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From:
Subject: Re: [BRE] Letters
Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 00:02:12 EDT


A few comments upon letters, and an example, from the history of the La
Verne Church of the Brethren.

1) In the Annual Meeting of 1898 it was decided that when a member changed
to a new church, the church clerk or secretary would fill out and issue a
standard slip. It would be affixed to an “annexed certificate” and returned to
the clerk of the church that issued the certificate, to complete the
transfer.

Such a form letter found in La Verne’s church records reads as follows:
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Church Letter
This certifies that Mr. & Mrs. A.W. Warner presented their certificate of
membership and is under the watch-care of the Pomona church. Date: 11/16/47.
Pastor, H.E. Thomas. No. 44 P.O. Pomona, State: Calif.

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2) New members, received by baptism or by letter, were officially
introduced to the congregation in a Sunday morning service, often at Easter. Their
names were mentioned in the church bulletin and read into the minutes of the
next Quarterly Council. Rev. Galen Walker summed up eight years in 1937 by
noting that “We received 179 souls by baptism...254 by church letter, and
granted 180 church letters.” [Granting to members moving to other churches.]

3) In one very early case, a disgruntled member demanded his church letter,
to be given to him. The church preferred to mail it to the church he would
be joining. Finally, reluctantly, they gave him his church letter and he
vanished from our history.

3) In 1939, the April Church Council considered the question of what should
be done when a person wished to join the church but did not have a letter of
transfer. It was agreed that such persons state their case to the Membership
Committee, and “If a confession of sin appears necessary, it shall be made
to the committee and their confession of faith shall in every case be given to
the committee. It this presentation meets the approval of the committee,
they shall recommend that membership be granted to the persons concerned, and
shall present the recommendation to the Official Board. If the Official Board
approves, they shall recommend that the Council grant the persons membership
in the church. This recommendation shall be presented to the church for
final action."

4) In January, 1940, the La Verne church considered whether outsiders from
other denominations be accepted into the La Verne church with just a transfer
of letters, and no re-baptism? The issue was initiated by a request for
membership by a new dentist in town, Dr. Worth.

The Board recommended that a category of “Associate” members be set up as
Section B under Section I, Article III of the constitution. "A" would be
"Regular Membership”: “B” would read “Members of other Evangelical
Churches, who are in good standing, may become associate members of this church upon
recommendation of the membership committee and the official board. The
associate member has all the privileges of a layman except to represent the
church at District or Annual conferences.”

A motion for this passed. The Board soon approved the Worths as associate
members.

Galen








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