Leaders Meetings

Leaders' Meetings As an essential part of the Wesleyan system of subpastoral superintendence by means of class-leaders, SEE LEADERS, an organized meeting was appointed to be held weekly under the above title. A leaders' meeting is composed of the itinerant ministers of any circuit or station, and all persons regularly in office as leaders or stewards. SEE STEWARDS. In England, the powers of leaders' meetings have been considerably enlarged since such meetings were instituted by Mr. Wesley. "They have now a veto upon the admittance of members into the society, when appealed to in such cases by any parties concerned: they possess the power of a jury in the trial of accused members: without their consent, no leader or steward can be appointed to office, or removed from it, excepting when the crime proved merits exclusion from membership, in which case the superintendent can at once depose the offender from office, and expel him from the society. Without their consent, in conjunction with the trustees of the chapel in which their meeting is attached, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper cannot be administered in the said chapel; and the fund for the relief of poor and afflicted members of the society is distributed under their direction and management. Regular leaders' meetings have from the beginning been found essential to the pastoral care and spiritual prosperity of our societies, as well as to the orderly transaction of their financial concerns. The ministers are directed attentively to examine, at each meeting, the entries made in the class-books in reference to the attendance of members, in order that prompt and timely measures may be adopted in cases which, on inquiry, shall appear to demand the exercise of discipline, or the interposition of pastoral exhortation and admonition" (Grindrod's Compendium of Wesleyan Methodism). In the Methodist Episcopal Church leaders' meetings have no judicial or veto powers as described above. They are held monthly, or at the call of the pastor. Their usual business embraces the following items:

a. That the leaders have an opportunity "to inform the minister of any that are sick, or of any that walk disorderly and will not be reproved."

b. That the pastor may examine the several class-books, and ascertain the Christian walk and character of each member of the Church, and learn what members of the flock especially need his watchcare and counsel.

c. To inquire into the religious state of all persons on trial, and ascertain who can be recommended by the leader for admission into full connection, and who should be discontinued.

d. To examine the several leaders respecting their "method of leading their classes."

e. To recommend to the quarterly conference suitable candidates for appointment as local preachers. The leaders' meeting also becomes to pastors a convenient and appropriate body of men with whom they can take counsel from time to time respecting many minor matters of Church interest in reference to which advice or co-operation may seem desirable. SEE CLASS-MEETINGS. (D. P. K.)

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