Who are the Brethren?
In the New Testament, the word “brethren” describes a community of men and women who have chosen another way of living: the way of Jesus. This community is to be populated by those who have recognized their need of a transformation. They have discovered that real transformation can only be found in accepting the forgiveness of sin and the new life Jesus promises to all who receive Him. [“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:12-14 (NIV)] and [“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18a (NIV)]
The Church of the Brethren, begun three centuries ago in Germany, still draws people who’ve been transformed by Jesus and want to continue Jesus’ work of faithfulness and loving service. As believers, we seek to do the same. Other Brethren distinctives include our peace position (Matthew 5:44), emphasis on simple living (Romans 12:2) and Christian service (Luke 22:27), feet-washing during Love Feast and Communion worship service (John 13), and baptism by immersion and by choice (Acts 2:37-39).
Continuing the work of Jesus: peacefully, simply, together. Continuing the work of Jesus We subscribe to no formal “creed” or set of rules. We simply try to do what Jesus did. 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 included day-to-day human ones. 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.
Peacefully: Whether the conflict involves warring nations, racial discord, theological disputes, personal disagreement, or mere misunderstanding, Brethren listen conscientiously, seek guidance in the scriptures, and work toward reconciliation. We practice peaceful living.
Simply: Years ago, all Brethren were immediately recognizable because of their plain dress and reserved ways. Today’s Brethren live very much in the world, work in a broad range of occupations, and make use of the latest technology. Continually, though, we try to simplify our lives. As we seek to live intentionally, responsibly, and simply, we find a deep sense of purpose. And we find joy.
Together: Whether worshiping, serving, learning, or celebrating, Brethren act in community. Together, we study the Bible to discern God’s will; we make decisions as a group, and each person’s voice matters. Because Jesus urged unity, Brethren work alongside other denominations, at home and abroad, in worldwide mission and outreach. Our congregations welcome all who wish to share with us in another way of living.