Brethren in Christ Church

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1953 Article

In the latter part of 1750, about 30 Mennonite families in the canton of Basel, Switzerland, after a long period of persecution, during which they suffered both imprisonment and loss of property, decided to emigrate westward. They went first to England, and in the fall of 1751 set sail for America. The voyage across the Atlantic was disastrous; one of the ships with all their goods was lost, and they landed destitute. One company, including John and Jacob Engel and others whose names are uncertain, settled near the Susquehanna, in western Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in early 1752.

In 1770, as a result of the labors of some members of the Lutheran, Mennonite, and Baptist churches, who were grieved at what they considered the formalism which then characterized the churches, there was, in that region, a notable revival, which was attended by many conversions. It was conducted principally by Otterbein, Boehm, Bochran, and the Engels, representing the different bodies. Subsequently, a difference of views arose in regard to the form of baptism, some holding that the applicant should make choice of the method, while others claimed that trine immersion was the only proper form. The result was that they mutually agreed to work independently, in accordance with their various interpretations of the Scriptures.

The believers in trine immersion associated with the Engels, many of them former Mennonites, had no regular organization, but were in the habit of designating the various communities as brotherhoods. There was thus the Brotherhood down by the River, meaning in the southern part of Lancaster County; also the Brotherhood in the North, the Brotherhood in Dauphin, the Brotherhood in Lebanon, the Brotherhood in Bucks and Montgomery, etc. The outlying brotherhoods looked to the brotherhood in the southern part of Lancaster County as the home of the organization, and it was probably due to this fact that the general term "River Brethren" was given to the entire body. Another explanation has been given by some, namely, that they were in the habit of baptizing in the river. With the development of these brotherhoods, it seemed advisable to select someone to perform the duties of the ministerial office, and the choice fell upon Jacob Engel, who thus became their first minister.

A small faction of the Brethren in Christ broke off in 1838 in Ohio under the leadership of John Wenger, who were joined shortly thereafter by John Swank, formerly of the United Brethren Church. In 1860 Swank broke off with a small faction from this Wenger group, which in 1883 united with the Evangelical United Mennonites led by Daniel Brenneman, to become the Mennonite Brethren in Christ. Later, portions of the Wenger group joined the Mennonite Brethren in Christ, one congregation doing so as late as 1920. The small remnant of the Wenger group later adopted the name Pentecostal Brethren in Christ (in 1924 this group became part of The Pilgrim Holiness Church).

In course of time dissensions arose concerning what would now be called minor points, which ultimately caused divisions. In 1843 the body known as "Yorkers" or, as some call them, "Old Order" Brethren, withdrew, and in 1853 the body known as "Brinser," but later as "United Zion's Children," also withdrew, both in eastern Pennsylvania.

At first the organization of the River Brethren was simple, but as their numbers increased a more permanent form became necessary, and about 1820 an ecclesiastical organization was adopted. During the Civil War some of the members, although proclaiming the doctrine of nonresistance, were drafted for military service, and it became evident that the denomination must secure legal recognition as a religious organization holding that doctrine. Steps to secure such recognition were taken at a private council held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as early as 1862, at which time those who remained after the separation of the other two branches, and who constituted the great majority of the Brethren, decided to adopt the name "Brethren in Christ" instead of "River Brethren," which was done the following year. In 1904 the organization was incorporated according to the laws of the State of Pennsylvania as "a religious body for the worship of Almighty God," with headquarters at Harrisburg.

The Brethren in Christ did not accept any historical creed or confession, but generally regarded the authority of the Holy Scriptures and recognized the importance of the teachings of Christ and doctrines of the New Testament. They believed that the church was "built on faith in an almighty, triune, eternal, self-existent God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." They accepted the doctrines of the immortality of the soul; redemption through Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who makes atonement for the sins of the world; and regeneration through the influence of the Holy Spirit, developing into holy living. They held that trine immersion was the only proper form of baptism, practiced confession of sins to God and man, and observed the Lord's Supper and communion, accompanying it by the ceremony of feetwashing. The recognition of Christ, not only as Saviour, but as Lord and Master and King, involved in their view the acceptance of the tenets and principles of His government. Accordingly, they believed that, inasmuch as He is Prince of Peace, His kingdom is of peace, and as His subjects, they should abstain from the employment of carnal forces which involved the taking of human life. For this reason the doctrine of nonresistance, in a qualified sense, was a feature of their belief. They considered Freemasonry and all other secret societies to be anti-Christian; they believed in prayer veiling for women, and they advocated the wearing of modest apparel, with nonconformity to the fashions of the world.

The ecclesiastical organization of the denomination included the local church, a system of district councils, state councils, and a general conference. The officers of the church in the early 1950s were bishops, ministers, and deacons. The bishops presided at all council meetings, officiated at marriages and in the observance of the ordinances, and exercised all functions of the ministry. The ministers were specifically the teaching body, but also did parish visiting, and by request of the bishop, in his absence administered the ordinances. The denomination in a slow transition was changing from a self-supported ministry to support by contributions, and salary for full-time pastors. The deacons had charge of the business affairs of the churches, served at the communion table, look after the poor, and also did some visiting in the parish. The membership of the general conference, which met annually, included laymen as delegates as well as ministers.

The general activities of the church in education, publication, charitable and missionary interests in mid-20th century were directed by general church boards, responsible to the general conference. Eight boards functioned in their respective areas of endeavor—General, Executive, Benevolence, Foreign Mission, Home Mission, Christian Education, Publication, and Board for Schools and Colleges.

In 1951 the Brethren in Christ Church had in the United States and Canada 138 churches, with a membership of 6,807 residing in 13 different states and 2 provinces. Of these congregations, 54 were in Pennsylvania, 14 in Ontario, 10 in Ohio, 8 in Michigan, 7 in Kentucky, and 5 each in California and Kansas. The church contributed $613,223.05 during 1950 to all phases of the church program, an average of $90.08 per member. The Sunday-school enrollment stood at 14,760.

The church was aggressively missionary in interest and program in mid-20th century. Sixty-eight workers were active in the foreign mission fields of India and Rhodesia (later Zambia and Zimbabwe), South Africa. In southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) there were 72 out-schools and in northern Rhodesia (Zambia) there were 38. There were 3,372 baptized members on these foreign mission fields, with 3,694 additional persons enrolled in membership inquirers' classes. 11,893 students were enrolled in mission elementary, boarding and teacher-training schools.

The educational interests of the denomination were served by two colleges and two academies—Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania, and Upland College, Upland, California, a high school in Ontario, and another in Oklahoma. In 1950 the number of students enrolled in these institutions was 512. Contributions to the support of these schools during 1950 were listed at $33,823.98.

For a number of years the Brethren in Christ have worked with the Mennonites in the area of peace witnessing. When the first conference for administrators of Mennonite colleges was held at Winona Lake, 7-8 August 1942, Messiah College was represented and participated in the discussion of immediate problems confronting the Mennonite colleges as a result of the war. Meeting regularly two or three times annually since that year, the organization came to be known as the Council of Mennonite and Affiliated Colleges, including Upland (formerly Beulah) College as well as Messiah College.

In 1940 the Brethren in Christ Church appointed a member on the Mennonite Central Committee and co-operated wholeheartedly in the program of Civilian Public Service and Relief. During the years 1940-1950 the Brethren in Christ Church contributed to the Mennonite Central Committee $142,183.22 in support of Civilian Public Service and $109,462.12 to War Sufferers' Relief and other phases of work supported by the Mennonite Central Committee. Of the more than 600 Mennonite Central Committee relief workers in the period beginning with World War II, 19 were members of the Brethren in Christ Church.

(Five paragraphs of this article were quoted from the report of Department of Commerce, Census of the Religious Bodies of 1916. More recent research indicated the article is not correct in all historical details. See the article below. Statistical information in the article was supplied from the records of the General Conference.) -- C. Nelson Hostetter

1990 Update

The Brethren in Christ movement began around 1780 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The founders, largely of Anabaptist background (probably mainly Mennonite), were deeply influenced by the pietistic revival movements of the period which emphasized a crisis conversion experience, with an attendant belief in a personal, "heartfelt" relationship to God. Some of the founders received a conversion experience in the revivals, while others came to believe in what the revivals emphasized. They began to meet in their homes to discuss their experiences and to study the Bible for new insights it might give them.

Their discussion led eventually to their formal organization as a separate group. As Anabaptists they were firm in their views of discipleship and of the church as the visible, called-out body of believers. But they were also convinced of the need for the crisis conversion experience. Thus they did not feel comfortable with the Anabaptist groups from which they came or with various other pietistic groups in the area. As a result, they organized themselves into a new group where the principles of baptism and pietism were combined.

The catalyst for their decision to organize appears to have been the issue of the correct mode of baptism. The founders became convinced from their reading of the Bible that baptism should be by trine immersion. Their Mennonite ministers, however, would not baptize in this mode. The German Baptists Brethren (later known as Church of the Brethren), from whom some of the founders probably came, did practice trine immersion, but would baptize the group in the manner requested only if they became German Baptists Brethren. In their impasse, the group, led by Jacob Engel, decided to baptize each other. The site of their baptism was near Marietta in the Convoy Creek that ran past the Engel farm, located near the Susquehanna River. This action served to reinforce the stance of the founders as a separate group.

The new body called itself the Brethren. They soon became known, however, as River Brethren. Probably the name was given to them by others to distinguish them from other Brethren groups in the area. At the time of the Civil War, when it became necessary to register with the U.S. federal government as a nonresistant group, they named themselves Brethren in Christ. In Canada, members were first called Tunkers (from the German verb tunken, meaning to dip); according to tradition it was a name given to them by their neighbors who observed them immersing converts in baptism. This name was officially retained until 1933, although the term Brethren in Christ had already been used for some years in conjunction with Tunker.

Shortly after their organization, members began to spread out from their base in Lancaster County. A few went to Canada (primarily Ontario) as early as 1788, and during the course of the 19th century they also settled in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and California. For the most part, these areas remained the main centers of the Brethren in Christ Church in North America in the 1980s.

Two schisms occurred in the mid-19th century. A small progressive group in Pennsylvania was expelled for constructing a church building rather than continuing to worship in homes and barns. The new group became known as the United Zion's Children (later United Zion Church). At about the same time, a more conservative group broke from the main body, in part because the latter did not appear aggressive enough in disciplining those who had built a meetinghouse. This more conservative group called themselves the Old Order River Brethren (sometimes referred to as Yorkers, but now preferably Old Order Brethren).

During their first century the Brethren in Christ worked out a synthesis of their Anabaptist-pietistic beliefs. Their emphasis on a two-kingdom theology (nonconformity) made them one with other Anabaptist groups in such matters as nonresistance and nonparticipation in politics. They wore simple, or plain, clothing, and they practiced brotherhood in such matters as church discipline and caring for one another. Their love feasts, adopted from the Church of the Brethren, were an expression of their brotherhood concerns. Their pietism was expressed, among other ways, in testimony meetings (or experience meetings), and in the continued insistence on the crisis conversion experience.

Beginning in the latter part of the 19th century, the Brethren in Christ came into contact with new movements and ideas, and during a 30-year period grafted them onto their traditional life and thought. This period may be seen as the first transitional period. It was similar in some ways to the awakening or renaissance occurring among Mennonites at the same time.

During this transitional period the Brethren in Christ adopted a more aggressive approach to evangelism. They established missions in Canada, the United States, and in Africa, in what eventually became Zimbabwe and Zambia. They also adopted some of the revivalist methods then current. Revival meetings at least once a year became an important part of each congregation's yearly activities. Sunday schools, with their emphasis on the salvation and instruction of youth and children, also became an aggressive means of evangelism.

In the same period, the Brethren in Christ established a number of institutions. In 1887 they began a church paper, the Evangelical Visitor, which became a useful medium for evangelism and the spread of new ideas. They began orphanages in Oklahoma, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, and a home for the elderly in Pennsylvania. Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home (later Messiah College) was chartered in Pennsylvania in 1909; Beulah (later Upland) College in California in 1920; and Ontario Bible School (later Niagara Christian College) in 1931.

A formal merger of the church in Canada with the church in the United States occurred in 1879. The governing body (General Conference) created by this merger, met annually until 1972, when it began to meet biennially. These institutions, together with the structures needed to conduct missions, gave the Brethren in Christ a more organized structure, in contrast to an earlier informal approach to church life.

At the same time, Wesleyan holiness theology, with its emphasis on the sanctified life, gradually worked its way into the church to become an official doctrine in 1910. Although in some ways pietistic in nature, the doctrine was essentially a new teaching. The emphasis was now less on the work of the Holy Spirit as leading the Christian to a more perfect spiritual state and more on a second work of grace in which the Holy Spirit filled the heart, cleansed it from its carnal nature, and enabled the Christian to live the life of obedience more successfully. By the 1930s holiness camps began to appear in Roxbury, Pennsylvania (1936), followed by others in Ohio, Ontario, Kansas, California, and Florida.

Beginning in the early 1950s, a second period of transition brought more significant changes to the Brethren in Christ. In part, this was owing to the increasing urbanization and professionalism of members of the church, which brought them into contact with new people and ideas; in part, it grew out of a growing concern to be more effective in the changing conditions in which the church was finding itself. Standards for plain dress were relaxed and eventually disappeared, although an emphasis on modesty remained. Musical instruments, once forbidden in both homes and churches, became widely used, even for worship services. A strong youth program was developed which included youth camps, Bible quizzing competitions, and athletic events. Absolute restrictions against membership for divorced and remarried people were officially relaxed by the General Conference and in a growing number of congregations.

At the same time, the Brethren in Christ became more ecumenical. In 1949 they became official members of the National Association of Evangelicals, and in 1950 joined the National Holiness Association (later Christian Holiness Association). Brethren in Christ have held leadership positions in both organizations. Beginning in World War II, the Brethren in Christ Church has been a member of Mennonite Central Committee, and has cooperated closely with Mennonites in peace witness and relief service.

A structural reorganization accompanied this second transitional period. Many small districts (some with only one congregation), each with its own bishop, were replaced with six regional conferences with a bishop for each conference. Greater freedom was given to local congregations to interpret the decisions of the General Conference and its doctrinal statements. A further structural reorganization in the early 1980s (known as Renewal 2000) consolidated many boards, committees, and commissions into several boards. It also instituted Cooperative Ministries, a brotherhood concept of financing the services of the church in which money given in congregational offerings goes in proportional amounts to congregational, regional, and General Conference ministries.

The strong missions orientation of the Brethren in Christ Church was illustrated by the distribution of the Cooperative Ministries budget in 1986; the Board for World Missions received nearly 50 percent of the budget. Since 1945 the mission areas of the church have been expanded beyond Africa and India to include Japan, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, England, and Malawi. In recent years representatives from each area have come together periodically for a conference; in 1984, for example, the conference was held in Hagenau, France. In its mission program, the church has endeavored to provide holistic ministry. Along with preaching and building churches, it has established orphanages and homes for children, medical clinics, and hospitals.

Other ministries of the Brethren in Christ Church in North America have spoken to similar concerns. Messiah Village in Pennsylvania and Upland Manor in California were established as retirement homes. Timber Bay Children's Home in Saskatchewan has cared for North American Indian children during the school year. Paxton Street Home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, provides food and housing for disadvantaged people. Camping programs at Kenbrook and the Christian Retreat Center (both in Pennsylvania), Camp Kahquah in Ontario, Camp Lakeview in Michigan, and Mile High Pines in California focus on children, youth, and families. -- E. Morris Sider

2018 Update

The membership of the Canadian Conference of the Brethren in Christ Church in 1996 was approximately 3,219, and in 2003 it was 3,287. 

The International Brethren in Christ Association (IBICA) was first established in 2006 as a network of all recognized national conferences of the Brethren In Christ family. The IBICA was formally organized in 2009 with the aim to facilitate communication and to build trust and cooperation within the global community known historically as the Brethren in Christ. Each national church is asked to give at least 1% of general giving to the work of the IBICA. In November 2017, approximately 30 leaders from national churches Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America and South America gathered for worship, prayer, learning, teaching and encouragement.

In 2012, the Brethren in Christ Church in North America separated into two distinct conferences: The Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S., and Brethren in Christ Canada. In 2018 there were about 160,000 people worshipping in more than 30 countries around the world.

In 2017 Brethren in Christ Canada changed its name to Be in Christ Church of Canada.

In 2013 the Brethren in Christ Church in the United States and Canada had 279 congregations:

Congregation Location
Abilene Brethren in Christ Abilene, Kansas
Acts Fellowship Network Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Agua Viva Brethren in Christ Riverside, California
Air Hill Brethren in Christ Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Amherst Community Brethren in Christ Massillon, Ohio
Antrim Brethren in Christ Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Ashland Brethren in Christ Ashland, Ohio
Bethany Brethren in Christ Thomas, Oklahoma
Bethel (Merrill) Brethren in Christ Church Merrill, Michigan
Bethel Brethren in Christ (Miramar) Miramar, Florida
Bethel Brethren in Christ Church of Hillsville Hillsville, Virginia
Bethel Community Brethren in Christ Cassopolis, Michigan
Beulah Chapel Brethren in Christ of Fairplay Columbia, Kentucky
Big Valley Brethren in Christ Belleville, Pennsylvania
Birchdale Emsdale, Ontario
Blairs Mills Brethren in Christ Blairs Mills, Pennsylvania
Blandburg Brethren in Christ Blandburg, Pennsylvania
Blessed Hope Brethren in Christ Franksville, Wisconsin
Bloomington Chapel Brethren in Christ Columbia, Kentucky
Blue Mountain Memorial Brethren in Christ Newburg, Pennsylvania
Boyle Brethren in Christ St Ann's, Ontario
Bright Hope Fellowship Brethren in Christ Middletown, Pennsylvania
Buenas Nuevas Opa Locka, Florida
Bunker Hill Brethren in Christ Bunker Hill, West Virginia
Buscadores de Fuego Brethren in Christ Miramar, Florida
Calvary Bible Brethren in Christ Accomac, Virginia
Canoe Creek Brethren in Christ Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania
Carland-Zion Brethren in Christ Elsie, Michigan
Carlisle Brethren in Christ Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Casa de Benedicion Brethren in Christ West Palm Beach, Florida
Casa del Dios Vivente Brethren in Christ Pompano Beach, Florida
Cedar Grove Brethren in Christ Mifflintown, Pennsylvania
Cedar Heights Brethren in Christ Mill Hall, Pennsylvania
Center Grove Brethren in Christ Three Springs, Pennsylvania
Center Hill Brethren in Christ Smithville, Tennessee
Centro Internacional Cristiano Miami, Florida
Chambersburg Brethren in Christ Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Cheapside Brethren in Christ Cheapside, Ontario
Christian Union Brethren in Christ Garrett, Indiana
Church of Second Chances Ontario, California
Circle of Hope - Broad and Dauphin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Circle of Hope - Broad and Washington Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Circle of Hope - Frankford and Norris Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Circle of Hope - Marlton and Crescent Pennsauken, New Jersey
City of Refuge Brethren in Christ Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Clear Creek Brethren in Christ Everett, Pennsylvania
Colyer Brethren in Christ Centre Hall, Pennsylvania
Community Bible Chapel Sarasota, Florida
Community of Faith Brethren in Christ Roanoke, Virginia
Conoy Brethren in Christ Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Covenant Christian Community Church Penetanguishene, Ontario
Crest Community Church Riverside, California
Cristo es la Respuesta Brethren in Christ Homestead, Florida
Cristo Fiel y Verdadero Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Cristo La Roca of Algoa Santa Fe, Texas
Cristo Rey Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Cristo Vive Brethren in Christ Hialeah, Florida
Cross Roads Brethren in Christ of Mount Joy Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Cross Roads Memorial Church Guelph, Ontario
Crossroads Brethren in Christ Church of Hagerstown State Line, Pennsylvania
CrossRoads Church of Salina Salina, Kansas
Crossroads Community Brethren in Christ Hatfield, Pennsylvania
Crystal Ridge Community Church Crystal Beach, Ontario
Cumberland Valley Brethren in Christ Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
Daybreak Community Royersford, Pennsylvania
Dayton Brethren in Christ Dayton, Ohio
Dayton Mission Brethren in Christ Dayton, Ohio
DeRossett Brethren in Christ Sparta, Tennessee
Desert Light Christian Church Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dillsburg Brethren in Christ Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
Discipulos de Cristo Miami, Florida
Discover Joy Manheim, Pennsylvania
Ebenezer Brethren in Christ Hialeah, Florida
El Aposento de la Gracia Brethren in Christ Hollywood, Florida
El Monte Calvario Brethren in Christ Salem, Oregon
Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Engage Brethren in Christ Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Eshcol Brethren in Christ Ickesburg, Pennsylvania
Esmirna Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Etiwanda Brethren in Christ Rancho Cucamonga, California
Fairland Brethren in Christ Cleona, Pennsylvania
Fairview Avenue Brethren in Christ Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
Fairview Brethren in Christ Englewood, Ohio
Fairview Brethren in Christ New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
Faith Brethren in Christ Essex, Maryland
Falls View Niagara Falls, Ontario
Fellowship Chapel Bronx, New York
Ferguson Valley Brethren in Christ McVeytown, Pennsylvania
First Nations Gathering Bloomfield, New Mexico
Five Forks Brethren in Christ Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
Fordwich Brethren in Christ Fordwich, Ontario
Free Grace Brethren in Christ Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Fuente de Salvacion Brethren in Christ Spring Hill, Florida
Gateway Community Chino, California
Gethsemane Fellowship Brethren in Christ New Carlisle, Ohio
Getsemany Brethren in Christ Los Angeles, California
Gospel Life Brethren in Christ Des Plaines, Illinois
Grace Community Brethren in Christ Lawrenceville, Georgia
Grace Community Brethren in Christ of Vineland Vineland, New Jersey
GracePoint Ontario, California
Grantham Brethren in Christ Grantham, Pennsylvania
Granville Brethren in Christ Lewistown, Pennsylvania
Green Grove Brethren in Christ Spring Mills, Pennsylvania
Green Spring Brethren in Christ Newville, Pennsylvania
Hanover Brethren in Christ Hanover, Pennsylvania
Harrisburg Brethren in Christ Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Harvest Community Brethren in Christ Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Hempfield Brethren in Christ Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Hermanos en Cristo Brethren in Christ Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Hialeah East Brethren in Christ Hialeah, Florida
Highland Brethren in Christ West Milton, Ohio
Highland Park Community Brethren in Christ Dublin, Virginia
Hollowell Brethren in Christ Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
Holy City Church Hollywood, Florida
Hunlock Creek Brethren in Christ Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania
Iglesia Cristiana Bethel - Hermanos en Cristo Miami, Florida
Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer Tampa, Florida
Iglesia Hispana Vida y Esperanza Mifflintown, Pennsylvania
Iglesia Vida Brethren in Christ Doral, Florida
Iron Springs Brethren in Christ Fairfield, Pennsylvania
Jehovah Yireh Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Jemison Valley Brethren in Christ Westfield, Pennsylvania
Jesucristo La Solucion Miami, Florida
Jesucristo Rey de Reyes Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Jubileo Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Kimbeto Valley Brethren in Christ Nageezi, New Mexico
King of Glory Streetsboro, Ohio
Kirkland Lake Brethren in Christ Kirkland Lake, Ontario
Knifley Chapel Brethren in Christ Knifley, Kentucky
Koinos Community Reading, Pennsylvania
La Hermosa Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
La Paz del Senor Winston Salem, North Carolina
La Puerta de Salvacion Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
La Roca Brethren in Christ (Hialeah) Medley, Florida
La Roca Brethren in Christ (Roanoke) Roanoke, Virginia
La Roca Firme Brethren in Christ Hialeah, Florida
La Vida Verdadera West Palm Beach, Florida
Lakeview Community Brethren in Christ Goodrich, Michigan
Lancaster Brethren in Christ Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Leonard Community Brethren in Christ Leonard, Michigan
LifeHouse Church Abilene, Kansas
LifePath Church Newark, Delaware
LifePoint Church Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Light of Christ Fellowship Johnston, Iowa
Living Faith Chatham, Ontario
Luz, Alegria y Esperanza Brethren in Christ York Springs, Pennsylvania
Madison Street Church Riverside, California
Manheim Brethren in Christ Manheim, Pennsylvania
Manor Church Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Maranatha Brethren in Christ Hialeah, Florida
Marsh Creek Brethren in Christ of Exton Exton, Pennsylvania
Marsh Creek Brethren in Christ of Howard Howard, Pennsylvania
Martinsburg Brethren in Christ Martinsburg, Pennsylvania
Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Messiah Village Brethren in Christ Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Millerfield Brethren in Christ Columbia, Kentucky
Millersville Brethren in Christ Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Ministerio Internacional Monte Sion Miami, Florida
Ministerios El Shaddai - Bloomington Rialto, California
Ministerios El Shaddai - Indio Indio, California
Ministerios El Shaddai - Riverside Riverside, California
Monte Calvario Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Monte de Carmelo Philadlephia, Pennsylvania
Monte Sion Brethren in Christ West Miami, Florida
Montgomery Brethren in Christ Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
Montoursville Brethren in Christ Montoursville, Pennsylvania
Mooretown Brethren in Christ Sandusky, Michigan
Morning Hour Chapel Brethren in Christ East Berlin, Pennsylvania
Morrison Brethren in Christ Morrison, Illinois
Mount Pleasant Brethren in Christ Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Mountain Chapel Brethren in Christ Breezewood, Pennsylvania
Mountain Ridge Regional Church Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
Mowersville Brethren in Christ Newburg, Pennsylvania
Mt. Rock Brethren in Christ Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
Mt. Tabor Brethren in Christ Mercersburg, Pennsylvania
Mt. Zion Brethren in Christ Milltown, Indiana
Nappanee Brethren in Christ Nappanee, Indiana
New Beginnings Brethren in Christ Ephrata, Pennsylvania
New Community Brethren in Christ Chino, California
New Guilford Brethren in Christ Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
New Harvest Community Brethren in Christ Millerstown, Pennsylvania
New Hope Church Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
New Joy Brethren in Christ Church Ephrata, Pennsylvania
New Life Brethren in Christ Collingwood, Ontario
New Life Church of Hershey Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
New Life Community Carlisle, Pennsylvania
New Trail Fellowship Abilene, Kansas
New Vision Brethren in Christ Pewaukee, Wisconsin
NewCreation Brethren in Christ Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
Nueva Jerusalem (Hialeah) Hialeah, Florida
Nueva Jerusalem (Lake City) Lake City, Florida
Nueva Jerusalem (Vero Beach) Vero Beach, Florida
Nueva Jerusalem (West Palm Beach) West Palm Beach, Florida
Nuevo Comienzo en Cristo Pembrooke Pines, Florida
Oasis Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Orchard Creek Brethren in Christ Thorold, Ontario
Palabra de Vida La Puente, California
Palabra Eterna Brethren in Christ Doral, Florida
Palmyra Brethren in Christ Palmyra, Pennsylvania
Paramount Brethren in Christ Hagerstown, Maryland
Pathway Community Brethren in Christ of York York, Pennsylvania
Pathway Community Church Kitchener, Ontario
Peace Light Brethren in Christ McKnightstown, Pennsylvania
Pequea Brethren in Christ Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Pleasant Hill Brethren in Christ Pleasant Hill, Ohio
Pleasant Valley Brethren in Christ Elliottsburg, Pennsylvania
Pleasant View Brethren in Christ Red Lion, Pennsylvania
Poder de Dios Brethren in Christ Hialeah, Florida
Pomeroy Chapel Brethren in Christ Smithville, Tennessee
Port Colborne Port Colborne, Ontario
Principe de Paz Brethren in Christ Hialeah, Florida
Red Star Brethren in Christ Leedey, Oklahoma
Redimidos por Jesus Brethren in Christ Indiantown, Florida
Redland Valley Brethren in Christ York Haven, Pennsylvania
Redwood Country Brethren in Christ Grants Pass, Oregon
Refton Brethren in Christ Refton, Pennsylvania
Refugio de Amor Brethren in Christ Miami, Florida
Refugio Eterno Brethren in Christ Lake Worth, Florida
Revolution Church Salina, Kansas
Ridge View Brethren in Christ Roanoke, Virginia
River of Faith Church Alta Loma, California
Riverside Brethren in Christ Fort Erie, Ontario
Rock Island Brethren in Christ Herington, Kansas
Rolling Acres Brethren in Christ McMinnville, Tennessee
Rosebank Brethren in Christ Petersburg, Ontario
Sauble Beach Christian Fellowship Sauble Beach, Ontario
Saville Brethren in Christ Ickesburg, Pennsylvania
Saxton Brethren in Christ Saxton, Pennsylvania
Senda de Luz Brethren in Christ Ocala, Florida
Shermans Valley Brethren in Christ Hopewell, Pennsylvania
Silverdale Brethren in Christ Silverdale, Pennsylvania
Siquen Brethren in Christ Orlando, Florida
Solid Ground Brethren in Christ Rancho Cucamonga, California
Souderton Brethren in Christ Souderton, Pennsylvania
South Mountain Chapel Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
Speedwell Heights Brethren in Christ Lititz, Pennsylvania
Spring of Hope Brethren in Christ Altoona, Pennsylvania
Springhope Brethren in Christ Schellsburg, Pennsylvania
Stayner Brethren in Christ Stayner, Ontario
Stowe Brethren in Christ Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Summit View Brethren in Christ New Holland, Pennsylvania
Tabernaculo de Fuego Brethren in Christ Hialeah, Florida
The Bridge Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
The Bridge @ Beans Sterling, Illinois
The Crossings Lititz, Pennsylvania
The Difference Brethren in Christ Massillon, Ohio
The Dwelling Place Hagersville, Ontario
The Harbour Church Orlando, Florida
The Meeting House (Oakville) Oakville, Ontario
The Mission Langton, Ontario
The Table Community Church Lancaster, Pennsylvania
The Upper Room (Belleville) Belleville, Pennsylvania
The Upper Room (Harleysville) Harleysville, Pennsylvania
The Vine Smithsburg, Maryland
The Well Fort Erie, Ontario
The Well Brethren in Christ Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
Torre Fuerte Miami, Florida
Tremont Brethren in Christ Tremont, Pennsylvania
TrinityLife Church Sherkston, Ontario
Union Grove Brethren in Christ Nappanee, Indiana
Upland Brethren in Christ Upland, California
Valley Chapel Brethren in Christ East Canton, Ohio
Valley Christian Church Moreno Valley, California
Van Lear Brethren in Christ Williamsport, Maryland
Vida Abundante (Hollywood) Hollywood, Florida
Vida Abundante (Miami Lakes) Hialeah, Florida
Vida Nueva Cary, North Carolina
Voz en el Desierto Miami, Florida
Wainfleet Brethren in Christ Wainfleet, Ontario
Walkersville Community Church Walkersville, Maryland
Waukena Community Brethren in Christ Waukena, California
Wesley Brethren in Christ Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania
West Shore Brethren in Christ Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
West Side Brethren in Christ Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Western Hills Brethren in Christ Cincinnati, Ohio
Westheights Community Church Kitchener, Ontario
Westside Christian Community Springfield, Ohio
Woodbury Brethren in Christ Woodbury, Pennsylvania
Zion Brethren in Christ Abilene, Kansas


Alderfer, Owen H. Called to Obedience. Nappanee, IN, 1975.

Bert,  Norman A. Adventure in Discipleship. Nappanee, IN, 1968.

Brief History of United Zion's Children Church. 1917.

Climenhaga, Asa W. History of the Brethren in Christ Church. Nappanee, IN, 1942.

Huffman, J. A. History of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church. New Carlisle, Ohio, 1920: 81-95.

Minutes of the 113th General Conference, Brethren in Christ Church. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1994.

Minutes of the 106th Annual Conference. Canadian Conference of the Brethren in Christ Church, 1997.

Origin and History of the Tunker Church in Canada. Ridgeway, ON, 1918.

Sider, E. Morris. Nine Portraits. Nappanee, IN, 1978.

Sider, E. Morris. The Brethren in Christ in Canada: Two Hundred Years of Tradition and Change. Nappanee, IN, 1988.

Wittlinger, Carlton O. Quest for Piety and Obedience: The Story of the Brethren in Christ. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1978.

Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches 2012, edited by Eileen W. Lindner. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2012: 362, 369.

Additional Information


Brethren in Christ Church (U.S.A.)

Be in Christ Church of Canada

Author(s) C. Nelson Hostetter
E. Morris Sider
Samuel J. Steiner
Date Published September 2018

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hostetter, C. Nelson, E. Morris Sider and Samuel J. Steiner. "Brethren in Christ Church." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2018. Web. 22 Sep 2021.

APA style

Hostetter, C. Nelson, E. Morris Sider and Samuel J. Steiner. (September 2018). Brethren in Christ Church. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 September 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 424-425; vol. 5, pp. 97-98. All rights reserved.

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