Race and Place Newspapers

Richmond Planet

Newspaper Information
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Date of Publication: May 23, 1891 (Wednesday)
Frequency: weekly
Article Transcripts

Page 1

Column 2-4
THE VIRGINIA BAPTIST STATE CONVENTION. Last Days Session-Discussion on the Admission of the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Petersburg-Admitted Under Conditions

Transcript of Article

Friday, at about 5 P. M. the discussion came up on the report of the Committee upon new bodies.

The main fight was upon the admission of the Tabernacle Baptist Church, Rev. C. B. W. Gordon, pastor, many of the members of which organization came out irregularly as it is claimed from the Harrison Street Bapt. Church, of Petersburg, Va.

The following is the report of the Committee on the report of New Bodies.

We, your committee on new bodies, beg leave to submit the following report:

After reading and examining the letters from churches, societies, etc., we recommend to admission in to this body the following:

1.-The Kempsville Baptist Church of Princess Anne County, Va.
2.-The Baptist Church of Luray, Va.
3.-The Missionary Society of Bethesda Baptist Church . Port Walthall, Va.
4.-The Missionary Women's Society of Queen Street Baptist Church, Norfolk, Va.
5.-The Grove Baptist S.S. Society of Churchland, Va.
6.-Bute Steet Baptist Women's Missionary Society of Norfolk, Va.
7.-The Enon Baptist Church of Washington, D.C.
8.-The Berean Vally Baptist Association of Staunton, VA.,
9.-First Baptist Church of North Danville, Va.
10.-Brookville Baptist Church of Campbell Co., Va.
11.-The Women's Missionary Society of Huntsville, Va.
12.-The Ladies' Missionary Society of Huntsville, Va.
13.-The Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, D.C.
14. The S.S. Home and Foreign Mission Society of Kempsville, Va.


15.-With Regard to the application of the Tabernacle Church of Petersburg, Va., your committee would state that

WHEREAS,-The Harrison Street Baptist Church of Petersburg, Va. hold grievances against the Tabernacle Baptist Church applying here for membership. Therefore be it

RESOLVED, -That we receive the Tabernacle Baptist Church as a member of this body and recommend that the two churches take steps at once and adjust their grievances as soon as possible. Respectfully submitted: Revs. J. L. Barksdale, A. Chisholm, John Jones, A. Wells, G.L.P. Taliaferro, E. L. Everett, W. H. White, J. H. Gibson, W. J. Smith, James D. Allen, Benjamin Shelton.


The question arose upon the adoption of the report of the Committee. Rev. W.H. White of Richmond, Va. defended the report of the Committee. Morton Deane spoke against the reception of the report.

Rev. Robert Johnson arose to a privileged question relative to the membership of his Church in the Convention. Thomas Hamlin of the Harrison Street Baptist Church obtained the floor. He claimed that the Committee had refused to properly hear him, and declared that the Tabernacle Baptist Church was not properly organized.

The membership he claimed was made up of disorderly members of the Harrison Street Baptist Church. He declared that anyone who absented himself from the church without the consent of the Moderator was a disorderly member. He was interrupted by points of order. The chair ruled that Mr. Hamlin had the floor and should be allowed to proceed. Rev. W.H. Crawley said that it would destroy church sovereignty to go into the affairs of the church. Rev. J. E. Jones, D.D. asked: "Is it possible to accept this church or any other church without considering or not considering it?"

Rev. Z. D. Lewis desired to know if it would not be better to hear Mr. Hamlin's statement.

The chair ruled. Rev. G.W. Lee of Washington cried out. "Sustain the chair. Sustain the chair."


"Brethren," [responded?] Mr. Hamlin, "You must hear the reasons underlying our opposition to the admission of this church."

Rev. H. Jamerson claimed that the convention had nothing to do with the internal affairs

The Chair. "Brother Hamlin has the floor."

Mr. Hamlin: "You can't railroad this thing through."

The hour having arrived for adjournment the chair refused to entertain any motion for the extension of time and doxology was sung.

8 P.M. Rev. G. W. Lee of Washington preached an excellent sermon replete with solid advice and dealing with the unity of the ministry. His language was grand, his majestic sentences outbursts of eloquence, reinforced by genuine wit, won the favor of the entire body, and he kept it to the end. He is a magnificent orator. The subject on the admission of new bodies was taken up. It was decided to admit each church and organization separately. When the Tabernacle Baptist Church was reached, Mr. Hamlin again claimed the floor. He declared the convention could not afford to admit the Tabernacle Baptist Church. In a brief manner, he explained how the members of the Tabernacle Baptist Church had left Harrison Street Church. He claimed that the Council that met and set aside the Tabernacle Baptist Church did not give them sufficient time in which to meet them. Rev. Spiller suggested that the matter be submitted to a special committee and have them report. Rev. Chisholm declared that the committee on New Bodies had done that very thing.

Rev. Young moved that 20 minutes be allowed on each side. Rev. J. Anderson Taylor declared that the Convention should not go into any matter of that sort. It should not be turned into a court to settle such differences. Rev. A. J. Brown took the same view. To attempt to settle it he declared would be taking away from these local Churches their power. He moved that the whole matter be laid on the table. Cries of "No! No!" It was lost by a vote of 29 to 43. REV. P. F. MORRIS APPEALS.

Rev. P.F. Morris of Lynchburg made the point that a call had been made for the pending question. The chair recognized Rev. Dr. J. E. Jones to make an address. Rev. Morris appealed from the decision of the chair. The appeal was lost by 33 to 36. Rev. Jones then spoke against the admission of the Tabernacle Baptist Church declaring that to admit it would be to reflect upon the Baptist policy and usage and bring about confusion. Open the door to night and you say to the Sharon Bapt. Church that you rejected last year they can be admitted and next year they will be knocking at your door. He claimed that to admit Rev. Jordan's church would be a perfect inconsistency. It is not Rev. Gordon we are trying to crush evil tendencies. Rev. P.F. Morris of Lynchburg said that he desired the question to be heard patiently. He believed that there was some right on both sides and some wrong on both sides.

He claimed that the Harrison Street Church in not responding to the call of the Council, caused the case to go against them by default. Rev. G. W. Lee the spoke. He pleaded for peace.


It was ascertained that the Second Baptist Church through its missionary society held $100.00 and refused to give it up until the Harrison St. Church trouble had been settled. It would not give up the money if the Tabernacle Baptist Church was admitted so said its delegate. Rev. John W. Kirby spoke in favor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church. He charged that big churches were here threatening to withdraw their support and with hold their money. He condemned the practice. Rev. Brawley desired to know if the Harrison St. Baptist Church had been represented as having made any threats? It had made none. Rev. Rev. [sic] R. Spiller declared that the pamphlet sent out by the Harrison Street Baptist Church showed that they erred from A to Z. Rev. Brawley said that if Rev. Gordon's church would send a committee saying: "We acted hastily. We did wrong" all would be settled. Rev. J. Barksdale opposed the admission of Tabernacle Baptist Church. A resolution was offered as follows:


That the Tabernacle Baptist Church be admitted to membership with the understanding that within 30 days that the said Church seek reconciliation with the Harrison Street Baptist Church and in case she does not then the secretary shall strike her name from the roll. This was agreed to by both parties and was accordingly adopted. It was after 12 o'clock when the meeting adjourned.

Summary of Article
A detailed account of the controversial admittance of Tabernacle Baptist Church located in Princess Anne county to the Virginia Baptist State convention.

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