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State to appoint Trustees, who fhall be á Body Corporate for the Purpose of taking Care of the Temporalities of their respeclive Correjations, and for other Purpufes therein mentioned.
Pallid 6th April, 178.9. Preable,
HEREAS by the thirty-eighth article of the confliRecitina zah article tution of the late of New-York, it is ordained,
, of the haikutivi.
determined and declared, that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profillion and worship, without discrimination or preference, should forever thereafter be allowed within this flate to all mankind, Provided that the liberty of conscience thereby granted, should not be fo comlirued, as to excuse acts of licentiouness, or justify practices inccniiient wäh the peace or safety of this state ; And whcreas many of the churches, congregations and religious focieties in this state while it was a colony, have been put to great difficulties to support the public worship of God, by reason of the liberal and partial distributions of charters of incorporation to religious focieties, whereby many charitable and well disposed perfons have been preTerred from contributing to the support of religion, for want of proper perfons authorised by law to take charge of their pious donations, and many eiates purchafed and given for the support of religious focieties, now vert in private hands, to the great insecurity of tie society, for wliose benefit they were purchased or gven, and to the no lels disquiet of many of the good people of this ílate : And whereas it is ihe duty of all wilé, tice and virtuous
The duty of govern. governments, to countenance and encourage virtue an! t to ensure religion, and remove every lett or impediment to the growth vite and religion.
and profperity of the people, and to enable every religʻouz denomination to provide for the decent and honorable fupport of divine Worship, agreeable to the dictates of conscience and judesinent;
1. bei iherefore emicicdly the coke ulice of N-Y., repreleted in fi.de wad afforbly, and it is vereby exact by the fore fire, That from and afier the paring of this act, it fuali and may be lawnil i and for the inale persons of full age, bulonging to any church, congregation of religious fociety not already ciablished within this itate, or which may ar any time hereafter be within the fame, to asemble and meet together, at the church, inceting-house, or other place where ihey itaedly attend for divine worthip, and then and there by plurality of voices, to elect, noininate and appoint any number of discreet and prudent persons of their church, congregation or society, not less than three or exceeding nine in number as trutus, to take the charge of the eltate and proferry belonging to their reipective churches, congregations or religious focicries, and to trannct all aftairs relative to de temporalities of their respective churches, congregations or societies: That ar fuch election, every male person of full age, who has statedly wörshipped with the said cliureli, congregation or fociety, and has formerly been conlidered as belonging thercto, ha lixe entied to a voice atsuch frit e cetio!.
II. Ad be it isihet ended by the t..!?rity of refid; That the faideleton so to be held as a forefaid, forl be condicted in the following manner, to wt; The miniller of the fiul chirch, congregation or focery, or in cate of his ach or ablince, one of the chiers or deacons, church wa 115 or Feitrymen of the find church, congregation or foc'ety, and for watt offich officers, any other person being a ineinber or a flaned hearer in uch church,
Election of trustees, congregation or fociety, Mall publicly notify the congregahow w be conducted.
tion of the time when, and place where the said election hall be held, at leait fiiteen days before the day of clection ; that the said notification shall be given for two fuccellive fabbaths, or days on which such church, congregation or fociety shall statedly meet for public worship, preceding the day of election, that on the said day of election two of the elders or church wardens of che faid church, congregation or fociety, thall pretide at such eleétion, receive the votes of the electors, be the judges of the qualification of luch electors, and the officers to return the names of the persons, who by the plurality of voices shall be elected to serve as trụitees for the faid church, congregation or fociery; and in cafe there should be no elders or church wardens in the said church, congregation or society, at the time of such election, then and in such case, two of the deacons or ventrymen of the faid church, congregation or society, small pretide at such election, receive the votes and judge of the qualification of the electors, and be the returning officers; and in case there ihall be no such officers in such church, congregation or society, then it shall and inay be lawful for the said electors to nominate and elect by plurality of voices, two of the members of the said church, congregation or Tociety, to hold the said election, and be the returning officers as aforesaid.
III. And be it firher emailed by the authority aforelud, That the said returning officers, who shall hold the said election, Mall immediately after the faid election certify under their hands and feals, the names of the persons elected to serve as trufees for the faid church, congregation or society, in which certificate the sile, name, or title by which thie faid truslees and their fucceffors shall forever thereafter be called, distinguished and known, shall be particularly mentioned and described; which faid certificate, being first duly proved or acknowledged before the chancellor of this state, or one of the judges of the supreme court, or any one of the judges of the inferior court of common pleas of the county, for the time being, in the manner deeds or other writings have been usually proved or acknowledged, shall be forthwith recorded by the clerk of the county, for the time being, in a book to be kept by him for that purpose ; for which service, a fee of fix Dillings may be taken, and no more,
IV. And be it further enaled by the authority ajörckid, That the said perfons so to be elected, returned and registered, shall be, and hereby are declared to be the trustees for the faid church, congregation or fociety, for which they The duty of tie Ihall be fo cholen, and Mall be, and hereby are authorised
and empowered to take into their charge, care, cultody and poffeflion, all the temporalities belonging to the faid church, congregation or society, for which they shall be elected trustees, whether the same conlist of lands, tenements, hereditaments, goods or chattels, and whether the fame Thall have been given, granted or deviled directly to the faid church, congregation or fociety, or to any person or persons in truit, to and for their use; and although such gift, grant or devise, may not leave strictly been agreeable to the rig d rules of law, or might, on frict construction, be defeated by the operation of the Itarutes of Mortmain; and that the faid trustees, from the time of their election as aforesaid, and their fucceflors forever thereafier, hall be a body politic and corporate, and Niali be able and capable in the law, to hold, maintain and recover all their erlates, rights and privileges, of what name or kind socver, and to sue and ise sed, plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered unto, deiend and be defended, by the name, stile and title mentioned and defcribed in the aid certificate fo to be recorded as afort
And their powers faid, in all suits, quarrels, controversies, causes, actions, mat-
mon law or equity whatsoever ; and by the same name,
, parsonages, burying-places and lands thereunto belonging, and law'fuly had, held and enjoyed the same; any law, ulage or custom to the contary hereof, in any wise notwithstanding.
V. did be it further enabled by the authority aftred, That the faid truc tees
, and their successors, by the fame name, itile and title, from the time of their election as aforesaid, shall have full power, good right and lawful au
Trates power to thority, to have, take, receive, acquire, purchae, use and ere and enjoy es enjoy lands, tenements and hereditaments, goods and chat
teis, and to dernise, lease and improve the faid lands, tene
menis and hereditaments, and to use and improve such
And en build izures faid lands, and to alter, enlarge or amend the same or any
the use of their ministers, and school-houses and other built'.
VI. And be it further enabled by the authority aforefird, That it hall and may be lawful for the said trustees and their fucceffors, forever hereafter, Trules to have a to have and use a common seal, and the fame to aler, bicak
and new make at their discretion; and also, that it shall and may be lawful for the said trustees and their succeffors, or any two of them, at any time or times, and as often as it shall be needful, to call a meeting of the faid trutees, and that the majority of the said trustees when met, fall be a fufficient quorum, and shall have power to make such rules and orders for the managing the temporal affairs and concerns of the faid church, congregation or fociety, as they or the major part of them so met, shall agree Upon, and shall have the sole disposition and ordering of all payments of the monies belonging to the said church, congregation or fociety, and also the power of appointing a clerk and treasurer to the fad boud of trustees, and ab a collector to collect and receive the rents and revenues of the faid Carch, congregation or fociety; and the faid clerk, treasurer or collector, at their pleasure, to remove, and to clect and chule others in their room and lead; all which orders, rules and payments, fall be honellfy and fairly kept
Pew rents and per.
kepe up .
by the faid clerk, in books to be provided for that purpose; and that the majority of the said trustees, fo met as aforesaid, shall have power to establifh and regulate the fees that shall be allowed to the faid clerk, treasurer and col
lector, and also to regulate and order the renting the pews in qtiftes, how regu- the said churches or meeting-houses, and the perquisites of lated.
the faid church, congregation or fociety, arising for the breaking of the ground in the cemetery or church yards, and in the churches or mee ing-houiés for burying the dead, and all other matters, touching and concerning the temporal concerns and revenues of the said churches, congregations and societies respectively.
VII. And to the end, That a perpetual succession of trustees may be maintained and kept up in the said churches, congregations and societies
Perpetual ficcellion respectively; Be it further enaĉied by the authority aforejaid, of truitees, how to be That the truttees firit to be chosen as aforesaid, shall continue
in office for the space of three years, to be computed from the day of their election; and that immediately after the faid firlt election, the said trustees shall be divided by lot into three claslės, numbered one, two and three; and that the feats of the member or members of the first clats, shall be vacated at the expiration of the firit year; the member or members of the fecond class, at the expiration of the second year; and the member or members of the third class, at the expiration of the third year; to the end, that the third part of the whole number of trustees, as nearly as poluble, may be annually chosen.
VIII. And in order to supply and fill up the several vacancies in the said board of trustees as they shall arise ; Be il further enuced by the auth ruy aforejud, That the said trustees for the time being, or the major part of them, shall, from time to time, notify in writing, the minister for the time being, and in cale of his death or absence, the elders or church-wardens, and in case there shall be no elders or church wardens, the deacons or vefiryinen of any such church, congregation or fociety, of such vacancies, specifying the names of Vacancies how to be the trustees, whose times will expire at least one month be
fore such vacancies shall happen, and that the said minifter, and in case of his death or absence, one of the said elders or church-wardens, or deacons or veftrymen, shall in manner aforesaid, proceed to notify the members of the said church, congregation or society, of such vacancies, and appoint the time and place for the ciection of new trustees to fill up the fame, which cleclion shall be held at least six days before such vacancies shall happen ; and that at all such future elections, two of the elders or church-wardens of the faid church, congregation or society, and in case there shall be no elders or church-wardens, two of the deacons or vestrymen, and in case there shall be no such officers, then such other persons fo to be elected returning officers as aforesaid, ihall preside and receive the votes of the electos, judge of the qualifications of the said electors, and be the returning officers as a foresaid ; and that a certificate under the hands and seals of the said returning officers, fpecifying the names of the persons elected to fill up such vacancies, shall entitle the several persons elected to a feat at the board of the said trustees; and in case any of the trustees shall refuse to act, die, or remove within the year, it shall be lawful for the male electors of the said church, congrega'ion or
Others to be clofen society, at any time after such contingency fall happen, to in the room of trustees allemble and meet together, upon notice to be given in manrefusing to act, dying, ner aforesaid, and then and there by plurality
of voices, to elect and appoint others to fill up such vacancy or vacancies,
who shall have full power and authority to do, execute and perform the office of trustee or trustees, in the place of such as he or they shall be so chosen to succeed, and shall continue in orice for to long time as the person or persons fo dying, refusing or removing, might have served, had he or they lived, accepted or continued in the laid othce.
IX. And be ii furiher c.?acled ly the authorily aforesaid, Qualification of elec: That no male person belonging to the faid church, congrebors, alter the first electiva, sc. gation or society, shall be enttied to vote for truitees as atorefaid, at any election succeeding the faid firit election above mentioned, until he hall have been a stated attendant on divine worship in the laid church, congregation or society, at least one year before such election, and shall have contributed to the support of the said church, congregation or fociety, according to the usages and customs thereof; and that the laid clerk to the faid trustees for the time being, fhall keep a register of the names of all such perlons as shall, from time to time, desire to become fated hearers in the said church, congregation or fociety, and shall therein note the time when such request was made; and that the said clerk shall, from time to time, attend all such future elections, in order to test the qualifications of fuch electors, in cate any objections shall be made as to the time when such elector became a stated attendant on divine worship in the faid church, congregation or society.
X. And be it further enacted by the authority aforefaid, That nothing in this act contained, shall be construed, adjudged or taken to give to the faid trustees or their fucceffors, any power or authority whaticever, to fix or Minister's Glaries
ascertain the salary or salaries, stipend or ftipends, to be paid to be afcertained by to the miniiter or ministers of the said church, congregation enajority of the elec- or society, and that whenever it shall be necessary to fix or
ascertain such salaries or Itipends, the fame shall be fixed and akcertained by the electors aforesaid, or the inajor part of them, at a meeting to be called for that purpose; which falaries or stipends, when fixed and ascertained, shall be ratified and confirmed by the said trustees, or the major Bat conformed and part of them, by an instrument in writing, under the com. paid by the trutees. mon seal of the said trullees, and the faid trustees, or the major part of them, shall, and hereby are authorised and empowered to pay and discharge the fame, out of the revenues of the said church, congregason or fociety.
XI. And be it further enaticd by the authirily aforesaid, Regius rights not That nothing herein contained, shall be confrued, adjudg. to be affected by this
ed or taken to abridge or affect the rights of conscience or private judgment, or in the leaft to alter or change the religious conftitutions or governments of either of the said churches, congregations or focieties, lo far as respects, or in any wise concerns the doctrine, discipline or worship thereof.
XII. Ard be it further cnafled by the authority aforesaid, That all and every corporation, trustees, or persons intrufted with the management, care and dispoñtion of the temporalities of any church, congregation or religious fociety, already incorporated, or that may hereafter be incorporated within this state, or a majority of them relpeclively, shall
, and hereby are required once in every three years, and between Ure first day of January and ilie firit day of April, triennially, to be computed from the first day of January next enlung, to exhibit upon oath to the chancellor, or to one of the jutices of the supreme court, or any of the judges of the count of coinmon pleas in the county where such church, congregation or religious fociety Inall be fitus