"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein."
"Call[ing] together enough of the brethren to act as proxies for the absent delegates" almost makes it sound like initially churches joined the Association (or Convention) somewhat along the lines of LDS proxy baptisms.
In this case the proxies only acted as delegates to construct a proposed association with constitution and bylaws. The rest of the article (which I clipped this from) would show that the other churches/associations not represented would have to choose to approve or disapprove of the action.
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