August 1645: Ordinance regulating the Election of Elders

Pages 749-754

Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.

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August, 1645

[19 August, 1645.]

Ordinance for the Election of Elders.

1. That the Ruling Elders of a Parochial and Congregational Eldership shall be chosen by the several Ministers and Members of their Congregation respectively, being of such as have taken the National Covenant, and are not Persons under Age, nor Servants that have no families.

2. That Notice of such Election, and of the Day when, shall be given, by the Minister, in the Public Assembly the next Lord's-day but One before; and on the said Lord's-day a Sermon be preached preparatory to that weighty Business.

3. That no Man be chosen for a Ruling Elder, but only for One Congregation; and that in the Place where his most settled Dwelling and Employment doth lie.

4. That it shall be lawful for the Congregations respectively, or any other Person, to exhibit Exceptions against any Person elected as aforesaid, touching the Right of his Election, or touching Matter of Ignorance or Scandal hereafter mentioned, within Fourteen Days next after the said Election, to such Persons, Ministers, and others, as shall be appointed by Authority of Parliament to receive the said Exceptions; which said Persons shall have Power to receive, hear, and determine, all Complaints against any Elder, of Ignorance and Scandal, within the Description of Ignorance and Scandal hereafter mentioned; and shall have Power to approve the Person so elected, in case no just Exception as aforesaid shall be proved against him; but if he shall, upon just Proof, be found ignorant or scandalous as aforesaid, then to remove him; and if any of the said Elders shall be adjudged to be removed as aforesaid, then another shall be chosen in his Place as aforesaid.

5. That such shall be chosen for Ruling Elders, as are Men of good understanding in Matters of Religion, sound in Faith, prudent, discreet, grave, and of unblameable Conversation, and willing to undergo the said Office.

6. That all Parishes and Places whatsoever (as well privileged Places and exempt Jurisdictions as others) be brought under the Government of Congregational, Classical, Provincial, and National Assemblies: Provided, That the Chapels or Places in the Houses of the Peers of this Realm shall continue free for the Exercise of Divine Duties, to be performed according to the Directory.

7. That the Chapel of the Rolls, the Two Serjeants Inns, and Four Inns of Court, shall be each of them a Congregational Presbytery within themselves, and make a Classical Presbytery in the whole.

8. That the Province of London shall be divided into Twelve Classical Elderships, according to the Distributions hereafter following:

1. The First Classis to contain,

Alhallowes Breadstreete.
Andrew Wardrobe.
Anne Blackfryers.
Austin's Parish.
Bennett Paul's Wharffe.
John Evangelist.
Margarett Moyses.
Martin Ludgate.
Mary Aldermary.
Mary Le Bow.
Mathew Fridaystreete.
Mildred's Breadstreete.
Peter's Pauls-Wharfe.

2. The Second Classis to contain

Anthonie's, vulgò Antholin's.
Bennett Shere Hogg.
James Garlicke Hithe.
John Baptist's.
Martin in The Vintrie.
Mary Magd., Old Fishstreete.
Mary Somersett.
Mary Mounthannt, vulgò Mounthaw.
Michaell Queene Hithe.
Michaell Royall.
Nicholas Old Abbey.
Nicholas Olaves.
Pancras Soperlane.
Thomas Apostle.
Trynity Parish.

3. The Third Classis to contain,

Alhallowes the Greater.
Alhallowes the Lesser.
Alhallowes Lumberdstreete.
Edmond's Lumberdstreete.
Lawrence Pountney.
Mary Abchurch.
Mary Bothaw.
Mary Woolchurch.
Mary Woolnoth.
Nicholas Acon.
Steven's in Walbrooke.

4. The Fourth Classis to contain,

Andrew Hubbert.
Bennett Grase Church.
Buttolph Belinsgate.
Clement's in Eastcheape.
Dyonis Back Church.
George Buttolph Lane.
Leonard East Cheape.
Margaret New Fishstreete.
Martin Orgars.
Mary Hill.
Michaell Crooked Lane.
Michaell Cornehill.
Peter's Cornhill.

5. The Fifth Classis to contain

Anne Aldersgate.
Buttolph Aldersgate.
John Zachary.
Leonard Foster Lane.
Mary Staynings.
Michaell in the Corne, vulgo Querne
Olave's Silverstreete.
Peter's Cheape,
Vedast, alias Fosters.

6. The Sixth Classis to contain

Albane's Woodstreete.
Alhallows Hony Lane.
Giles Creeplegate.
James Chappell.
Lawrence in The Jury.
Martin in Iremonger Lane.
Mary Aldermanbury.
Mary Magd. Milke-streete
Mary Cole-church.
Michaell in Wood-streete.
Mildred in The Poultrey.
Olave's in the Jewry.

7. The Seventh Classis to contain

Alhallowes by the Wall,
Bartholomew Exchange.
Bennett Fynke.
Buttolph Bishoppsgate.
Margarett Lothbury.
Michaell Bassinghall.
Peter Poore.
Stephen's Coleman Streete

8. The Eighth Classis to contain,

Andrew Undershaft.
Buttolph Algate.
James Duke's Place.
Katherin Cree Church.
Leonard Shoreditch.
Martin's Oteswich, vulgo Outwich.
Mary Newington, alias Soke Newington.

9. The Ninth Classis to contain,

Alhallowes Barking.
Allhallowes Staynings.
Dunstan's in the East.
Gabriell Fenn-church.
Katherin Coleman.
Katherin Tower.
Margarett Pattens.
Olave's Hartstreete.
Peter's in The Tower
Trinity, Minories.
White Chappell.

10. The Tenth Classis is to contain,

George Southwarke.
Mary Magdalen Bermondsey.
Mary Overy.
Newington Butts.
Olave's, Southwarke.
Rotherhithe, vulgo Redriff.
Thomas Hospitall.
Thomas Southwarke

11. The Eleventh Classis to contain,

Clement's Danes.
Giles in The Fields.
Margarett's Westminster.
Martin's in The Fields.
Peter's Westminster.
Paule's Chappell in Covent Garden

12. The Twelfth Classis to contain,

Andrew Holborne.
Bartholomew the Greater.
Bartholomew the Lesser.
Charter Howse.
Dunstan's in the West.
James, Clerkenwell.
Mary, Islington.

9. That all the several Parishes and Places, within the Cities of London and Westminster and the Parts adjacent, according as they are distinguished into Twelve several Classes, shall be the Extent and Bounds of the Province of London.

Concerning the Members of the Classical and Congregational Assemblies in the several Counties.

That, in the several Counties, certain Persons, Ministers and others, shall be appointed by Authority of Parliament, who shall consider how their several Counties respectively may be most conveniently divided into distinct Classical Presbyteries, and what Ministers and others are fit to be of each Classis; and they shall accordingly make such Division and Nomination of Persons for each Classical Presbytery, which Divisions, and Persons so named for every Division, shall be certified up to the Parliament.

That the Chancellors, Vice-chancellors, and Heads of the Universities, shall consider how the Colleges may be most conveniently put into Classical Presbyteries, and do certify the same up unto the Parliament.

And the said several Classes respectively, being approved by Parliament, within their several Precincts, shall have Power to constitute Congregational Elderships, where a competent Number of Persons so qualified for Elders as aforesaid, shall be found; and where no Persons shall be found fit to be Elders as aforesaid, then that Congregation shall be immediately under the Classical Presbytery, until that Congregation shall be enabled with Members fit to be Elders as aforesaid.

The Congregational Assembly shall meet Once every Week, and Oftener if Occasion shall serve.

The Classical Assembly shall meet once every Month.

Concerning Members of the Provincial Assembly.

The Provincial Assembly shall be constituted of Members sent from every Classis within the Province: The Number of the Members sent from each Classis shall be so proportioned, as that the Provincial Assembly may be more in Number than any Classical Presbytery within that Province; and to that End, there shall be at least Two Ministers and Four Ruling Elders out of every Classis; and that, where there shall be Need, the Number may be increased, as to the Persons appointed for the bounding of the Provincial Assembly shall seem meet: Provided, That the Number do not exceed Nine of each, Ministers and Ruling Members, from any One Classis; and that there be always Two Ruling Elders to One Minister.

That the Provincial Assembly, being constituted, shall meet Twice every Year; the first Meeting shall be determined by the Persons appointed for the bounding of the Provincial and Classical Assemblies.

Concerning the National Assembly.

That the National Assembly shall be constituted of Members sent from the several Provinces aforesaid: The Number of the Members from each Province to the National Assembly shall be Two Ministers and Four Ruling Elders.

The National Assembly is to meet when they shall be summoned by Parliament, and to sit and continue as the Parliament shall Order, and not otherwise.