¶ 74. None shall be admitted on probation until they give evidence of a desire to flee from the wrath to come, by bringing forth fruits meet for repentance, and give affirmative answers to the following questions: 1. Have you the assurance of sins forgiven?
2. Do you consent to be governed by our general rules?
¶ 75. None shall be received into full membership unless they give evidence of a renewed heart by living up to the requirements of the general rules, and have met in class six months on probation, have been baptized, 1 have, wherever practicable, been recommended by the official members of the society, and give satisfactory answers to the following questions, which shall be proposed to them before the society:
1. Have you the witness of the Spirit that you are a child of God?
2. Have you that perfect love which casteth out fear?
(If the candidate shall answer no, then this question shall be asked, Will you diligently seek until you obtain it?)
3. Is it your purpose to devote yourself the remainder of your life wholly to the service of God, doing good to your fellow men, and working out your own salvation with fear and trembling?
4. Will you forever lay aside all superfluous ornaments, and adorn yourself in modest apparel, not with gold, nor pearls, nor costly array, but, which becometh those professing godliness, with good works?
5. Will you abstain from connection with all secret societies, keeping yourself free to follow the will of the Lord in all things?
6. Do you subscribe to our articles of religion, our general rules, and our Discipline, and are you willing to be governed by the same?
7. Have you Christian fellowship and love for the members of this society, and will you assist them, as God shall give you ability, in carrying on the work of the Lord?
¶ 76. The person giving affirmative answers to the above questions shall, with the consent of three-fourths of all the members present at a society meeting, be admitted to all the privileges of a member. Any person in good standing in any evangelical church may be received into full membership upon his meeting the other requirements of this chapter, without his having been on probation in our church.
¶ 77. Where societies already organized, or several persons, design to unite with the Free Methodist Church and form a new society, they should adopt the Discipline as a whole, and then each person should be admitted in his individual capacity by answering the questions in Paragraph 75 and by the consent of three-fourths of the persons forming such society.
¶ 78. Any member who withdraws from the church, and against whom there were no complaints pending at the time, may, by a recommendation of the official board, and by a three-fourths vote of the society from which he or she withdrew, be reinstated to full membership without being required to serve on probation, providing the one wishing to reunite shall make request to the pastor of the society within one year from the date of withdrawal.
“A. B., the bearer, wishing to remove from this society, we hereby certify that . . . . . . . is an acceptable member of the Free Methodist Church in . . . . . . and cordially commend . . . . . . to the Free Methodist Church in . . . . . . , or in any other place. When admitted to another society . . . . . . membership in this society shall cease. This certificate is good for one year only, unless renewed.” 2 Without such a certificate, they will not be received into the church in other places.
When a pastor gives a certificate of membership with a view to transferring a member to another society, he shall at once notify the pastor of the society to which the certificate is addressed that such certificate has been given. 3
2. If any of our members live at a great distance from the class to which they belong and are unable to attend, they shall, once a quarter, send to the leader or preacher their testimony as to their religious state. If they fail to do this, or to contribute to the financial obligations of the society of which they are members, they may at the end of one year, by order of the official board, be recorded on the register as “Removed without a letter.” If such persons afterward claim their membership, the official board may restore it. A member holding a certificate shall be amenable to the circuit from which the certificate was taken and until the certificate is received in another place. After the certificate has been handed in on another circuit, he shall be responsible for his conduct during the time he held the certificate to the society which he shall have joined. It shall be the duty of the preacher receiving such certificate of membership to notify the preacher in charge of the circuit from which the certificate was given, in these words: “You are hereby notified that A. B. has been duly enrolled as a member of this church upon a certificate issued from the church of which you are the pastor. Signed . . . . . . . . . . . . . “
3. Every member of our church in good standing removing to another circuit, or desirous of uniting with any other evangelical church, is entitled to a certificate of his good standing, and upon request it shall be given him.
4. No person who wishes to leave our church, without uniting with any other society or church, is entitled to a certificate of membership.
5. When a certificate is given to a member of our church who wishes to unite with some other evangelical denomination, the certificate shall read as follows: “A. B., the bearer, wishing to become a member of another evangelical church, we hereby certify that . . . . . . . has been an acceptable member of the Free Methodist Church, and cordially commend . . . . . . . to the fellowship of any such church with which . . . . . . . may desire to unite. H . . . . . . . . . membership in the Free Methodist Church ceases when this certificate is given.”
6. Children up to sixteen years of age shall be exempt from all claims and apportionments made by the General Conference. The number of such members shall be kept in a separate column in the statistical report, and no society shall be apportioned said claims for such members. Such members shall not be considered eligible to vote in business meetings.
7. Probationers may be transferred to another society by the preacher giving a certificate of transfer in the following words:
“A.B., the bearer, a probationer, having been received on probation on the . . . . . day of. . . . . in the year . . . . wishing to remove from this society, we hereby certify that is an acceptable probationer of the Free Methodist Church in and cordially commend . . . . . . . . . to the Free Methodist Church in . . . . . . or in any other place. When admitted to another society . . . . . . . . membership in this society shall cease. This certificate is good for one year only.”
1 Persons baptized
in infancy must publicly assent to the baptismal covenant.
2 The person holding this certificate remains a member of the society by which it was given until the certificate has been deposited in another society.
3 If a member so transferring be an exhorter, evangelist, local preacher, local ordained deacon or local elder, it shall be so stated on the letter of transfer.