Annual General Meeting: 1895

ST MATTHEW'S PARISH MEETING OF PARISHIONERS

The annual meeting of Parishioners of St. Matthew's, Masterton, was held last evening, the Rev. A. C. Yorke, Vicar, presiding, and about forty persons being present.

The Chairman called upon the Secretary to read the minutes of last annual meeting.

Mr W. B. Chennells (secretary) read the minutes, which were confirmed, on the motion of Mr W. G. Beard, seconded by Mr L. J. Forde.

The Chairman said, before passing to the report and balance sheet, he would like to speak a word on their own personal relations.

Twelve months ago he did not want to go from Napier to Masterton. He had been told that the Masterton people "were rather queer" and that if he went to Masterton he must "mind and not preach long sermons." He had then said that if anything else turned up, he certainly would not go to to Masterton. He could now say he was exceedingly pleased he came, and he thanked God that he had been sent to Masterton.

In the short nine months which had passed they had become fast friends and he should indeed be sorry to leave the Parish of Masterton. He had never met people amongst whom he was happier to live. It was difficult for a layman to understand the many difficulties a clergyman met with in carrying on the work of such a large and scattered parish, and to give some idea, he would just say that since arriving in Masterton he had visited some two hundred families, and there were about two hundred more that he ought to visit when he could find time.

 

Vicar's statistics for the nine months since he arrived in the parish:
Pastoral Visits   300
Services conducted  146
Sermons  86
Classes (confirmation,etc)   73
Holy Communion celebrations 63
Greatest number of communicants on single day 89
Roll (communicants?) 132
Country services (Vicar and lay-readers) 22

 

He had paid three hundred pastoral visits, and conducted one hundred and forty-six services in St. Matthew's Church; delivering eighty-six sermons or addresses. He had conducted seventy-four classes, for confirmation and other things, also doing what he could for the choir and Sunday School. During the period mentioned, sixty-three celebrations of the Holy Communion had taken place, the greatest number of communicants in one day, being eighty-nine; the number on the roll being one hundred and thirty-two. Services in the country, had been conducted by the lay-readers and himself, on twenty-two occasions, but he was sorry that in this direction there had not been much encouragement, and it was a question whether country services could be maintained. It was tasking a lay-reader too much, when he went a considerable distance to have no one come to the service at all -- as occurred recently; and for himself, considered it time wasted when--as recently happened at Taueru--when the Hall was not gathered to receive him when he arrived. He was sorry but very much afraid this branch of the work would have to be relinquished. Regarding his work at the public schools he found that in Masterton the attendance was most irregular, being more evenly maintained at the country schools he visited. He endeavoured to make the instruction as bright and profitable as possible, and would like parents to assist him in the work, and also to take more interest in Sunday School matters; and it rested largely with them to direct their children on such. When he first came to Masterton he said that the day would come, when at least someone would discover a black spot on him, and he was afraid some of them had found a good deal of black. It had been said that a clergyman was usually "perfect" for the first year, in a new Parish; the second year he was merely "a good fellow; and the third year he was--well he would leave his hearers to supply the missing word. (Laughter). He was afraid that someone had discovered "the cloven hoof" already before the year was up, and had published the fact from the housetops. On this subject he would merely say he felt sure they would all exonerate him from the charge of wishing to compromise the Vestry, or interfere with its business.

The Rev. gentleman made a few concluding remarks, and then called upon Mr F. G. Moore to read the annual report.

Mr Moore read the report, and afterwards said that when at the beginning of the year the Vestry took office, they did so with some doubt, but had just about managed to make both ends meet, with the exception of the parsonage debt and interest. This he thought was a matter for congratulation. Referring to the duties of the lay-readers, he said they were by no means simple, and their lay-readers had been most willing at all times to go into the country or to work in the Church, at expense to themselves, and deserved very hearty thanks. He would formally move the adoption of the report and balance sheet.

Mr D. R. Robinson seconded the motion.

The Chairman referring to the report, said the circular asking the seatholders whether they favoured or disfavoured free sittings, had nothing to do with the vestry but was entirely his own idea. He was of opinion that strangers felt intruders when they saw the white labels on the seats. The whole burden of the suggestion rested with himself. In reply, 12 circulars marked "No" had come in, and 35 with "Yes." This was only half the papers sent out, and he felt it would be unwise to submit such a scheme as he proposed, to a meeting that was not a very large one, as when anything was done with reference to any change in raising the finances of the Church, it must be done with the hearty good-will of all. Otherwise he felt he should be jeopardising the welfare of the Parish. Although £108 looked a great deal in the lump sum, as pew rents, when it was analysed it only meant one penny three-farthings each sitting per Sunday. It seemed to him that by resting content to remain stagnant, they were not acting rightly. They ought to try and gather all in and make everybody welcome.

The report was then adopted without discussion.

The Rev. Mr York, in very complimentary terms, re-appointed Mr R. Brown as Clergyman's Churchwarden.

On the motion of Mr W. H. Jackson, seconded by Dr Beard, Mr F. G. Moore was re-elected Parishioner's Churchwarden.

Mr Moore briefly returned thanks.

 

Vestry elections

Referring to the out-going Vestry, the Rev. Mr Yorke thanked them most heartily for their kindness and courtesy, and assured those present that the new Vestry might rely on it that he would not in any way compromise them.

The following new Vestry was then elected:

Messrs W. H. Beetham,
Dr Beard,
Geo. K. Bond,
R. K. Jackson,
D. R. Robinson,
R. T. Holmes,
M. Meadows,
W. O. Beere,
W. H. Jackson, and
R. F. Temple.


Messrs C. A. Tabuteau and E. H. Waddington were re-elected auditors.


Referring to the keeping of accounts, Mr Yorke stated that Mr Chennells was the best Church Secretary he had ever met.

Mr R. Brown, Superintendent of the Sunday School, read the annual report and balance sheet. The report showed 218 scholars on the roll, and a credit balance in hand.

The report was adopted as read.

Mr J. C. Boddington proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the out-going Churchwarden and Vestry-men. He thought the balance sheet showed the good and earnest work done by them during the past year.

The Rev. A. C. Yorke seconded the motion which was carried.

Votes of thanks were accorded the choir, lay-readers, Sunday School teachers and all other helpers, on the motion of Mr Yorke seconded by Mr W. G. Beard.

On the motion of Mr W. H. Jackson, seconded by Mr Moore, a special vote of thanks was accorded to Mr W. B. Chennells, the Secretary.

 

Envelope system proposed

Mr W. G. Beard asked for fuller information regarding Mr Yorke's scheme for raising revenue.

The Rev. Mr Yorke said it was the system known as the "envelope system"; very successfully tried in other churches, notably the Wesleyan. In one Church with which he was connected (St. Matthew's, Dunedin), the system was introduced and a 30 per cent. increase in the revenue was found. The system was that every member be asked to consider what he could afford to give on every Sunday in the year, and if absent one Sunday, the amount was doubled the next Sunday. Envelopes marked with a number, were supplied, and the amounts were entered, as paid, in a ledger, after each service. The average contribution of the Wellington Diocese, was only 4s 2d per head; but in St. Matthew's Parish, it only reached 1s 8d per head. Even at 1d per head each Sunday, they would approach very near the highest average, and if the seventy-four heads of families attending the Church, only gave a shilling each Sunday, the revenue from offertories would be increased from £119 to about £170.

In replay to Mr W. G. Beard, the Chairman explained that this scheme did not deal with the abolition of pew-rents, but with offertories only.

On the motion of Mr Beard, it was resolved that the envelope system be recommended to the careful consideration of the vestry.

 

Thanks

Dr. Beard proposed a hearty vote of thanks to Mr Yorke for presiding at the meeting, also alluding to the cordial relations existing between the Vestry and the Incumbent. Mr Yorke had told them that the first year a clergyman was "perfect"; the second, a "good fellow"; and the third, "a missing word." He would supply the missing word which was, no doubt, angel. (Laughter). He hoped they would long retain Mr Yorke as an angel in their midst. (Hear, hear).

Mr Yorke suitably replied, the meeting then terminating with the usual devotions.

 

ST. MATTHEW'S PARISH. Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume XVI, Issue 5081, 19 July 1895, Page 2