Saturday, November 26, 2011

This Week in Texas Methodist History November 27

Texas Annual Conference Superannuated Preachers Honored in Verse December 1, 1886

Bishop Joseph Key convened the 46th session of the Texas Annual Conference at 9:00 a.m. on December 1, 1886, in Giddings Memorial Methodist Church in Brenham. Sixty-nine clerical and ten lay delegates answered the roll call. The following committees were appointed:

Public Worship
Books and Periodicals
District Conference Relations
Bible Cause
Conference Relations

I. Z. T. Morris, Wesley Smith, and I. G. John were directed to meet with members of other annual conferences to investigate the organization of a Texas Methodist historical society.
The fourth day of conference fell on a Sunday so visiting Methodist preachers filled pulpits of other denominations. H. M. Dubose preached to the Baptists. J. W. Heidt of Southwestern University preached to the Presbyterians. Weems Wooten preached in the German church of the MEC, and M. S. Hotckiss to the African American MEC. Bishop Key led a love feast in the Giddings Memorial Church.

Josiah Whipple, a pioneer preacher from the Republic of Texas days, was granted superannuation. He had joined the Illinois Conference in 1839 and transferred to Texas with his Presiding Elder, John Clark. By 1886 he had served many of the most important posts in the Texas Conference and was, in the language of the era, “tired and worn out.” He died in 1894.

An anonymous poem addressed to the superannuated Texas Conference preachers appeared in the local newspaper at the conclusion of annual conference.

Ye men of faith with years and labor crowned,
Whose heads have bowed beneath affliction’s rod
And Bleached with sunshine from the hills of God,
While you in whitened fields the sheaves have bound,
And scattered seeds for others’ harvests round;

I sit with reverence at your way-worn feet
And with unfeigned meekness yearn to feel
The impress of your holy, quenchless zeal;
To catch your words with faith and love replete
And feel the pulse of inspiration beat.

(three stanzas omitted)

Your tents are worn and soon must be laid by,
Your armor bright in the last battle fall.
And you no more shall answer to our call,
But when the muster roll is called on high.,
You’ll gladly answer, “Master, here am I.”


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