Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brethren meet in Virginia for historic 300th Anniversary Conference.

It has been 125 years since the Brethren worshiped together like this at Annual Meeting. The last time this took place was at a field in Indiana in the late 1800s, after which the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church experienced a split.

On July 13, these two Brethren denominations held Sunday morning worship together at the 300th Anniversary Conference in Richmond, Va. The Conference sang on this historic morning, "Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord, our God!"

The Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church both stem from the Brethren movement that began in 1708 in the village of Schwarzenau, Germany, where the eight founders of the movement were baptized in the Eder River. At the Anniversary Conference, water was poured into a fountain worship center from the Eder River, from Wissahickon Creek in Philadelphia where the first Brethren baptisms in America took place, and from the districts of the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church.

The whole of Sunday was given to anniversary events. After worship, the John Kline Riders greeted worshipers on the plaza outside the coliseum--the group remembers the life of Civil War-era Brethren leader and peacemaker John Kline.

That afternoon, participants had their choice of workshops under the theme "An Experience of Brethren Faith Journeys." An evening celebration of mission featured music and stories from the international mission work of the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church.

In addition, a Service Blitz and a food drive marked 300 years of Brethren faithfulness by sharing a witness of service and caring with the Richmond community.

Anniversary committees from the two denominations worked jointly on the celebration. The Church of the Brethren's 300th Anniversary Committee has been planning for this Conference for eight years.

The 300th Anniversary Committee included Jeff Bach (chair), Dean Garrett, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Leslie Lake, Lorele Yager, and Annual Conference executive director Lerry Fogle. The late Donald Durnbaugh also was a member of the committee.

Source: 7/16/2008

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