From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Newsline: Plans progress for 300th anniversary of Brethren movement

From "COBNews Newsline" <>
Date Thu, 15 Feb 2007 14:20:28 -0600

Title: Plans progress for 300th anniversary of Brethren movement Feb. 15, 2007 Church of the Brethren News Service Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, News Director 800-323-8039 ext. 260 --



(Feb. 15, 2007) Elgin, IL -- The Church of the Brethren's 300th Anniversary Committee has announced plans for special events and commemorations of the 300th anniversary of the Brethren movement. The first group of Brethren gathered in Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. Since then, the Brethren movement has led to the creation of several different Brethren denominations, including the Church of the Brethren, the Brethren Church, the Old German Baptist Brethren, among others.

Plans for the Church of the Brethren commemoration include an opening celebration this fall in Germantown, Pa., joint events to be held with the Brethren Church at a 2008 Annual Conference, and a "300th Anniversary Celebration Sunday" for congregations on Aug. 3, 2008.

The opening event will be held Sept. 15-16, 2007, at Germantown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, the site of the first Brethren meetinghouse in America. The meetinghouse was built in 1770. A day of worship will be the focus, with Sunday morning worship at 10 a.m. led by the congregation, and a service at 2 p.m. serving as the denominational celebration. Other activities on Saturday will include cemetery tours, visits to the site of the first Brethren baptism in America at Wissahickon Creek, tours of Philadelphia, exhibits, a hymn sing, and informational presentations.

An academic conference at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College is planned for Oct. 11-13, 2007, to celebrate the past heritage, present, and future prospects for the Church of the Brethren. Preliminary information is at the website of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies,

The Annual Conference scheduled for July 12-16, 2008, in Richmond, Va., will include a joint day of worship and celebration for the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church on Sunday, July 13, and a joint closing service on July 16. A joint event on mission and the global church will take place on Sunday evening, July 13. The two denominations will gather under the theme, "Surrendered to God, Transformed in Christ, Empowered by the Spirit." They will hold separate worship and business sessions on July 14-15.

On Aug. 3, 2008, the Brethren Encyclopedia Board is planning an anniversary event in Schwarzenau, Germany, the site of the baptisms of the first group of eight Brethren. Several Church of the Brethren members are planning tours to Europe to coincide with this event.

Aug. 3, 2008, also is designated as "300th Anniversary Celebration Sunday" for Church of the Brethren congregations. The anniversary committee invites congregations and districts to mark the anniversary with special events. Activities being suggested include district speech contests for youth, and a Youth Heritage Travel Team in each district. A training event for Youth Heritage Travel Teams is scheduled for April 13-15, 2007, at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Each district has been invited to name a team of two youth to attend the training. The youth teams will be trained in the areas of storytelling, public speaking, drama, music, heritage, and Brethren beliefs and practices.

Study and curriculum resources also are being offered. An anniversary resource packet includes a six-lesson study guide on the anniversary theme, and a bibliography of worship and drama resources that will be posted at the anniversary website (order from the Annual Conference Office at 800-688-5186). A children's curriculum, "Piecing Together the Brethren Way," also will be available this year, suitable for Vacation Bible School, church camp, or to be expanded into a 14-week Sunday school unit, and adaptable for use by youth and adults.

Find the 300th anniversary website at

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination committed to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in community. The denomination is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2008. It counts about 130,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Nigeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and India.

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For more information contact:

Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford Director of News Services Church of the Brethren General Board 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 800-323-8039 ext. 260

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