An Appeal to the Working Men and Women in the Ranks of Seventh-day Adventists

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CONSTITUTION

ART. I. This Society shall be called the Tract and Missionary Society of the Seventh-day Adventists of the Conference of---. AWMW 14.2

ART. II. The officers of this Society shall be a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and a Board of Directors of---, of which the President shall be one, and they shall be elected annually. AWMW 14.3

ART. III. The objects of this society shall be: 1. The proper distribution of our Tracts, Pamphlets, and Books. 2. To obtain subscribers for our periodicals; to collect dues and renew subscriptions; and to pay subscriptions for the worthy poor; and, for this purpose, agents shall be appointed annually, who shall report quarterly to the Board of Directors. 3. To visit, and labor (by correspondence or otherwise), for the encouragement and help of the scattered ones of like precious faith; for those who are falling back because of discouragements; and to interest all within the reach of our influence in the great truths connected with the last message of mercy to the world. 4. To bring about, as far as possible, equality among our people in the payment of Systematic Benevolence, in accordance with the plan adopted, in taking stock in the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, and the Health Reform Institute, and in donating to other benevolent enterprises. AWMW 14.4

ART. IV. Any person may become a member of this Society who is in good standing in one of our churches, or who may be recommended by a church of Seventh-day Adventists, by the payment of one dollar. AWMW 15.1

ART. V. Quarterly meetings shall be held under the direction of the Board of Directors; and each member shall keep a record of his or her labor, and report the same at said quarterly meetings. AWMW 15.2

ART. VI. The funds to be employed by this Society shall consist of the money paid for memberships, and free-will offerings. AWMW 15.3

ART. VII. The Board of Directors shall have the general management and oversight of the work of this Society, both in disbursing funds and in counseling in regard to labor; and shall act as agents in collecting funds for this Society. AWMW 15.4

ART. VIII. This Constitution may be amended at any annual meeting, by a vote of two-thirds of the members present. AWMW 15.5

The Michigan and Indiana Conference was then divided into thirteen districts, with a design that four quarterly meetings be held in each district during the year. The meeting elected a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and a board of fourteen Directors, of which the President is one. AWMW 15.6

The meeting was characterized by harmony, and a good degree of interest and zeal; and, at the close, all felt confident that the plan adopted combined the good of all proposed ones. We would here remark that appointing a Director in each district, whose duty it is to see that each church in his district acts in accordance with the design of the Society, secures action in every locality of our people, and at the same time union of the entire Conference, and uniform action are secured by the labors of the President, who gives his entire time to the interests of the Society. AWMW 15.7

We do not say that perfection is reached by this plan. Time and experience may show reasons for changes in some particulars. Neither do we say that the action of Michigan in all particulars will apply to the condition of things in all our Conferences. But we do earnestly recommend this plan in the main in all those Conferences where numbers, territory, and strength, admit of it. AWMW 16.1

The worthy objects of this Society deserve a brief notice in this place. AWMW 16.2

1. The circulation of our tracts, pamphlets, and books. We have already stated that hundreds have given themselves to the Lord, to keep all of his commandments, from simply reading some of our publications. And there are thousands more being impressed with the truth by reading who are being brought into a favorable condition of mind to be led to acknowledge the truth by hearing it preached, or by personal labors of missionaries. There is no duty more clearly manifest at the present time than the active circulation of our publications, done in a judicious manner to secure their reading. AWMW 16.3

2. The wider circulation of our periodicals, the collection of dues, and the furnishing of our periodicals to the worthy poor, are matters of vast importance to the cause. The press is a mighty engine. The more liberal the patronage, the larger will be the income, and the more editorial talent can be bestowed upon our periodicals and publications, and greater good will they accomplish by them. AWMW 16.4

Our several State Conferences have, by unanimous vote, assumed the responsibility of the payment of all debts to this Office for the Review and Herald, the Health Reformer, and the Youth’s Instructor. This will be regarded by all as very liberal, and showing a general interest in the cause. AWMW 17.1

But the plan upon which our publishing work is conducted, makes such action on the part of our people simply appear reciprocal, rather than in the light of disinterested benevolence. If our publishing was carried on by one man, or by a firm, who should realize profits from it, any action on the part of our Conferences to be responsible for the payment of our periodicals would be regarded as misplaced benevolence. But the entire property of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association belongs to our people, and not to one man, or any set of men. And those who labor at our publishing house, from the little girl who folds papers, to the editors, receive moderate wages. AWMW 17.2

Whatever pecuniary benefit Tract and Missionary Societies may be to our Publishing Association, no one connected with the publishing work will be benefited pecuniarily a single penny. These Societies are simply working for the Lord and themselves in the building up of their own Publishing Association. AWMW 17.3

We have asked the brethren in the several States to take an interest in our periodicals in the following particulars:- AWMW 17.4

a To see that they do not go to unworthy persons who neglect to pay for them.
b To see that the worthy poor do receive them, and to take a general interest in a much wider circulation of them.
c To see that those who are able to pay for them, do pay for them, or, in case they do not pay, have them discontinued.
d That each Conference become responsible for the payment of all sums due from subscribers within the limits of the Conference, the Association deducting one-fourth on all periodicals sent to the worthy poor, and on all sums due from unworthy persons, who may refuse to pay.

The Association proposed in turn to furnish to the President of each Conference, with proper restrictions, full lists of subscribers for our three periodicals, from time to time, as it might be necessary, and leave it to his judgment, and that of those associated with him in office, who, and how many, should have our periodicals free. It was left to them to decide, and not the Trustees of the Publishing Association, what names shall be retained upon our lists, and what shall be stricken off. All appeals and requests that our periodicals should be sent free, or at part price, were to be referred to the Presidents of the several Conferences for their decision. It was, therefore, left to each Conference, through its officers, to say how many copies of our periodicals it would pay for, the Association deducting one-fourth. AWMW 18.1

When Tract and Missionary Societies shall be organized in the several Conferences, the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association will sustain the same relation to them, respecting our periodicals and publications, that it has to the State Conferences, as above stated. The Association will furnish blank reports, envelopes with the Association’s printed address, and specimen copies of our periodicals, free. AWMW 18.2

3. The missionary work mentioned in Art. III of the Constitution, is just what the members of all our churches need for their own spiritual growth. And eternity alone can show the amount of good that can be accomplished in the salvation of souls by such labor. AWMW 19.1

There is a law which rules alike relative to physical, mental, and spiritual power, that activity is conducive to strength. It is action that makes the blacksmith’s arm strong. It is mental action that gives power to the brain. And it is also personal effort, and individual action, in the things of the Spirit of God, that gives men and women spiritual power. AWMW 19.2

Our people generally are spiritual dwarfs, when they might be giants in the Lord. They are waiting for the few ministers among us to warn the world, and, at the same time, carry the churches on their shoulders, while they feel at liberty to plunge into the world, and become buried up in its rubbish. The only remedy we have to suggest for them is to lay aside unnecessary cares of this life, and to put forth individual effort for the good of those around them. In fact, this is, in our opinion, the only remedy. AWMW 19.3

4. Nothing can be more reasonable than that all the members of our churches should take stock in our institutions, and donate to the benevolent enterprises of our people to advance the cause of truth and righteousness, according to their several ability. To bring about equality in this respect is one of the worthy objects of the Tract and Missionary Societies. AWMW 19.4

This branch of the work cannot be accomplished at once. It will take time and patient labor to make all see and feel their duty in these matters, and lead them to act cheerfully and liberally. AWMW 20.1

For the benefit of all interested in our Institutions, and the benevolent enterprises for the advancement of the cause, we give, in this work, the names of stockholders in our institutions, with the amount of stock, and the names of donors to our Book Funds, with the amount donated. With the names of stockholders and donors before them, and the amount of stock taken, and donations made, the President and directors of the Tract and Missionary Societies can, at a glance, see who have taken stock, and who have donated, and how much, and who have excused themselves from taking part in this labor of love and liberality. AWMW 20.2

It will also be the duty of the officers of these Societies to examine the condition of Systematic Benevolence in the churches, or with scattered brethren, and do all in their power, in harmony with the idea of a system of benevolence, to bring about equality, according to each ones’ ability. AWMW 20.3

When we say there is work enough to do, no one who has any just idea of the foregoing will call the statement in question. But we feel assured, and greatly cheered with the prospect, that when Societies in all our Conferences get in working order, and the good fruits of their labors begin to appear, our churches will then be able to say to our preachers that they may go into new fields to raise up new churches and new friends to the glorious cause of present truth. AWMW 20.4

As the Publishing Association and Health Institute are important parts of our work, and so recognized in our Missionary Society, it is proper in this work to give a complete list of the shares and shareholders of these institutions. By examining these lists, it will be readily seen that in some places there has been a great lack of interest in these important branches of the work, and therefore the action of the Society in taking hold of this matter is timely and necessary to the progress of the cause. AWMW 21.1