To The First Congregational Church, Oberlin

12 December 1870


[MS in First Church Records, 31/4/1, Oberlin College Archives]


At the 1870 annual meeting of the First Congregational Church, a committee was appointed "to confer with Pres. Finney and Prof John Morgan with reference to supplying the pulpit for the coming year." At the adjourned meeting, on October 10, the following minute was recorded :


Report of Com on supplying pulpit made. moved by Bro. Herrick that the com's report be accepted, and that in accordance with it we invite Rev. John Morgan to be assistant Pastor for the coming Year. Moved by Bro, Tambling and carried that the motion be amended by adopting the Com's report of last year on supplying the pulpit which is as follows:

Resolved, that Pres. Finney use his own discretion as soon as it may be practicable and engage in connection with the officers of the church, a suitable minister to assist him, who may labor with reference to a permanent pastorate of this church when he shall be no longer able to preach, and that the appropriation to be made this year as usual to pay an assistant pastor be appropriated to Rev. John Morgan if he shall consent to labor as such, until such other minister may be employed.


Under the date, December 10, 1870, the following minute was recorded:


The officers of the Church met by appointment of the Pastor at his house to take into consideration the calling of a Pastor to fill his place. He had informed them that it was his desire to resign, and had for some time been urging upon them the necessity of immediate action in securing his successor. Rev. H. C. Hayden of Painesville had filled the Pulpit on the previous Sabbath, on invitation of a committee of the officers of the church by the advice of the Pastor.

The following resolutions were adopted on the Pastor's recommendation

Resolved that we recommend to the First congregational church of Oberlin to call Rev. H. C. Hayden of Painesville to the Pastorate with a salary of three thousand dollars

Resolved that we call a meeting of the church to take action upon this subject at the meeting house, on monday the 12th inst at half past one o'clock Adjourned

Under the date, December 12, 1870, the following minute was recorded:


The church met according to previous notice to take action upon a call from the officers to recommend the calling to the Pastorate of Rev. H. C. Hayden

Rev. John Morgan in the chair. Meeting opened with prayer by the Chairman

The call for the meeting was then read.

The Chairman here stated that the Officers had entirely exceeded the powers delegated to them by the church, as they had only been instructed to secure an associate Pastor, and here they had recommended to the church to call a Pastor

Prof. Jas. Dascomb explained that the officers were aware that they were not acting entirely in accordance with the resolution authorizing them to secure an Associate Pastor, but that Brother Finney had been urging them to secure a Pastor in his place, as he felt the need of giving up the responsibility of longer remaining Pastor of the church. Bro. Burrell and others did not believe that Bro. Finney wanted to give up the pastorate but wanted an Associate to assist him and labor outside of the pulpit and leave him to do the preaching only.

Bro here read a communication from the Pastor to the Church. Goodrich in which the church was earnestly urged to secure another Pastor, and advised to get Rev. Mr Hayden.

(The communication is placed on file)

The communication is as follows:


To the first con. Church

Dearly Beloved. As I fear to

be with you this P.M. I send

you a note to say expressly again

as I have so often said, that my

age renders it impossible for

me to meet your wants as pastor,

& I earnestly desire you to get

a Pastor who can meet them

as soon as you can. I have

repeatedly given you in brief

my views of your necessities.

It is not for my sake but for yours

that I request you to act in

this matter. I ought no longer


to consent to ^ your families &

children being without more

pastoral care than I can

give them. Even what I can now

do, you can not expect of me but

a short time, & if things go on as

[page 2]

I fear they will unless you get a


pastor ^ the church will not do

what must be done or you

will sink lower & lower. To see

so much needing to be done, &

have no power to do it, weighs heavily

upon me by day, & deprives me

of rest by night. But beloved you

must act harmoniously or you

will call in vain for such a


pastor as you ^. Do not get divided.

I know of no reasonable cause

of division amongst you. I beg of

you to remember the injunction

of Gody by Paul "Mark them who

would cause division amongst

you & avoid them. I hope there

are none such amongst you.

Agree if you honestly can upon

the candidate before you.

I do not at present know where

you can get a man that would

[page 3]

be more likely, all things consid

ered to meet your wants.

But if you find yourselves unable

to agree upon Br. Hayden, do not

be uncharitable nor foment division.

Settle it Brethren, that you must

be substantially united, or you

will fail to get such a man

as you need. You must get you

a Pastor or do something else

that will meet your necessities

& wake you up to work for

souls or you are ruined

as a Church. I can not endure

to see religion decline & the

piety of Oberlin decay. Get

a strong Holy Ghost Pastor

if possible & with the least

possible delay, & may the

Blessed Jesus direct you.

I will give you my formal

resignation as soon as you

[page 4]

can get a man to take

my place. I do not do it before

lest I should seem to leave you

without an undershepherd

& compel you to act against

your convictions in getting

a pastor. Please Dear Brethren to be

assured that I do not wish

to shirk responsibility but at

my age you can not expect

me to meet all the wants

of this large Church.

May God bless

C. G. Finney.


The minutes of the meeting continued as follows:


After farther discussion by the church the following resolution was adopted.

Resolved that we do not desire Bro. Finney to resign but request him to remain our Pastor.



Nothing further was done about Hayden at this time, until Finney yet again submitted his resignation in 1872.



First Congregational Church Record Book, 1857-1891, in Oberlin College Archives, 31/4. Minutes kept by the Clerk, J. F. Harmon.

This was Hiram Collins Haydn (1831-1913) minister of the First Congregational Church in Painesville. Biographical details in "History of First Church Congregational, Painesville, Ohio, 1810-1891", p. 126, typescript in Morley Library, Painesville.

The clerk had written 1871 in error here.

The addition of a y to God may have been in anticipation of the next word.

Romans 16: 17 reads:

Now I beseech you brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.