O. Gibson, Clerk J.H.Strickland, Moderator.
Page Three DECORUM.
1. This Association shall open and close with prayer.
2. Those members who are regularly chosen by the churches shall be orderly members of the church by which they are chosen. Our union shall be called The Alabaha River Primitive Baptist Association.
3. The members thus chosen shall produce letters from their respective churches, certifying their appointment, together with their number of fellowship, baptized, received by letter, on confession of faith, restored, dismissed, excommunicated, and dead since our last Association.
4. This Association shall not have power to lord it over God's heritage, nor infringe upon any of the internal rights of the churches.
5. The Association shall have a Moderator and Clerk, who shall be chosen by the members present and continue to the next.
6. It shall be the duty of the Moderator to preserve order, to explain and put questions, and shall have the same right to speak as any other member, provided the chair be filled, but shall not vote unless the body be equally divided.
7. It shall be the duty of the Clerk to keep a fair record of the proceedings of the Association; the minutes taken shall be read, amended, (if needful) and signed by the Moderator and Clerk before the Association rises.
8. Any new church petitioning by letter and delegates for admission, and shall, upon examination, be found orthodox and orderly, shall be received by the Association, and shall be manifested by the Moderator extending the right hand of fellowship to their delegates.
9. Each church shall have the right to send two delegates to the Association and no more.
10. Every query presented shall be fairly stated in writing and approved by a majority before taken up.
11. Every motion made and seconded shall come under the observation of the Association, unless it be withdrawn by the person who made it, by consent of the Association.
12. Every person who speaks in debate shall rise from his seat and address the Moderator in an orderly manner, and shall not be interrupted while speaking except he depart from the subject.
13. No person shall speak more than three times without leave of the Moderator.
14. There shall be no talking or whispering in time of debate or public speech, not reflection cast upon the speaker.
Page Four DECORUM. continued
15. When a case is decided by vote, there shall be no more debating on that subject.
16. No member shall absent himself from the Association without leave of the Moderator.
17. If any member shall break the rules of this Decorum he shall be immediately reproved by the Moderator.
18. These rules shall be read at every Association previous to entering on business.
19. It shall be the duty of the Association to keep up a correspondence with other Associations of the same faith and order, that a chain of connection may be preservd among the churches.
20. To give the best advice they can in matters of difficulty, and if the union be broken between any of the sister churches, to inquire into the cause of the breach and use their endeavors to remove the difficulty; but if the breach can not be healed, to withdraw from any church or churches which they may judge unsound in principle or immoral in practice until they me reclaimed.
21. to invite any of the brethren in the ministry to assist if necessary.
22. To provide for the general union of the churches, not hold those in union that support any modern missionary, Bible, or Sunday school union societies, theological schools either in themselves or any person or persons, or any other society that now is or may hereafter be instituted under pretext of circulating the gospel of Christ, nor will it correspond with any Association that supports in any way of the above societies.
23. We recommend the churches composing this body to receive members who went off with the missionaries at the time of their separation from us, who return with a suitable confession, and not to receive any who have been baptized by them since their separation, only by experience and baptism.
W.O. Gibson, Clerk. J.H. Strickland, Moderator.
ARTICLES OF FAITH.
1. We believe in one only true and living God. That there are three persons in the Godhead---Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
2. We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice.
3. We believe in the doctrine of eternal and particular election.
Page Five ARTICLES OF FAITH. continued
4. We believe in the doctrine of original sin.
5. We believe in man's impotency to recover himself from the fallen state he is in by nature, by his own free will and ability.
6. We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God only by the imputed righteousness of Christ.
7. We believe that God's elect shall be called, regenerated and sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
8. We believe that baptism, the Lord's Supper and washing the saints' feet are ordinances, and we believe the only true mode of baptism is by immersion.
9. We believe that saints shall persevere in grace and never finally fall away.
10. We believe that the punishment of the wicked shall be everlasting, and the joys of the righteous shall be eternal.
11. We believe that no minister has the right to the administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper, except such as are regularly called and come under the hands of the presbytery.
12. We believe in the resurrection of the dead and a general judgment.
W.O. Gibson, Clerk. J.H. Strickland, Moderator.
The Alabaha River Primitive Baptist Association to the St. Mary's River Primitive Baptist Association of the same faith and order sendeth brotherly love and esteem.
Dear and much beloved brethren in the Lord:---Through God's care and mercy we have been spared and allowed to meet together in another Association with a full representation, and through the manifestation of his power and love, and harmony among the brethren causes us to believe that we are still led by his counsel which enables us to try to persevere.
The next session of this Association will meet with Shiloh church, Pierce county,(sic) Ga., two miles northeast of Blackshear, on the A.C.L.R.R., and we hope you will continue your friendly correspondence with us.
May the Lord keep and preserve you is our desire for Christ's sake. Amen.
W.O. Gibson, Clerk. J.H. Strickland, Moderator.
Page Six CIRCULAR LETTER.
The Alabaha River Primitive Baptist Association to the several churches of which she is composed sends christian (sic) greetings.
Beloved Brethren in the Lord:---Through the goodness and mercy of an allwise God we have been blessed and kept through another year, and have been permitted to meet in another session of the Association. When we are permitted to look back over the long period of time since the old Alabaha Association was organized we are constrained to say: Surely the Lord has indeed remembered and kept his covenant with his people and is plainly manifesting the fulfillment of his promise to them that he will be their God, and they shall be his people. No hand but his could have sheltered them, no power but his could have preserved and kept them through the many dangers which they have passed, and he commands them as a kind and loving father to forsake the weak and beggarly elements of the world and cleave to him, and if ye do these things ye shall never fall. His arm is strong and he has all power in heaven and on earth, and dear brethren if we can only obey and trust him we shall have nothing to fear. Be valiant and of a good courage, and while the journey which you are having to make is long, and the way many times seems rugged and hard let us try to remember that the land to which you are traveling is a good and pleasant land, a land flowing with milk and honey, a land where your rest will be sweet and peaceful and will last forever; for he has loved his people with an everlasting love, and there you will fully realize what you have been permitted to believe here, that the joys of the righteous will be eternal. It is indeed a joy to the Lord's little children to feast upon the sweet promises of the gospel here while they are surrounded with trials and troubles, but O! what a joy when they are called away to the mansions of happiness and love, where nothing but joy, peace and pleasure will ever be known. Where the Lord himself is the light of the place. Then dear brethren through our few remaining days let us strive to be as obedient to duty as our sinful nature will permit, looking to Jesus who is the author and finisher of the faith of his own elect. Let us abstain from fleshly lusts which was against the soul, and may your divine Master enable you through his power and grace to present yourselves a living sacrifice when the call of duty reaches you. As a chosen and favored people you have no time for idleness or to devote to worldly amusements, for we can not run after the things of this world and follow the meek and lowly Savior, and he has commanded his people to forsake all things else and follow him, which if ye do all will be well.
(The above information on page 7 takes up a little more than a quarter of the page. Halfway down the page is a printed medallion which is a decoration. It is about the size of a dime.)
Page Eight STATISTICAL TABLE.
I made a picture of this page which can be seen on page one of this site. The handwriting next to P.D. Griffin which say "My grandad" is Mother's. She was thinking this was Peter Griffin her Grandfather. This is really Pleasant Dempsey Griffin. But she was correct about J.M. Henderson being her "grandad" for this is James Monroe Henderson, her Grandfather.)
(Added pictures on 22 August 1998.
If anyone finds these Minutes interesting and/or discovers any relatives here and/or knows the full names of the ministers listed above, I would like to hear from you. I also would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to sign my guestbook on my first page.