February 3: The Presbytery of Berwick (1846)


As they say, “And now for something completely different.” Trying to find material for a given date often leads to unexpected, even unusual finds. And admittedly they can’t all be show-stoppers. The following account of the Presbytery of Berwick in England as it met one February 3d in 1846, is mildly interesting, if only to see how other Presbyteries in other times conducted their business. Not a great deal of difference, all in all. At least here you have the opportunity to learn a new word: sederunt : from the Latin sedēre, to sit; thus, a prolonged discussion; the sitting of a church assembly or other body. I’ve never known the PCA to use this term in its meetings, nor have I seen in used by the OPC, but it was routinely used by the old Bible Presbyterian Church [1938-1955] and later by the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, at least for a few years. I don’t know if the continuing Bible Presbyterians still employ the term.

The Presbytery of Berwick.

The Presbytery of Berwick met at Belford, on February 3. After sermon by the Rev. Donald Munro, of North Sunderland, Moderator, from Rev. xxii. 11, 12, being duly constituted, sederunt five ministers and two elders. The Session Records which, at last meeting, had been ordered up, were in part produced, and having been examined and approved, were duly attested. Mr. Kidd, of Norham, reported that the collection in his congregation for the College, amounting to 2£. 2s., had been transmitted to the treasurer, Wm. Hamilton, Esq., London.

Ordered that the members be all prepared at next meeting to give an account of their Associations and of the contributions and collections for the schemes of the Synod. The Presbytery agreed to record with grateful satisfaction, the result of the applications to the School Committee for aid from the School Sustentation Fund, viz. grants as follow :—To Lowick, 5£.; to Ancroft Moor, 15£.; to Berwick, 15£.; to Norham and Tweedmouth, when schools shall have been opened in these places, 15£. each. Mr. Murdoch moved, and the Presbytery unanimously adopted, an overture to the Synod anent desecration of the Lord’s-day connected with railways and railway labourers.

The attention of the Presbytery having been called to a portion of the minutes of Synod relative to the deletion of a part of the Presbytery’s Record in reference to the Newcastle Presbytery and Mr. Storie, found that some mistake must have originated the publication, in the form in which it stands, of this portion of the Synod’s minutes. Appointed a letter to be addressed, through the Moderator of the Presbytery, and in their name, to the Moderator of the Newcastle Presbytery concerning the matters in question referred to. Next ordinary meeting was appointed to be held at Norham, on the first Tuesday of May, at noon, Mr. M’Clelland, of Tweedmouth, to preach.

excerpted from The English Presbyterian Messenger (March 1846), p. 177.

Words to Live By:
Part of the problem admittedly is that congregations are often not even notified as to when Presbytery will be meeting, but the various meetings of this church assembly should be an occasion for calling the church to prayer, that the Lord’s will would be done and that His kingdom would be advanced. Take the time to ask your pastor when Presbytery will next meet and then begin to pray. You might even consider attending yourself to observe first-hand what goes on, so that in the future you can pray all the more wisely.

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