General Conference Bulletin, vol. 4



First Meeting, April 18, 9 A. M.

M. C. WILCOX in the chair.

Prayer by J. N. Loughborough. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.1

The Chair: We are glad to greet again in biennial session our Sabbath-school workers and representatives from all parts of the field. Our requisitions for membership in this association are extremely liberal, and hence our constituency ought to include the whole denomination. Our delegates are all accredited ministers and licentiates in the denomination,—all State Sabbath-school officers, and all members of regularly organized Sabbath-schools. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.2

According to the customs of the times and of our people, an address is usually expected from the president of an organization, reviewing to some extent the work of the period during which he has served, and outlining the work which should be done in the future. On this the eighteenth general session of the International Sabbath-School Association, the present incumbent has naught of this to present. Rather, he has a confession to make, a brief history to sketch, and he will relieve your patience. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.3

1. He should not have accepted the office two years ago, not even in a nominal way. He believes that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well to the extent of the ability which God gives. He loves the Sabbath-school work, but he has found himself full of other work, which had a prior claim. He said two years ago, to the Nominating Committee, that it was utterly impossible to give proper attention to the Sabbath-school interests, and do justice to the special work for which he was called to Oakland. Where your present incumbent did wrong was in consenting to accept the office at all, even in the most nominal way. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.4

2. As he contemplated the work in the few weeks immediately following the last General Conference, as he feebly saw the vast amount which should be done, he felt most keenly the wrong that he did in accepting the office, and he knew that he could not do justice to present duties, and take the time for the study and thought which should be given properly, to gain the knowledge of the Sabbath-school work in general and detail, knowledge which a president ought to possess. He therefore did the only honest thing he could then do,—laid before the executive International Sabbath-school Committee, with the facts and his feelings, his resignation. Just then, however, there came before the committee other resignations, some of which it seemed necessary to accept, and the brethren connected with the committee in the West urged him to postpone pressing his. He did so for a time in difference to their wishes, then presented it again. It was accepted by the majority of the committee, on the condition that the incumbent should act as chairman of the committee in its sessions, and this was done. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.5

The members of the committee, in session and severally, have given, consistent with other duties, much thought to the Sabbath-school work. They may have made mistakes, but they have earnestly sought they Lord, that they might do his work in his way. But your present incumbent has simply served as one of the members of the committee. An evidence of his self-effacement in this office, it may safely be said that there are doubtless many of your State Sabbath-school officers who could not, previously to this meeting, have told who the president of the International Sabbath-school Association was. Even our esteemed president of the General Conference, not having been troubled over the Sabbath-school work during the last biennial period, and remembering only the eloquent addresses of him who was so long president of your body, wrote him but a short time ago asking him that his address be furnished early, so that it could be published in the BULLETIN. Our beloved General Conference president is not to blame for this lapse of memory, having seen or heard naught in the last two years to refresh his recollection. The lesson is obvious: Appoint only such persons to a work who can place upon it the time and thought and strength which the work demands. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.6

But in behalf of our secretaries we are glad to speak. For the first part of the term, Miss Alberta S. Little served us faithfully as Corresponding Secretary under constantly failing health. Her condition finally became so precarious that it seemed necessary that she should leave the Pacific Coast for her home in Minnesota, where for a time, in slowly improving health, but under much less favorable circumstances, she pursued her work. Finally it seemed to the committee that the Corresponding Secretary should be at the central office in Oakland, and Sister Little therefore resigned. Mrs. Carrie King, who had for some time been assisting, was chosen to fill the vacancy. Brother M. H. Brown has faithfully and efficiently served as Recording Secretary and Treasurer, besides doing editorial and corresponding work. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.7

The reports from these secretaries, already published in the BULLETIN, will give this body a much better idea of the work than could your chairman, and those desire information in detailed particular are referred to the secretaries, not to burden them and save your chairman, but that the inquirer may obtain the information he desires. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.8

This is a great and important branch of God’s work. Let us all pray God that his wisdom may lead and guide all the decisions which may be made at this conference to the glory of his name in all the work which we shall do. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.9

Perhaps we ought to have called for the report of last year; but inasmuch as it has been printed, if there is no objection that will be waived. We will listen to the report of the Recording Secretary, or such parts of it as may seem necessary. It has already been printed in the BULLETIN. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.10

M. H. Brown: The report of the Recording Secretary will be found in the BULLETIN, beginning on page 62. We will not stop to read this report this morning, but simply call attention to a few features which we would like to have you consider. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.11

We first give in this report a table showing the membership of our schools, the total contributions, and the amount donated to missions each year during the last fourteen years, concluding with the year ending Dec. 31, 1900. We also give a table showing the amount of donations to each mission field, and the time they were given. In the third table we give a condensed summary showing the amount donated to each missionary enterprise during the period of fourteen years. It will be noticed that the total given to missionary enterprises during the fourteen years is $297,-429.80. This includes donations to Africa, London, the brigantine “Pitcairn,” Hamburg, India, Mexico, and Central America, China, Japan, Southern field, European mission, South America, Haskell Home, West Indies, Polynesia, Russia. Mediterranean field, and most needy fields. During the last three years, owing to the needs in other lands, and the straits into which our foreign Mission Board were brought, the Sabbath-school donations have not been appropriated or donated to the particular fields designated by the International Sabbath-school Association, but simply to most needy fields in the judgment of the Foreign Mission Board. During 1898, 1899, and 1900, there was $68,552.74 donated to most needy fields. GCB April 19, 1901, page 349.12

We also give a general summary of Sabbath-school reports for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1900, so that you may have before you the membership, and the donations from each of the associations throughout the world, itemizing these. It will be noticed that we have 54 associations throughout the world; 2,700 schools, and an approximate membership of 58,000. I think really it approaches about 60,000 in all. If all the Sabbath-schools should report in this general summary, and we had all the reports, it would reach a total of about 60,000. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.1

During the last two years, the term since the last meeting of the Association, there have been eight new associations organized, four of which were organized in Australasia. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.2

There has been an impression perhaps, I do not know how extensively, that the donations for missions have been rather on the decline in our Sabbath-schools during the past few years. We wish you to notice that this is a mistake, since our donations are increasing. By reference to the first table, to which we called your attention, you will notice that the donations for 1808 were $21,475.18; for 1899, $21,842.09; for 1900, $25,235.47. Thus you see that the donations are increasing rather than diminishing. That is exclusive of the donations for the Haskell Home. Those have also been increasing: In 1898, $4,795.16; in 1899, $5,107.02; in 1900, $5,861.06. So that the donations for the Sabbath-school work and the Haskell Home are not falling off, but rather increasing. If there are any questions, we shall be glad to answer them. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.3

The Chair: Are there any questions concerning this report? If not, we will listen to the report of the Corresponding Secretary. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.4

[The report was read by the Secretary, Mrs. Carrie R. King, and may be found on page 61 of the BULLETIN.] GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.5

The Chair: We will now listen to the Treasurer’s report of the association. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.6

M. H. Brown: We will not burden your minds with a vast array of figures this morning. The report is published in the third number of the BULLETIN, beginning on page 87. I will simply call attention to a few points in the report. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.7

During the year ending Dec. 31, 1899, the Association made a gain of $620.41; during the year ending Dec. 31, 1900, it made a gain of $479.81, making a total gain in the two years of a little over $1,100. Our surplus at the present time is $3,428.64. This had accumulated during the past six or seven years. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.8

In closing our report we say our surplus has been growing for several years at the rate of about $500 a year. Our Executive Board have considered the needs of the work, and in view of the financial prosperity which the Lord has given our association, we have decided to recommend the appropriation of $2,500 from our treasury to the following objects: to the work in other lands, $2,000; to the General Conference for work in the Southern field, $500. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.9

In this day of debts, we are very grateful to be able to report such a surplus, and we rejoice in the privilege of recommending the appropriation of a large proportion of it to other needy branches of the Lord’s work. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.10

I will say that the books of the association have been audited, and the auditor’s report is ready. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.11

The Chair: The auditor’s report is in the hands of Brother Hall, who will now read it. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.12

H. H. Hall [reading]: GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.13

“OAKLAND, CAL., February 20, 1901. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.14

“I have examined the books of the International Sabbath-school Association by checking each entry made, and comparing all vouchers, and find them correct. I believe the statement rendered by your Secretary, Elder M. H. Brown, to show the true financial standing of the association. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.15

Mrs. H. H. HALL, Auditor.” GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.16

The Chair: You have listened to the report of the Treasurer, and the statement of the Auditor. What is your pleasure concerning this report? GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.17

C. H. Jones: I move that the report be adopted. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.18

S. B. Horton: I second the motion. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.19

The motion was carried. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.20

C. P. Bollman: I move that we take up at this stage of proceedings, Recommendations 14 and 15 of the report of the educational Committee submitted to the Conference yesterday. This has direct reference to the work of the Sabbath-school Association, and it is proper that it should be considered at this time. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.21

D. H. Oberholtzer: I second that motion. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.22

The Chair: These recommendations have been sent in from the Sabbath-school Association council to the Educational Committee, and it was designed that they should be considered in this meeting. You have heard the motion, that we take these recommendations up, and consider them separately at this meeting. All— GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.23

A. Moon: Let them be read. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.24

M. H. Brown [reading]: We recommend, first, that “earnest efforts should be made to save the children of unbelievers by the establishment of branch Sabbath-schools wherever practicable.” GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.25

The Chair: I am sure this is to some extent a new subject. Some have given its special consideration. We have not very much time allotted to us here at the most, and we would like to hear upon these resolutions and recommendations those who have had special experience; and while we would be glad to hear from many, it would be impossible. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.26

The Chair: The question is called, I would say that these are simply suggestions. It is not designed to lay out any plan or mark out any ways. Let us work from the light that the Lord gives us, and the Lord will lead us in the very best way. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.27

The recommendation is that careful study should be given to the subject of Sabbath-school conventions, and normal classes should be conducted in connection with these, wherever practicable; that this agency, which has already helped so much, may be attended with still greater success. There are some who have had an experience along these lines; and, as stated before, as we have only a short time at our disposal, we would like to hear from those who have had some experience. GCB April 19, 1901, page 350.28

The Secretary: Just a few words with reference to this subject of Sabbath-school conventions. For the past few years these have been a new element in our Sabbath-school work, and we believe that there is nothing come in that has contributed more to the building up of the Sabbath-school work. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.1

F. C. Gilbert: We believe that one of the gifts the Lord gave to the church is the gift of teaching; and those of us who have heard the special Testimony concerning Sabbath-school work know that there is a great deal is said about having teachers who can teach, and also that our teachers need educating. I think we are all agreed on one thing, and that is that it is one thing to learn a thing, and another to teach it. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.2

About a year ago we had, in connection with our camp-meetings, some one especially appointed to have model lessons especially for the children, and I wish you could have been there to see the interest that was manifested. When that experiment was tested, and found to be successful, we thought we would go one step further, and so we appointed a regular class, devoting several hours each day to a regular normal training class. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.3

The Chair: We would like to hear from Brother R. C. Porter as to how State and Conference officers can assist in this matter. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.4

R. C. Porter: My experience in the Sabbath-school work directly as an official has been very brief; therefore I shall not detain you long with what I shall have to say. When I was asked to take charge of that work at the last annual meeting of our association in Missouri, we studied how we could, with the least expense, help in the Sabbath-school work in the State; and as the result, we laid the plan to ask every minister to hold a convention, whenever he came in contact with a Sabbath-school. We also sent word to the different Sabbath-schools, asking them to prepare papers, as many as three in each school, preparatory to the visit of the minister. We asked them to do this at once, for they knew not how soon they might be visited. Thus in conducting these conventions we have not made one dollar’s additional expense; and they have had the effect of interesting the ministers more directly in the Sabbath-school work. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.5

The Chair: Are there any other remarks? All in favor of these recommendations manifest by saying, Aye; contrary, No. Carried. We have two other recommendations, passed by the Sabbath-school Council. Brother Brown will present them. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.6

The Secretary: In our councils, Sabbath-school work has been considered daily. Two of the recommendations there voted we now present here. They have been considered and passed upon by that Sabbath-school Council [reading]:— GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.7

“1. In harmony with the recommendation of the Executive Board of the International Sabbath-school Association, we donate $2,000 for this work in other lands, and $500 to the General Conference for the work in the Southern Field. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.8

“2. In harmony with the plan of reorganization adopted by the General Conference we hereby place this work, property, and funds of this association under the management of the General Conference, this action to take effect as soon as the General Conference is prepared to make this branch of the cause one of the departments of its work.” GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.9

The Secretary: I move the adoption of these recommendations. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.10

A Voice: I second the motion. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.11

The Chair: You have heard the motion and the second, that these recommendations be adopted. Will the Secretary read the first? Read them both again. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.12

The first recommendation was here read by the Secretary. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.13

The Chair: Are you ready for the question? All who are in favor of this, manifest by raising the hand; contrary minds, same sign. Carried. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.14

The Secretary: This second recommendation was adopted several days ago, in the Sabbath-school Association. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.15

The Chair: Of course there will be some time before the General General Conference can get all these branches of its work under control and in working order, so we stand ready to turn it over at any time that the General Conference is prepared to receive it and appoint new secretaries and officers. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.16

All who are in favor of this manifest by raised hand; contrary, same sign. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.17

Carried. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.18

One thing to which we wish to call your attention is that all reports will follow the same course that they have in the past, until due notice is given. Due notice will be given in the Sabbath-school Worker when any change of this kind shall take place. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.19

Another thing that perhaps ought to be mentioned is something concerning needy schools. There has been a misunderstanding concerning these as to how they shall receive help. I would like to ask the secretary to suggest something upon this. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.20

The Secretary: I would say that we have the present plan in both State and international associations is that where the people are poor, and have not the necessary funds with which to purchase supplies and helps for their school, the local Conference or association provides funds with which to aid such school. This is part of their work. In mission fields the International Association has always held itself in readiness to respond to calls for supplies to aid schools. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.21

C. P. Bollman: I think the question of helping needy schools is quite an important one. Great caution should be exercised in giving this help. As a rule, I believe it is much better if a school can start out on a self-supporting basis, rather than be assisted by the association. It is sometimes necessary to start mission schools, or schools among people who are very poor; and in these cases, supplies should be furnished; but even in these instances, great caution should be exercised, that no spirit of dependency upon the association be developed. There is nothing so helpful as self-help. It develops self-reliance, self-helpfulness. While there are such funds, I think it should be very cautiously stated to these schools, and that, when necessary, help be given at the beginning. They should be encouraged to save up their pennies so as to be able to purchase their own supplies for the succeeding quarter, and place themselves upon a self-supporting basis as soon as possible. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.22

The Chair: These are very good precautions indeed. There are, however, Sabbath-schools organized that are very poor indeed, and some schools have been allowed to collapse because they did not have the actual necessary funds to carry on their school work. To these schools, who would otherwise have to go down and discontinue their work, the association will gladly extend help in a financial way. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.23

There is one other question which it has been desired that something should be said upon at this time, that is the question of the “ingathering service,” or “harvest service.” We would like to have Sister Hibben, of Chicago, if she is present, tell us something of this work and her experience. GCB April 19, 1901, page 351.24

Miss Anna Hibben: This subject of the harvest ingathering service is one that has deeply stirred me; for I believe that through this the Lord designs to bring to his people a long-lost-sight-of blessing. You remember the Lord has said that altogether too little attention is given to our youth and children, and that we should devise some means whereby they could be interested in the cause of truth. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.1

As the result of seeking some plan to interest the children, we struck this idea. You will find in “Desire of Ages,” in the chapter entitled “The Feast of the Tabernacles,” just how the Lord designed that that should be celebrated. You will remember that the Lord commanded his people to gather before him three times a year, and keep a Feast. The first was to be the feast of the Passover. All three of these feasts were not only commemorative, but typical. I will read a statement from “Patriarchs and Prophets” in regard to the Feast of Tabernacles (page 541): “The feast of Tabernacles was not only commemorative, but typical. It not only pointed back to the wilderness’ sojourn, but as the feast of harvest, it celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and pointed forward to the great day of final ingathering, when the Lord of the harvest shall send forth his reappears to gather the tares together in bundles for the fire, and to gather the wheat into his garner.” GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.2

Had they ceased to keep the Passover before the type met its anti-type, they would have been denying their faith. The Lord looked upon this just as he did upon the other—a ceasing to keep the Feast of the Tabernacles denies our faith in the soon-coming harvest of the earth. Further, you will find in “Patriarchs and Prophets” this statement: “Well would it be for the people of God at the present time to have a Feast of Tabernacles,—a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God to them.” We have found from our experience that it has been well, that God’s blessing has rested upon this effort. The question no doubt arises in your mind, How are we to celebrate it? We have tried to celebrate it according to the Lord’s plan, and this is what he says:—“Well would it be for the people of God at the present time to have a Feast of Tabernacles,—a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God to them. As the children of Israel celebrated the deliverance that God had wrought for their fathers, and his miraculous preservation of them during their journeyings from Egypt, so should we gratefully call to mind the various ways he has devised for bringing us out from the world, and from the darkness of error, into the precious light of his grace and truth.”—Idem, pp. 540, 541. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.3

“Everything that could please the eye, and give expression to the universal joy, was brought from the woods; the city bore the appearance of a beautiful forest.... With sacred song and thanksgiving the worshipers celebrated this occasion. A little before the feast was the day of atonement, when, after confession of their sins, the people were declared to be at peace with heaven. Thus the way was prepared for the rejoicing of the feast.... The temple was the center of universal joy.... At night the temple and its courts blazed with artificial light.” GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.4

“From far and near the people came, bringing in their hands a token of rejoicing. Old and young, rich and poor, all brought some gift as a tribute of thanksgiving to Him who had crowned the year with his goodness, and made his path drop fatness.” The Desire of Ages, 447, 448. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.5

Our plan has been to instruct the children in the spring of the year to watch all through the summer for the beauties of nature, and either gather or mark those for gathering, and then toward the close of the summer, after the harvest, gather these things together and bring them to the church. We decorate the church the day before. Then we have a thanksgiving. We try in our planning to avoid anything that would harbor the thought or encourage the disposition in the child of being proud of their dress or anything of that kind. We make it a day of thanksgiving, in which the children and young people can unite. They repeat texts of Scripture, and the older ones bring to their minds and present before the others some special blessing the Lord has bestowed upon them during the year. Then we have lessons drawn from the things of nature placed before them,—spiritual lessons from the beauties of nature,—and thus when the children see these things afterward, their attention is drawn through the lessons to God. As the children are watching all summer long for these beauties of nature, they see in nature much more than they ever saw before, and their attention is directed to nature’s God. For my own part, I never saw so much of the beauties of God in nature as I have seen since I engaged in this work. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.6

We also plan to have the children earn their own free-will offering. These offerings are brought, and they are indeed free-will offerings, being given to any field to which the children are impressed to donate. We plan to study the mission fields during the year, bringing before our minds the different interests of the cause in the various fields and the needs that the Lord has presented before us. The children earn means by selling our papers—The Life-Boat and the Signs of the Times. The offerings through the year have been greatly increased, both for the Sabbath-school and the foreign missions. In one of these special services we raised fifty-one dollars. The membership of the school was thirty-two. This large donation did not affect the regular and Christmas offerings, they also being greater than ever before. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.7

M. H. Brown: We wish to request that, in the selection of Sabbath-school secretaries for the Sabbath-school department of your Conferences, great care be exercised. It also seems advisable that they be given time and opportunity to do that work, and that frequent changes, which are detrimental to the work and destroy its continuity, shall not be made. I pray that the Sabbath-school work among the children, especially among the little ones, may go on to a better state than ever before. God has wonderful possibilities before his church. Let us use them. Let the hearts of the fathers be turned to those of the children, and those of the children to those of the fathers, as the Revised Version puts it, and I am sure we will have the blessing of the Lord in that work. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.8

It was moved and seconded that the meeting adjourn sine die. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.9

The Chair: That would make this the last meeting of the Sabbath-school Association. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.10

The question was called, and unanimously adopted. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.11

After the benediction the meeting was declared adjourned. GCB April 19, 1901, page 352.12

M. C. WILCOX, Chairman.
M. H. BROWN, Secretary.