Three small denominations, Brethren* in Christ Ch.; Old Order River Brethren, or Yorker; and United Zion Church (formerly United Zion's Children), collectively known as River Brethren, trace their beginning to Swiss Mennonites* who settled in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania, 1752. During the revival of 1770 conducted by P. W. Otterbein and M. Boehm (see United Brethren, 1) among Baps., Luths., and Mennonites, differences of opinion arose concerning the mode of Baptism. The groups advocating triple immersion were opposed to formal ch. organizations and designated their congs. merely as brotherhoods, each known by its respective locality. The largest was near the Susquehanna: hence the name River Brethren. Brethren have not adopted a creed but follow in gen. the principles and practices of Mennonites and Dunkers. They adhere to a legalistic and literalistic interpretation of such portions of the NT as seem important to them, e.g., triple immersion; anointing the sick; veiling women in the public service; foot washing. love feast, and Eucharist observed in evening; unsalaried ministry; nonresistance; nonconformity to the world in dress and soc. customs. Discussions have arisen in their midst about such trivial points as whether the same person should both wash and dry the feet in the ceremony of foot washing. Brethren in Christ Ch. is the largest and most progressive group. Old Order, or Yorker, River Brethren apparently disbanded sometime thereafter.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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