New York (State).

Annotated consolidated laws of the state of New York as amended to January 1, 1918 : containing also the federal and state constitutions with notes of Board of statutory consolidation, tables of laws and index online

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church in the United States, and of the diocese in which the parish or
church is situated, by a majority vote, elect a rector to fill a vacancy oc-
curring in the rectorship of the parish, and may fix the salary or compensa-
tion of the rector.

Source. — ^Former Religious Corp. L. (L. 1895, ch. 723) { 32, as amended by L.
1898, ch. 358, and L. 1905, ch. 46; originally revised from L. 1813, ch. 60, { 1, subds.
8. 14-16, as amended by L. 1868, ch. 803.

References. — Powers of vestry In relation to property. See f{ 4, 5, 12, ante.
Powers In relation to minister. See §{ 25, 26, ante, and note under f 5.

Kandamns against vestrymen and rector. People ex rel. Kenney v. Wlnans
(1890). 29 N. Y. St. Rep. 651, 19 N. Y. Supp. 249; People ex rel. Fleming v. Hart
(1890), 26 Abb. N. C. 258, 11 N. Y. Supp. 673, affd. (1891), 36 N. Y. St. Rep. 874.
13 N. Y. Supp. 903; People ex rel. St. Stephen's P. B. Church v. Blackhurst (1891),
60 Hun 63, 15 N. Y. Supp. 114.

Discharge of rector. — ^The vestry may not by resolution dispense with the services
of a rector and discharge him from office, without the action of the superior ecclesi-



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RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW. 7621

L. 1909, ch. 53. Protestant episcopal churches. { 43.

astical authority of the diocese. Ackley v. Irwin (1910), 69 Misc. 56, 125 N. Y.
Supp. 672. See also, Ackley v. Irwin (1911), 71 Misc. 239, 130 N. Y. Supp. 841.

§ 43. Annual elections and special meetings of incorporated Protestant
Episcopal parishes. — The annual election of a Protestant Episcopal parish,
hereafter incorporated, shall be held on the secular day in the week com-
mencing with the first Sunday in Advent, designated in its certificate of
incorporation. The annual election of an incorporated Protestant Epis-
copal parish or church heretofore incorporated shall be held on the day
fixed for such annual election, by or in pursuance of law, or if no such
date be so fixed, then on the Monday next after the first Sunday in Ad-
vent. Special meetings of any Protestant Episcopal parish or church
heretofore or hereafter incorporated may be held on any secular day
fixed by the vestry. Notice of such annual election or special meeting
shall be read by the rector of the parish, or if there be none, or he be
absent, by the officiating minister or by a church warden thereof, on
each of the two Sundays next preceding such election or special meeting,
in the time of divine service, or if, for any reason, the usual place of wor-
ship of the parish be not open for divine service, the notice shall be
posted conspicuously on the outer door of the place of worship for two
weeks next preceding the election or special meeting. Such notice shall
specify the place, day and hour of holding the election or special meeting.
The notice of the annual election shall also specify the name and term of
office of each church warden and vestryman whose term of office shall
then expire, or whose office shall then be vacant for any cause, and the
office for which each such officer is to be then elected. The notice of a
special meeting shall specify the matter or question to be brought before
such meeting and no matter or question not specified in such notice shall
be acted on at such meeting. The presiding officer of such annual or
special meeting shall be the rector of the parish, if there be one, or if
there be none, or he be absent, one of the church wardens elected for the
purpose by a majority of the duly qualified voters present, or if no church
warden be present, a vestryman elected in like manner. Such presiding
officer shall be the judge of the qualifications of the voters; shall receive
the votes cast; and shall declare the result of the votes cast. The presid-
ing officer of such annual or special meeting shall enter the proceedings
of the meeting in the book of the minutes of the vestry, sign his name
thereto, and offer the same to as many qualified voters present as he
shall think fit, to be also signed by them. Male persons of full age
belonging to the parish, who have been regular attendants at its worship
and contributors to its support for at least twelve months prior to such
election or special meeting or since the establishment of such parish, shall
be qualified voters at any such election or special meeting, and also, when-
ever so permitted by the canons of the diocese, women having the like
qualifications may vote at the annual elections and special meetings of
any parish of such diocese, whenever such parish shall so determine in the



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7622 RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW.

§ 44. Protestant episcopal churches. L. 1909, ch. 53.

manner provided in section forty-six of this chapter. The action of an
annual or special meeting upon any matter or question shall be decided
by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon. The polls of an
election shall continue open for one hour and longer, in the discretion of
the presiding officer, or if required by a vote of a majority of the qualified
voters present and voting. The church wardens and vestrymen shall be
elected by ballot from male persons qualified to vote at such election, and
no person shall be eligible for election as church warden, unless he be
also a communicant in the Protestant Episcopal church, nor be eligible
for election as vestryman, unless he shall have been baptized. At each
annual election of an incorporated Protestant Episcopal parish hereafter
incorporated, one church warden shall be elected to hold office for two
years; and one-third of the total number of vestrymen of the parish shall
be elected to hold office for three years. At each annual election of an
incorporated Protestant Episcopal parish or church heretofore incorpo-
rated, two church wardens and the total number of its vestrjrmen shall
be elected to hold office for one year thereafter, unless the term of office
of but one church warden or of but one-third of its vestrymen shall then
expire, in which case one church warden shall be elected to hold office for
two years, and one-third of the total number of its vestrymen shall be
elected to hold office for three years. Bach church warden and vestry-
man shall hold office after the expiration of his term until his successor
shall be chosen. (Amended hy L, 1915, ch. 247.)

Source. — ^Former Religious Corp. L; (L. 1895, ch. 723) { 33, as amended by L.
1898, ch. 358; L. 1904, ch. 85, and L. 1906, ch. 525; originally revised from L.
1813, ch. 60, § 1, subds. 9-14, as amended by L. 1868, ch. 803.

Bector is presiding officer. — People v. Lacoste (1899), 37 N. Y. 192.

anomm of meeting; what constitutes. See Mad. Ave. Bap. Ch. y. The Bap. Ch.
in Oliver St. (1866), 32 How. Pr. 335; Field t. Field (1832), 9 Wend. 394.

Bights of voters.— ^ee People v. Tuthill (1898), 31 N. Y. 550; People v. CJer-
man Ch. (1900), 53 N. Y. 103; Petty y. Tooker (1897), 21 N. Y. 267; Baptist CHi.
In Hartford v. Witherell (1832), 3 Paige 296; Watkins y. Wilcox (1875), 4 Hun
220, affd. (1876), 66 N. Y. 654.

The rector of a church, presiding over a meeting for the election of church-
wardens, in receiving the ballots of those who offer to vote, makes a judicial de-
termination as to the qualifications of the voters, and cannot change his position
at a later day. Matter of Williams (1908), 57 Misc. 327, 107 N. Y. Supp. 1105.

Validity of election.— See People v. Lacoste (1899), 37 N. Y. 192; Hartt y. Har-
vey (1860), 32 Barb. 55; People ex rel. Hartt y. White (1860), 11 Abb. Pr. 168,
affd. see 29 Hun Pr. 573; People ex rel. Smith v. Peck (1834), 11 Wend. 604.

§ 44. Changing the number of yestrymen of Protestant Episcopal parishes
hereafter incorporated. — If the vestry of a Protestant Episcopal parish,
hereafter incorporated, shall, by resolution, recommend that the number of
vestrjrmen of such parish be changed to either three, six, nine, twelve,
fifteen, eighteen, twenty-one or twenty-four vestrymen, notice of such
recommendation shall be included in the notice of the next annual election
of such parish, or in the notice of a special meeting to be held not less than



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RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW. 7623

Li. 1909, ch. 53. Protestant episcopal churches. § 45.

six months before the time fixed for holding the next annual election there-
after, and be submitted to such annual or special meeting. If such recom-
mendation be ratified by such meeting, the presiding officer thereof, and
at least two qualified voters present thereat, shall execute and acknowledge
a certificate setting forth such resolution of the vestry, the fact that notice
thereof had been given with the notice of such annual election, or with the
notice of such special meeting as the case may be; that the meeting had
ratified the same; and the number of vestrymen so decided on. Such
certificate shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the county in which the
original certificate of incorporation is filed and recorded, and such change
then, in addition to the number of vestrymen to be elected at such annual
election thereafter. If the number of vestrymen be thereby increased,
then, in addition to the number of vestrymen to be electd at such annual
election, one-third of such increased number of vestrymen shall be elected
to hold office for one year thereafter, one-third of such increased number
shall be elected to hold office for two years thereafter, and one-third of
such increased number shall be elected to hold office for three years there-
after. If the number of vestrymen by such change be reduced, such reduc-
tion shall not affect the term of office of any vestryman duly elected, and
at such next annual election and at each annual election thereafter, one-
third of such reduced number of vestrymen shall be elected to hold office
for three years.

Source. — ^Former Religious Corp. L. (L. 1895, ch. 723) § 34, as amended hy L.
1898, ch. 358, and L. 1906, ch. 525; section was new in former Religious Cor-
porations Law.

§ 46. Changing date of annual election, number and terms of office of
vestrymen and terms of office of churchwardens in Protestant Episcopal
churches heretofore incorporated. — ^If the vestry of a Protestant Episcopal
parish, heretofore incorporated, shall by resolution, recommend that the
date of the annual election be changed to a secular day in the week be-
ginning with the first Sunday in Advent, or that the number of vestry-
men be changed to three, six, nine, twelve, fifteen, eighteen, twenty-one
or twenty-four, and that the terms of office of the churchwardens be
changed so that one warden shall be elected annually; notice of such
recommendation shall be included in the notice of the next annual election
of such parish, or in the notice of a special meeting to be held not less
than six months before the time fixed for holding the next annual election
thereafter, and be submitted to such annual or special meeting. If such
recommendation be ratified by such meeting, the presiding officer thereof
and at least two qualified voters present thereat, shall execute and ac-
knowledge a certificate setting forth such resolution of the vestry; the
fact that notice thereof had been given with the notice of the annual
election, or with the notice of the special meeting, as the case may be;
that such meeting had ratified the same; the date determined upon for
the annual election of the parish ; the number of vestrymen so decided on ;



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7624 RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW.

§{ 46,47. Protestant episcopal churches. L. 1909, ch. 53.

and the fact that the meeting determined to thereafter elect churchwar-
denSy so that the term of one warden shall expire annually. Such cer-
tificate shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the county in which
the original certificate of incorporation is filed and recorded. If the
meeting determine to change the date of the annual election, the next
annual election shall be held on the day in the week beginning with the
first Sunday in Advent, determined on at such meeting, and the terms of
the vestrymen and churchwardens which, pursuant to law, would expire at
the next annual election shall expire and their successors shall be elected
on such day. If the meeting determine to change the number of vestry-
men and manner of electing wardens and vestrymen, there shall be elected
at the first annual election thereafter, one-third of the number of vestry-
men so determined on, to hold office for three years; one-third thereof to
hold office for two years; and one-third thereof to hold office for one year;
and one churchwarden to hold office for one year, and one to hold for two
years; and thereafter at the annual election there shall be elected one-third
of the number of vestrymen determined on at such meeting and one church-
warden. Any Protestant Episcopal parish, heretofore incorporated, which
has changed the number of its vestrymen and the manner of electing war-
dens and vestrymen pursuant to the provisions of this section, may make
further changes in the number of its vestrymen in the manner provided
in section forty-four of this chapter.

Source. — Former Religious Corp. L. (L. 1875, ch. 723) § 35, as amended by L.
1898, ch. 358, and L. 1906, ch. 525; section was new in former Religious Cor-
porations Law.

§ 46. Changing the qualifications of voters and the qualifications of war-
dens and vestrymen. — If the vestry of a Protestant Episcopal parish here-
tofore incorporated shall by resolution recommend that the qualifications
of voters and the qualifications of wardens and vestrymen be changed to
conform in both cases to the requirements of section forty-three of this
chapter, notice of such recommendation shall be included in the notice of
the next annual election of such parish, and be submitted to the meeting.
If such reconmiendation be ratified by such meeting the presiding officer
thereof and at least two qualified voters present thereat shall execute and
acknowledge a certificate setting forth such resolution of the vestry, the
fact that notice thereof had been given with the notice of such annual elec-
tion, and that the meeting had ratified the same. Such certificate shall
be filed in the office of the clerk of the county in which the original certifi-
cate of incorporation is filed and recorded.

Source.— Former Religious Corp. L. (Li. 1895, ch. 723) { 36, as amended by U
1898, ch. 358; section was new in former Religious Corporations Law.

§ 47. Free churches in communion with the Protestant Episcopal church.
— ^Whenever the trustees of any free church in communion with the Prot-
estant Episcopal church heretofore or hereafter organized under the provi-



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RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW. 7625

Lk 1909, ch. 53. Presbyterian churches. § 47.

sions of article nine of this act shall desire to change the management of its
affairs and the form of government of the corporation by substituting a
vestry in place of such trustees, such change may be made in the following
manner: The trustees of any free church having first obtained the written
consent of the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese to such change may
by an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds determine by resolution
reciting the consent of such ecclesiastical authority and duly recorded in
the minutes of such church to change the management of its affairs by
substituting a vestry in place of such trustees to manage the affairs of such
corporation and free church with the same powers, duties %nd privileges
as are now possessed and exercised by church wardens and vestrymen in
churches of the Protestant Episcopal church organized under this article,
but subject to the provisions of section one hundred and eighty-three of this
chapter and for the purposes set forth in the certificate of incorporation
of such free church and for no other purposes; such resolution shall fix the
day of the week, commencing with the first Sunday in Advent, upon
which the annual election shall be held, the number to constitute such
vestry which shall be two church wardens and either three, six, nine, twelve,
fifteen, twenty-one or twenty-four vestrymen as may be determined, and
shall also designate the persons to be such church wardens and vestrymen
to act until the annual election, and copies of such resolution, together
with a statement of the vote of the trustees adopting the same certified
under the seal of the corporation and verified by the president and secre-
tary thereof, shall be filed in the office of the secretary of state and also
in the office of the clerk of the county in which such church or corporation
is located. Upon and after the filing of such certificates the church
wardens and vestrymen named in said resolution and their success-
ors in office, together with the rector when there shall thereafter be
one, shall form the vestry and shall be the vestry and shall constitute the
corporation ; and at the first annual election the church wardens and vestry-
men shall be divided into classes and their respective terms of office fixed
and shall be elected by the persons qualified to vote for the church wardens
and vestrymen in churches or congregations of the Protestant Episcopal
church and the provisions of this article shall govern such election and all
future elections and all acts of such vestry, subject to the provisions of
section one hundred and eighty-three of this chapter. {Added hy L. 1913,
ch. 487.)

ARTICLE IV.

PBESBYTEBIAN CHUBCHES.

Section 60. Application of this article.

61. Creation and termination of pastoral relation.

62. Worship.

63. Incorporation of unincorporated Presbyterian churches and decision

as to system of incorporation and government.



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7626 RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW.

§^ 60-63. Presbyterian churches. L. 1909, ch. 53.

64. Changing system of trustees.

65. Corporate meetings.

66. Organization and conduct of corporate meetings; qualifications of

voters thereat.

67. Changing date of annual corporate meetings.

68. Changing number of trustees.

69. Trustees, their meetings, vacancies and filling thereof, their powers.

70. Definitions.

§ 60. Application of this article. — This article applies only to a Pres-
byterian church in connection with the general assembly of the Presby-
terian church in the United States of America.

Source— Former Religious Corp. L. (L. 1895, ch. 723) { 37, as added by L.
1902, ch. 97.

The radical change in the policy of the state in giving to religious denominations
denominational control over the constituent churches is manifested in numerous
provisions of the Religious Corporations Law. Westminster Presbyterian Church
V. Trustees of Presbytery (1911), 142 App. Div. 855. 869, 127 N. Y. Supp. 836, appeal
dis. (1911), 202 N. Y. 581, 96 N. B. 1134.

§ 61. Creation and termination of pastoral relation. — ^The election, call-
ing, settlement, installation, dismissal, removal, translation, constituting or
dissolving of the pastoral relation, or fixing or changing of the salary of a
minister or pastor of a Presbyterian church in connection with the general
assembly of the Presbyterian church in the United States of America, or
taking any action for or toward any such purpose, and the calling and con-
duct of a meeting of any such church for any such purpose, and the quali-
fication of voters at any such meeting, are not authorized or regulated or
controlled by any provision of this chapter, but the same shall be in all
respects, done, and regulated, and any meeting therefor called, conducted,
and controlled, only in accordance with the laws, regulations, practice, dis-
cipline, books of government, rules and usages of the ecclesiastical govern-
ing body of such church and of the Presbyterian church in the United
States of America, except that the salary of any such minister may be in-
creased at any corporate meeting of any such church.

Source. — Former Religious Corp. L. (L. 1895, ch. 723) § 38, as added by L.
1902, ch. 97.

§ 62. Worship. — ^Nothing in this chapter contained shall authorize the
fixing or changing of the times, nature or order of public or social or other
worship of any Presbyterian church, in any other manner, or by any other
authority, than in the manner and by the authority provided in the laws,
regulations, practice, discipline, rules and usages of the Presbyterian re-
ligious denomination or ecclesiastical governing body, with which such
church is connected.

Source.— Former Religious Corp. L. (L. 1895, ch. 723) § 39, as added by L.
1902, ch. 97.

§ 63. Incorporation of unincorporated Presbyterian chnrchei and decision
as to system of incorporation and goyemment. — ^A meeting for the purpose of



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RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW. 7627

Li. 1909, ch. 53. Presbyterian churches. § 63.

mcori>oration of an unincorporated Presbyterian church in connection with
the Presbyterian church in the United States of America, must be called
and held in pursuance of the provisions of this article.

1. The notice and call of such meeting shall be in writing, and shall
state in substance, that a meeting of such unincorporated church will be
held at its usual place of worship at a specified day and hour for the pur-
pose of incorporating such church and designating the trustees thereof.
The notice must be signed by at least six persons of full age who are then
members in good and regular standing of such church by admission into
full communion or membership therewith, in accordance with the rules
and regulations of such church, and of the governing ecclesiastical body of
the denomination or order, to which the church belongs. A copy of such
notice shall be posted conspicuously on the outside of the main entrance to
such place of worship, at least fifteen days before the day so specified for
such meeting, and such notice shall be publicly read at each of the two next
preceding regular meetings of such unincorporated church for public wor-
ship, at least one week apart, at morning service, if such service be held on
Sunday, by the first named of the following persons who is present thereat,
to wit : The minister of such church, the officiating minister thereof, the
elders thereof in the order of their age beginning with the oldest, the dea-
cons of the church in the order of their age beginning with the oldest, or by
any person qualified to sign such notice.

2. At the meeting for incorporation held in pursuance of such notice, the
following persons, and no others, shall be qualified voters, to wit : All per-
sons of full age, who are then members, in good and regular standing of
such church by admission into full communion or membership therewith, in
accordance with the rules and regulations thereof, and of the governing
ecclesiastical body of the denomination or order to which the church be-
longs. The presence of a majority of such qualified voters, at least six in
number, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum of such meeting. The
action of the meeting upon any matter or question shall be decided by a
majority of the qualified voters voting thereon, a quorum being present.

3. The first named of the following persons who is present at such meet-
ing shall preside thereat, to wit : The minister of the church, the officiating
minister thereof, the elders thereof in the order of their age, beginning with
the oldest, the deacons thereof in the order of their age, beginning with the
oldest. The presiding officer of the meeting shall receive the votes, be the
judge of the qualifications of voters, and declare the result of the votes cast
on any matter. Nothing contained in this section, or in this chapter, shall
prevent the qualified voters at any such meeting, from choosing another per-
son, a qualified voter, to preside at such meeting, other than the person or
officer above designated.

4. The first business of such meeting after its organization, shall be to
determine whether such church shall be incorporated, and if so, the name of
such church, and whether its temporalities shall be managed by the spiritual



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7628 RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW.

§ 63. Presbyterian churches. L. 1909, ch. 63.

ofScers of such church as the trustees thereof, or whether is temporalities
shall be managed by trustees to be elected by the church.

5. If such meeting shall determine that such church shall be incorpo-
rated and its temporalities managed by the spiritual ofScers of such church
as the trustees thereof, then the meeting shall also determine whether by



Online LibraryNew York (State)Annotated consolidated laws of the state of New York as amended to January 1, 1918 : containing also the federal and state constitutions with notes of Board of statutory consolidation, tables of laws and index → online text (page 52 of 137)