Church of Christ, Durham
Meeting Minutes February - April 1810

Contributed by the Durham Center Museum and transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


These fragile, original meeting minutes, located at the Durham Center Museum, are all that's left of the minute book of the Church of Christ

February 5th 1810 

The Church of Christ in Durham met at the house of Samuel Cooley, agreeable to adjournment.  The meeting was opened by an address to the throne of grace.

The Rev. Seth Williston was chosen Moderator, and David Baldwin Clerk of the church to serve as such during the absence of their stated Clerk the present winter.

Brother Samuel Cooley’s case of discipline was resumed;  he being called upon, declared that he was unwilling to make a public confession of the faults proved against him. Alleging that the thought the practice, Injurious to the course of Religion and unscriptural.

After a lengthy conversation upon the propriety of the practice and the Scriptural authority therefor - in the course of which the objections brought forward by Brother Cooley were attentively weighed the Church voted.  That the charge probed against Brother Cooley before the Church -  amount to a public offence and require a public manifestation of repentance in order to his being restored a regular standing in the Church.

Voted, that Brothers Benjamin Hubbard, Curtis Baldwin & Ichabod Spencer, be a committee to admonish Brother Cooley and report to the Church at their next meeting.

Voted that the Rev. Mr. Williston be added to the standing Church committee, heretofore appointed, to examine candidates for admission into the Church.

Voted that this meeting be adjourned to the third Monday of February Inst. At 2 oclock P.M. then to be held at the house of Deacon Baldwin.  After closing with prayer. Adjourned accordingly.                                         Attest David Baldwin   Clerk

The funeral of Mr. Ebenezer Tibbals being attended at the time to which the above meeting was adjourned,  a meeting of the Church was called and was attended at the house of Deacon Baldwin  Febry 26th 1810

The meeting was opened with prayer  Rev. Mr. Porter of Catskill was chosen  Moderator.

The Committee appointed to admonish Brother Cooley – reported that they had performed the duty enjoined on them.

Brother Cooley being absent,  then further consideration of his case was postponed, to the stated meeting to be held on Friday next after the preparatory lecture.

After closing with prayer,  Adjourned

March 2d after the preparatory lecture, the Church meeting was opened

The Rev. Mr. Williston was chosen to act as Moderator of the Church during the absence of Deacon Chapman the present winter.

Voted, that Rachel the wife of Elnathan Norton be admitted to the fellowship & communion of this Church; she having been previous by recommended, thereto by the Church of Christ in Southington, State of Connecticut of which she was a member & having been examined and propounded agreeable to the regulations of the church.

Brother Samuel Cooley’s case was resumed he being present, expressed his readiness to make a public confession of the fault proved against him, but in consequence of his expressing great uneasiness on account of one of the charges, proved against him,  the

Church voted  that Brothers, Ichabod Spencer, Curtis Baldwin, Francis Wilson & Ezra Post be a committee to further admonish Brother Cooley.

Voted that this meeting be adjourned to the third Monday in March Inst at 2 oclock P. M. to be held at the house of Deacon Baldwin.  After closing with prayer, adjourned accordingly.                       Attest David Baldwin

March 19th 1810 – the Church met agreeable to adjournment, the meeting was opened with prayer by the moderator

Brother Samuel Cooley’s case was resumed, he being present,  offered a Confession to the consideration of the Church, which was examined by them.  Brother Cooley was also examined with respect to his penitence for his faults.

The Result of the Church in Durham on the case of Samuel Cooley.  On the 29th Aug. 1815, a complaint which had been previously exhibited read and refined to this time, was brought before the Church against brother Samuel Cooley, by brother Phares Chittenden, containing the three following charges, viz.

I.                    For making use of spirituous liquor to that degree which is ruinous to his soul & wounding to the cause of Christ.

II.                 For making use of language which is profane or to that amount

III.               For speaking contemptuously of the Moral Society.

 

It was voted that the above charges were supported, & that they were matters of grief. 

A Committee of three were appointed to admonish brother Cooley in behalf of the Church.

This Committee labored with him from time to time without gaining him, until the 1st of March in the present year when a new committee of three were appointed to deliver a second admonition to brother Cooley in behalf of the Church.

March 27th , The Church voted that if a confession was not exhibited by the 1st Sat. in April which should meet the complaint, brother Cooley should be cut off from the Church.

Sat. Apr 7th  The Church voted to reconsider the vote of March 27th. Brother Cooley exhibited a confession. The Church voted that the confession was not acceptable to them.  The further consideration of the matter was deferred until Thurs, Apr 11th to be attended to after the public exercise of the Fast.  At the time last specified the Church not gaining satisfaction of the repentance & reformation of brother Cooley, voted that he should be cut off from the communion of the Church, and that the day for the excommunication. Should be Sabbath the 21st of this month.  In pursuance of this vote the brethren, I do now as the pastor of the Church, declare Samuel Cooley to be excommunicated from this church, & thus delivered to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Aug. 30th  Brother Cooley’s case was called up. All the records relative to his case were read – the articles of charge, the proof & the decision of the Church – His last confession was read – The Church sought to obtain all the light on his case which they could, not only by the reports of Committees, but by inquiring of individual brethren, who had of late taken, or who by some means had opportunity to conversing with him. With the whole case laid before us, the question was then taken, Do we view brother Cooley to be gained?

Voted in the negative, That we do not view him to be gained. On this it was motioned, & voted that brother Samuel Cooley be cut off from the communion of this Church, & That his excommunication take place on the next Sabbath.

In pursuance of this vote of the brethren, I do now as the pastor of the Church, declare Samuel Cooley to be excommunicated & cut off from the communion of this Church. And let it be remembered that this last step in the discipline of the Church, is not designed to ruin the soul, but for the destruction of the flesh, ie of sin, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, and not exhibiting such evidence thereof as the Church thought to be satisfactory it was Voted That Deacon Baldwin and Reuben Bushnell be a committee, further to labor with Brother Cooley – and that this meeting be adjourned to Wednesday the 28th of March  Inst.  Then to be holden at the house of Thomas Gray at 2 oclock in the afternoon.

After closing with prayer, adjourned accordingly.

                                                                  Attest David Baldwin  Clerk

March 28th – 1810  The Church met at the house of Thomas Gray agreeable to adjournment.

The meeting was opened by prayer.

The Rev Mr. Williston Moderator present   Brother Samuel Cooley’s case was resumed. The Committee appointed to laborer with Brother Cooley – reported that they had fulfilled the duties enjoined on them,  and obtained considerable evidence of his being a true penitent.

A confession, signed by Brother Cooley was read to the Church, and the Church voted That upon his appearing before the Church and Congregation and making the same public, he be restored to the fellowship of the church.

After closing with prayer, the meeting was dissolved.

Lord’s  Day  April 1st 1810

Brother Samuel Cooley made a public confession of his faults before the Church and Congregation, and was by a vote of the Church restored to their fellowship.

                                                      Attest David Baldwin  Clerk _____?

Lord’s Day  August 19th

A letter from the Church of Windham was read, in which they request, that this Church would send their Pastor & a Delegate, to sit in a Council of Minister, & Delegates at Windham on Tuesday the 28th of Aug. Inst, to examine into certain difficulties consisting in that Church.

Voted, to comply with their request, & that Deacon Baldwin be the Delegate from this church.

J. B. Hall by letter from the 1st Church of Wimbester? Voted that Daniel Kirtland, David Baldwin, Deacon Chapman, Benj. Hubbard, Deacon Baldwin be together with the pastor be a committee or one year to enquire.

Voted that the Pastor with N. Baldwin, Dc CH John N. Hall, Reuben Bushnell be a committee respecting baptized children.


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