CHAPTER V. THE MEETINGS OF THE CHURCH

CHAPTER V. THE  MEETINGS OF THE CHURCH

1. THE MEETING TO DECLARE MATTERS RELATING TO PEOPLE (THE PARISH MEETING).

The Head Minister, all Ministers who are living in that Village or Parish, can attend the meeting to discuss matters relating to the congregation and the Head Minister will chair the meeting or anyone that he has chosen to replace him. Heads of Church groups, Stewards, Trustees, Lay preachers, and the Head of the Sunday School, Advisers, who are living in that Village or Parish can also attend the meeting.

The same questions are to be asked at the Meeting to Declare matters relating to People, Parish and District Meetings.

The meeting to be conducted using these questions:

(a) Who is here with us?

(e) How are the Classes?

(f) Is there anyone who is sick?

(h) Are there any decisions relating to those who are Catechumen, Class Guardians, or Advisers, or the time and place for the Class Meetings?

(i) Is there a New Convert?

(k) Is there someone who is no longer a Catechumen?

(l) (i) What is the Report on the Department for Christian Education? (ii) What is the Report on the Evangelism Department?

(m) (i) What is the Report on the Education Department? (ii) What is the Report on the Women’s Department? (iii) What is the Report on the Committee for Translating and Publishing Books?

(n) What can be done to improve the Lord’s work?

(ng) (i) Have the ill been visited? (ii) How are the musical matters of the Trustees?

(o) What can we do to assist the sale of the Newsletter?

(p) Is there any Catechumen who has passed away this Quarter?

(s) Is there any Adviser who has passed away this Quarter? (To be collated for the September Quarter)

(t) Who do we select as a representative to the Regional Meetings? (Select two people in the March Quarter).

(u) Who do we select to participate in the ballot for the Conference? (Choose two people in the March Quarter).

2. THE PREPARATORY MEETING OF THE LAY PREACHERS

A Meeting of the Lay Preachers is to be held once a Quarter, and this will be held in every Parish.

The Head Minister will Chair the Meeting, and he can select another Minister to replace him; and it is in the Meeting to call and question the Lay Preachers and if anything is adverse to a person who is in the Lay Preachers’ Meeting the Quarterly Meeting of the Lay Preachers to be advised that he should be suspended or demoted.

The Meeting will be conducted, using these questions:

(A) Who is here with us?

(E) Is there anything adverse to a Lay Preacher (and each Preacher will be called).

         i.  How is he acting and his religious behaviour?

         ii.  Does he believe and preach the Doctrines?

         iii.  Does he carry out our laws and the sermons that are assigned to him?

         iv.  Is he suitable to the position of Lay Preacher?

(F) Who can be ordained this Quarter?

(H) Who is a Probationary Lay Preacher who will remain a Probationer?

(I) Who is a Probationary Lay Preacher that we think should be ordained in the Next Quarter?

(K) Is there anyone to be appointed to be a Probationary Lay Preacher?

(L) Is there anyone who stood down from his position as Lay Preacher that we want to become a Probationary Lay Preacher again?

(M) Has a Lay Preacher shifted from this Parish this Quarter?

(N) Are we waiting for a Lay Preacher from another Parish?

(NG) Is there anything that we wish to advise the Conference in relation to the lessons and the examination of Lay Preachers?

(O) What can we do to greatly improve the work?

(P) When is the next Meeting to be held?

(S) Is there a Lay Preacher who has passed away this Quarter?

3. THE QUARTERLY MEETINGS

The Chairing Minister can call a meeting of the Ministers before the Quarterly Meetings to discuss work.

The Chairing Minister is included in the Quarterly Meeting and he will be Chair, and he is authorised to appoint another Minister to replace him, and also includes every Minister of a Parish, the Stewards, the Class Guardians and Lay Preachers, the Advisers and the Trustees of the villages in that Parish.

And it will be conducted with these questions:

(A) Who is here with us?

(E) How many Catechumen are there in this Quarter? (The Head Steward will read information about the Catechumen from the book where information about the Catechumen are collated and for the information to be done Parish by Parish. The Census is to be done in March of every year).

(F) What is the income from Donated Money in this Quarter?

(H) What is the expenditure?

(I) What is the information about: (i) Department for Christian Education? (ii) Evangelism Department? (iii) Education Department? (iv) Women’s Department? (v) Church Choir? (vi) Half Hour [Radio Programme]? (vii) Book Translation?(viii) Department for the Assistance of the Education of the Ministers and Stewards? (ix) The Friendly Islands’ Book Shop?(x) Taulua Press? (xi) Tungi Colonnade? (xii) Church Newsletter (Tohi Fanongonongo)? (xiii) Overseas Mission Board?

(K) Have the Ministers visited the Government Primary Schools to provide Bible lessons?

(L) What can we do to assist the sales of the Newsletter?

(M) What work has been done in this Quarter?

(N) What can we do to greatly improve the work?

(NG)Who are we selecting to be the Head Steward? (for two people, to be done in the December Quarter. Someone who is younger than 70 years of age.)

(O) Who has been chosen to be a representative in the District Meeting? (To be done in the March Quarter. Every Minister in a ministry to participate in the Regional [Meeting], and two (2) representatives from his Parish.

(P) Who are we choosing to be a Representative at the Conference? (This is to be done in the March Quarter)

(S) Who are we going to await the approval of the Regional Meeting to become a Trainee Minister? (To be done in the December Quarter).

(T) Is there any Adviser who has passed away this year? (To be answered in September).

(U) Where and when will the next Quarterly Meeting?

4. THE MEETINGS OF THE LAY PREACHERS

Lay Preachers are to meet once every Quarter.

The Chairing Minister will chair the Meeting, and he is authorised to select a Minister as his replacement, and it is up to the meeting to call and question the Lay Preachers, and if there is anything adverse about someone, it is up to the Meeting of the Lay Preachers to decide to suspend, or demote him.

To propose through the Minister for the Female Lay Preachers to become Probationary Preachers, and for the same procedures applying to Lay Preachers to be followed if it is desired for a Woman to be ordained.

The meeting will be conducted by asking these questions:

(A) Who is here with us?

(E) Is there any adverse matter about a Lay Preacher (and the Preachers to be each called).

(F) Who can be ordained this Quarter?

(H) Who is a Probationary Lay Preacher who will remain in that position?

(I) Who is a Probationary Lay Preacher that we think should be ordained Next Quarter?

(K) Is there anyone to be appointed a Probationary Lay Preacher?

(L) Is there anyone who stood down from his position as Lay Preacher that we want to become a Probationary Lay Preacher again?

(M)Has a Lay Preacher shifted from this Parish this Quarter? (Shifting to another Region).

(N) Are we waiting for a Lay Preacher from another Parish? (Shifting from another Region).

(NG)Is there anything that we wish to advise the Conference in relation to the lessons and the examination of the Lay Preachers? (March Quarter)

(O) What can we do to greatly improve the work?

(P) When is the next Meeting?

(S) Is there a Lay Preacher who has passed away this Quarter?

5. THE DISTRICT MEETINGS

A. SECRETARY

It is in the Regional Meeting to call a ballot for one of the Ordained Ministers to become Secretary, and the Secretary’s task is to collate the Record of the Regional Meeting, and to forward a copy to the Conference.

B. THE MEETING OF MINISTERS

1. Every Minister who is responsible for a Parish in that Region, and the Retired

Ministers there can participate in the meeting. Those who belong to the meeting must meet, unless he has put in an apology, and this has been accepted by the Meeting. Trainee and Probationary Ministers can attend the meeting, but they have no voting rights. The Chairing Minister will Chair the Meeting.

(A) To select the Trainee Ministers in the December Quarter and to select again in the March Quarter the numbers in accordance with the President’s estimate of what is needed for that year.

(E) The Trainee and Probationary Ministers to participate in the gatherings of the Church.

(F) If a person has been accepted by the Conference to be a Trainee or Probationary Minister, but who fails his examinations due to limited ability, he should not be stripped of his position as a Minister in the same way as a person who has been demoted due to a transgression.

(H) To name all colleges who participate in the Higher Leaving Certificate as Departments, and if a Trainee Minister is assigned to work there in the Relocation [of Ministers], that Trainee Minister will become a Probationary Minister, but for him to continue and complete the requirement to be a Trainee Minister.

(I) For a Minister to have a six-month holiday after 10 years of working as a Minister in a Parish.

(K) For a Minister who has transgressed to do sermons only, and not to examine or keep records.

2. When a meeting is held, the first task is to appoint a Secretary, and for him to decide the time that the Meeting will be held, and the Meeting will be conducted using these questions:-

(A) Who is here with us?

(E) Has the Relocation been competed in accordance with the Conference’s decision.

(F) Is there anything that is adverse to a Minister? (i) How is his action and religious behaviour? (ii) Does he believe and preach the Doctrines? (iii) Does he observe our Laws? (iv) Is he suitable to the position of a Minister?

(H) Is there a Minister that we want to retire this year?

(I) Is there a Minister that we want his retirement to continue?

(K) Is there a Retired Minister that we want to resume working?

(L) Is there any Minister who is without any work?

(M)Who is a Probationary Minister that we want to recommend to the Conference to be ordained?

(N) Who is a Probationary Minister that we want to continue as a Probationer? (ng) Who do we recommend to the Conference to become a Probationary Minister?

(NG) Who is a person that we are deferring on the Conference to become a Trainee Minister?

(O) Whether there is a Minister who wishes to go and do Overseas work?

(P) Whether the Baptism and Marriage Records are kept properly?

(S) Whether the Meeting to Declare matters relating to people are held regularly and the checking of the Record for the Probationary Members?

(T) Do we have any advice to the Conference on the education of the Young Ministers? Or the selection of the Trainee Ministers or the examining of the Probationers?

(U) Who is a Minister that we select to go to the Conference?

(aa) What can we do to greatly improve the work?

(Read the twelve edicts (12) to those who participate in the work of the Lord)

F. THE MAIN DISTRICT MEETING

All those who participate in the Ministers’ Meeting can attend this Meeting, as well as the Principal Stewards, and the Representatives who have been selected by the District Meeting, and two each (2) from a Parish if there are less than 300 Probationary Members, and one more will be added (1) for every 100, and so on, and the Missionaries from Overseas who are Probationary Members in our Church and two Representatives (2) from Tongan Teachers who are Probationary Members who have been recommended by the Education Committee.

Every Minister with a Ministry will participate in the District, and two Representatives (2) from his Parish.

This Meeting will be conducted using these questions:

(A) Who is here with us?

(E) (i) Has a Minister passed away between Conferences? (ii)Has a Representative passed away between Conferences? (iii) Has a Conference Steward passed away between Conferences? (iv) Has a Church Teacher passed away between Conferences?

(F) Do we think that a Parish should be divided?

(H) Do we want to establish a new Parish?

(I) How is our Census?

(K) What is the report on: (i)The Department for Christian Education? (ii) Evangelism Department? (iii) Education Department? (iv) Department for Women? (v) Department Assisting the learning of the Ministers and Stewards? (vi) Translating and Publishing Books?

(L) What is the report on the Educational Institutions? (i) Primary Schools. (ii) Middle Schools. (iv) Colleges. (v) Tupou High School. (vi) Hango Agricultural College. (vii) Sia’atoutai Theological College.

(M) Who do we decide to be representatives to the Conference? (For the Head Ministers of the Regions and the first (1) Head Stewards of all Regions to be Members without being voted on to the Conference).

(N) How is our Region’s Financial Account?

(NG) How are the matters of the Church? (i) Any new building that has been built or is proposed. (ii) Any buildings that are currently being built. (iii) The extensions and improvements. (iv) Anything that has been sold or leased. (v) Anything that is requested to be purchased. (vi) Any place that has been requested to be leased. (vii)The approval to build a house or other. (viii)Any land that has been leased for this year. (ix) Any land that is not yet leased. (x) Is the Trustees’ indebtedness increasing and no attention paid to it. (xi) Do we want to advise the Conference in relation to:- (a) Taulua Press. (e) Office. (f) Ship. (h) Newsletter. (i) Half Hour [Radio Programme]. (k) Friend Islands Book Shop. (l) The Church’s musical matters. (m) Tungi Arcade (n) Overseas Mission Board

(O) Whether the Trustees’ records are properly kept?

(P) Whether the Yearly Offerings have occurred in every Parish and, if not, the reason for this?

(S) How much money was donated by each village for the Overseas share this year?

(T) Have we got any advice for the Conference in relation to a matter that a past Conference deferred?

(U) How is the Spiritual work? And can we do something to greatly improve the work?

(V) When and where will be the next Regional Meeting?

3. The Chairing Minister can, with the approval of the President, call an additional District Meeting if there is a suitable matter that warrants calling such a meeting.

6. THE CONFERENCE

The President will attend the meeting, and he will chair the meeting, and those who can attend, include the Chairing Minister, European Ministers who are working for the Conference, Retired Presidents, the Chief Secretary, Directors of the two Departments (Christian Education and Evangelism), the Heads of the Colleges, the Head Ministers of the various districts, the Education President, the Church lawyer, the Lands Officer, the Financial Secretary, the Secretary for the Women’s Department, Retired Ministers who can attend the meeting, ordained Ministers who have been chosen, an ordained Minister who holds a conference appointment to an overseas ministry and who will be here during the Conference, and their numbers to be equal to that of the European Ministers. The President will appoint Representatives in accordance with the numbers of the Retired Ministers that can come to the Meeting, and four people in accordance with the numbers of the Ministers who are shown above. It is for the President to make up the numbers if there are not many Ministers.

For there to be Fraternal Representatives at the Conference.

To select equal numbers of Ministers and Representatives from the Regions, and their numbers will be as follows:

REGIONS                                                                    (these numbers are to be)

Tongatapu                                                                    30

Ha’apai (West)                                                               3

Ha’apai (East)                                                                9

Vava’u                                                                          15                   

‘Eua                                                                             5

Niua Toputapu                                                               2

Niua Fo’ou                                                                    2

THE DEPARTMENTS

Department for Christian Education                                 3

Evangelism Department                                                 3

Women’s Department                                                    3

Education Department Assisting Ministers/Stewards            2

Newsletter                                                                  2

Education Department                                                  14

THE OVERSEAS COUNTRIES 

New Zealand                                                               6

Australia                                                                     6

America (USA)                                                             6

Hawaii                                                                        4

Fiji                                                                             2

Samoa                                                                        2

4. The Representatives must have been Catechumen for not less than 4 years.

5. The powers of the Conference

(A) The Conference will select a President every year, subject to confirmation by his Majesty.

(E) The Chief Secretary. Each Conference will select their Chief Secretary, and any person who is an Ordained Minister who has a ministry, and who is in that Conference can be selected. This will be done through a ballot and a majority of the votes.

6. The tasks of the General Secretary

(A) To collate the Roll Call book of the Conference.

(E) To collate the work of the Conference in a book.

(F) To do any correspondence that the Conference has decided to be done.

(H) To send a copy to the Secretary of the Full Conference.

(I) To carry out the things in accordance with the decisions of the Conference.

(K) To prepare and implement the work of the Conference and the Conference Committee.

(L) To implement the decisions of the Conference and Conference Committee.

(M) To assist the President in administering the work of the Church and to defer to his advice.

(N) To manage and administer the work procedures for the Office workers.

(NG) To manage and administer the work procedures for the Offices.

(O) To be Chair in the Meetings of the Tongatapu Region as decided by the President.

(P) To communicate with the Overseas Churches, and including the World Council of Churches.

(S) To be Acting in the position of President during a time when the President of the Church will be away from Tonga.

7. The Chief Secretary is to be selected each year and the Secretary for the past year can be selected again.

8. The Conference will be held once a year, and it is up to the Conference to decide the time and place where it will be held, and the duration of the Meeting.

If there is anything that the Conference approves of to greatly improve the work, the Conference is authorised to recommend it to the Full Conference.

The Ministers will conduct the examination of Ministers at a time available after the start of the Conference, and it will be up to the Ministers to make decisions in relation to their positions and the ordaining and appointing of Ministers.

But everything else in relation to the work of the Conference and all the other decisions of the Conference, all the Ministers and the Representatives will participate in.

If there was a proposal that was not accepted by the Quarterly [Meeting] and the Regional [Meeting] of the Regions but is referred to the Conference by some Members of the Conference to be noted as a proposal, this will not be allowed but to be referred back to the meetings below for consideration.

THE MINISTERS’ CONFERENCE

1. These questions will be asked at the Ministers’ Meeting:

(A) Who do we think should be ordained this year?

(E) Who do we think should continue as a Probationer?

(F) Who do we decide to defer to the Conference?

(H) Who do we appoint to be a Probationary Minister?

(I) Who do we think should continue as a Trainee Minister?

(K) Who do we appoint to be Trainee Minister?

(L) What are the Conference’s decisions about the: (i) Choosing of Probationary Ministers. (ii) Education of the Trainee Ministers. (iii) Examination of the Probationary Ministers.

(M) Is there a Minister who is about to return Overseas?

(N) Is there a Minister who has been accepted by another Conference of the Wesleyan Church? (If the Minister wants to return to Tonga, he will be ordained if accepted by the Tongan Conference from the advice and Relocation Letter from the Conference of where he was).

(NG) Which Minister do we think should retire this year?

(O) Who is a Retired Minister to resume duties?

(P) Who is a Retired Minister that we think should continue in his retirement?

(S) Is there anything adverse about a Minister?

(T) Is there any Minister whom we have not allocated a Ministry?

(U) What do we decide about the upcoming Reassigning [of Ministries]?

E. THE GENERAL CONFERENCE

Every Minister of the Ministers’ Meeting who has been chosen, the Representative, and the Head Trustees who have been chosen by the President can attend.

The ballot for the President and the General Secretary is first held.

The meeting will be conducted using these questions:

(1) (i) Who are the Members of the Conference? (ii) Who has been chosen to join the Sub-Committee of the Conference? (iii) If a Minister has passed away in the period between Conferences? (iv) If a Representative has passed away in the period between Conferences? (v) If a Conference Steward has passed away in the period between Conferences? (vi) If a Church Teacher has passed away in the period between Conferences? To use the following procedure when giving information about deaths whether it is a Minister, Representative, Conference Steward and a Church Teacher:

(A) Name (E) Date of Birth (F) Father and Mother (H) Educational Institution attended and details of education (I) Married or not (K) How many children? (L) Job (M) Church Work (Position) (N) Date of death.

(2) Is there any request from a Department to be assigned a Minister?

(3) Do we think that a District or Parish should be divided or changed?

(4) Do we think that a new Parish should be established?

(5) How is our Census?

(6) What are the reports for: (i) Department for Christian Education? (ii) Evangelism Department? (iii) Women’s Department? (iv) Education Department Assisting Ministers and Stewards?

(7) What is the report about the Educational Institutions? (i) Primary School. (ii) Middle Schools. (iv) Colleges. (v) Tupou High School. (vi) Hango Agricultural College. (vii) Sia’atoutai Theological College.

(8) What is our decision in relation to the Overseas work?

(9) How are the matters of the Church?(i) Any new building that has been built or proposed? (ii) Any buildings that are currently being built? (iii) The extensions and improvements? (iv) Anything that has been sold or leased? (v) Anything that is requested to be purchased? (vi) Any place that has been requested that we lease? (vii) The approval to build a house or other? (viii) Any land that we have leased for this year? (ix) Any land that we have not yet leased. (x) Is the Trustees’ indebtedness increasing and no attention paid to it. (xi) Do we want to advise the Conference in relation to the:- (a) Taulua Press? (e) Church Office? (f) Ship? (h) Newsletter? (i) Half Hour [Radio] Programme? (k) Translating and Book Publishing? (l) Book Shop Board? (m) Church Music? (n) Tungi Colonnade?

(10) Who is in the Committees established by the Conference? (The Committees that Select the Conference Committees at the Conference, Head Trustees, Head Ministers, Head Secretary. (Chair) ) (i) The Head Trustees. (ii) The Conference Committee. (iii) The Ministers’ Conference Committee. (iv) The Advisory Committee for the Region. (a) Vava’u. (e) Ha’apai. (f) ‘Eua. (h) Niua Toputapu. (i) Niua Fo’ou. (v) Education and Scholarship Committee. (vi) Sia’atoutai and Education Assisting Ministers and Stewards’ Committee. (vii) Development Committee. (viii)Assets and Lands Committee. (ix) Constitution Committee. (x) Committee for Department of Christian Education. (xi) Committee for the Evangelism Department. (xii)Finance Committee. (xiii) Construction Committee. (xiv) Communications Committee. (xv) Taulua Board. (xvi) Book Shop Board. (xvii)Council of Churches. (xviii) Music Committee. (xix) Committee for the Women’s Department. (xx)Taulama Committee. (xxi) Board for Overseas Work.

(11) How are the Spiritual matters in the Districts? What can be done to greatly improve the work?

(12) Do we have any advice for the Full Conference because of anything?

(13 What decisions do we have about the Retirement Fund?

(14) What is the Church’s Financial report?

(15) What is the report on the matters that the past Conference assigned to certain people to do?

(16) Is there some matter that we have deferred to the next Conference?

(17) Have we got any other decision?

(18) Where and when will be the next Conference?