To the Ministers and Delegates Composing the Catawba River Baptist Association:
At the last annual meeting of this body, I was appointed to collect together a historical sketch, of this Association, from its origin until the present session-notwithstanding the difficulty attending the collection of such data, as would be likely to make it useful and interesting. Still we have been able to collect a file of minutes, from the Constitution of the body, until the present time; and shall proceed at once, to give such incidents and facts, as we think will prove beneficial and instructive. We learn by information obtained from the minutes of the first regular meeting of the Association, after its organization, that it was constituted on the 16th of Nov., 1827, the friends of the enterprise having held a preparatory convention on the 15th of April preceding its organization, and drafted an abstract of principles, by which they were to be governed.The first session of this body was held with a Church in Caldwell Co., called the Head of Yadkin. Letters were read from thirteen Churches-all of which formerly belonged to the Broad River Association. The Broad River Association may, therefore, be said to be the mother of the Catawba Association.
An introductory Sermon was preached by Elder Alfred Webb. Elder Reuben Coffye was chosen Moderator and Alfred Webb, Clerk. Agreed that this body should be designated by the name of the Catawba River Baptist Association.
The Association appointed union meetings early after its organization-one being appointed at Union Church, Burke County, for the year 1828. A resolution was passed at the first session of this body recommending the churches to meet on Christmas day for religious worship and where they were destitute of a Minister to hold prayer meetings. Also a resolution setting apart the 4th of July for divine service.
A resolution was passed by the body advising the Churches to withhold their suffrages from all candidates for office who are guilty of the degrading practice of treating on spiritouous liquors, to obtain votes.
Whatever, may have been the propriety of the following resolution-it was nevertheless adopted by the body composed of some of the purest Christian patriots that ever lived.
RESOLVED, That we advise the Churches to set apart the first Thursday in August next, as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, for the interposition of the Holy Spirit in stilling the party rage that appears to abound respecting the Presitential question.
The stand was occupied on the Sabbath by Elders Smith Furguson, A Webb, and W. Richards. Correspondence was opened with the French Broad and with the Mountain District Associations.
The second session of this body was held with the Bill’s Creek Church, Rutherford Co., on October 3rd. The introductory sermon was delivered by Humphrey Posey; Elders A. Webb, Moderator, and J. C. Grayson, Clerk. Elder Humphrey Posey and William Kimsey were present as corresponding messengers from the Broad River Association. James Vannoy and Wm. Kendal wee corresponding delegates from the Mountain District Association. Correspondence was opened at this session with Broad River Association-the mother of this body. The Association considered the following query from Ebenezer Church: “Is it consistent with the Gospel, to license a man to go into the world to preach and not to administer the ordiances.” Answered in the negative.
Elders William Kimsey, Druary Dobbins and H. Posey preached on the Sabbath. There was no circular letter this year-Elder R. Coffey having failed to attend.
In 1829, this body met with the Silver Creek Church, Burke County. The Introductory Sermon was preached by Elder Alfred Webb.
Letters were read from fourteen churches, and delegates’ names enrolled.
The following Churches were admitted into the body at this meeting, vis: North Catawba AND Smyrna dismissed from the Broad River and Antioch from the Brier Creek. Correspondence was opened with the Brier Creek Association, and John Redman was present as a messenger. Humphrey Posey and Christopher Powell were present as corresponding delegates from the French Broad Association. Also Drury Senter, from the Mountain District Association.
Owing to some difficulty between the Brier Creek and Yadkin Associations, this body resolved to drop correspondence with said Association till their difficulties should be settled. The Association took up and considered a query found in the minutes of the French Broad Association.
Is it good order for members to choose the Church in which their membership should be without regard to their local circumstances? Answer: We think in a general way, it would be gest for members of Churches to belong to the nearest Church to them.
Query from Mt. Rhuhannah: “Shall we commune with the Dunkard Baptist? The query was answered in the negative. Query second: are we to continue the practice of laying on of hands on those we Baptise? Answer: we think there is no Scripture that enjoins it as a duty.
Query from New Bethany: Do the Scriptures prohibit a Minister of the Gospel from administering medicine to his fellow man, if called upon so to do? Answer: No, Query from Head First Broad: Would it not be more proper to say Son in the place of the Word in our abstract of principles, Art. 1st? Answer: We think the Word and Son are synonymous terms. Brethren R. Coffey, John Bradly, Alfred Webb, T. Carleton and Benjamin Beach, were appointed a committee to visit New Bethany Church and assist them in settling a difficulty in the Church. Appointed Elders Webb, Padget and Coffey, to attend Smyrna and assist them in the ordination of a Minister. The name of the minister is not mentioned in these proceedings. The Association agreed to accept of an offer of tracts from the American Tract Society, and appointed J. C. Grayson to correspond with that Society, on the subject. The stand was occupied on the Sabbath by Elders Senter, Posey and Richards.