Church of the United Brethren

The earliest roots of this  evangelical church go back to a revival meeting in 1767 when Phillip Otterbein, a Reformed preacher, embraced a Mennonite preacher, Martin Boehm, and cried, “We are brethren!.” This was a time in American history referred to as the “Great Awakening,” an extended period of religious interest, foment, and experimentation. The Church of the United Brethren in Christ formally organized in 1800, and adopted a Confession of Faith in 1815. It was the first truly American religious sect not transplanted from Europe, although it incorporated many ideas from John Calvin, Charles Wesley, and other European Protestant theologians. It began among the German communities in Pennsylvania and Maryland, but its egalitarian principles quickly made it popular with the peoples who were settling the Midwest. 

Early in its history, the church took a strong stand against what it judged to be the two most pernicious evils of the time, slavery and secret societies such as the Freemasons and Know Nothings. These organizations gave their members unfair advantages in business and politics, and were sometimes responsible for prejudice  and violence against immigrants and minorities in the early years of the United States. Because many Midwestern pioneers were themselves immigrants, this stand against elitist organizations garnered much attention and support.

Church of the United Brethren in Christ