Who are the Brethren?

In the New Testament, the word “brethren” describes a community of men and women who chose another way of living: the way of Jesus. The Church of the Brethren, begun three centuries ago in Germany, still draws people who want to continue Jesus’ work of faithfulness and loving service.

Though the Brethren as a group have existed for three hundred years, we subscribe to no formal “creed” or set of rules or beliefs. We say that the New Testament is our creed and as a result we simply try to do what Jesus did and live as he lived.

Jesus brought a message of life, love, and hope. But he offered much more than inspiring words: He understood that people’s spiritual needs also include day-to-day human ones — food, health, rest, comfort, friendship, and unconditional acceptance. “I am the way,” he told his followers. He showed them how to trust, how to care, and how to help.

Steadily, lovingly, even radically, Jesus went about saving the world — by serving its people. Because we believe his message, we seek to do the same.

The Church of the Brethren is a believer’s baptism church.

Brethren take Christian discipleship seriously. What this means for us is that rather than baptizing infants into church membership, we encourage professing believers to accept Christ’s call on their hearts and commit their lives to Jesus. We believe baptism should follow a personal decision to be a disciple and follower of Jesus. However we also practice child dedications as a ritual by which family members and congregations commit to raise children in Christian community together.

The Church of the Brethren is a historic peace church.

Along with the Quakers and the Mennonites, Brethren have long emphasized Jesus as peacemaker. Whether the conflict involves warring nations, racial discord, theological disputes, personal disagreement, or mere misunderstanding, Brethren strive to listen conscientiously, to seek guidance in the scriptures, and to work toward reconciliation. The three historic peace churches were also instrumental in the 20th century in advocating for alternatives to military service and the recognition of conscientious objection.

For more information about the Church of the Brethren, visit brethren.org or visit us next Sunday!