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Brethren Literature & Graphics

Denominational

Timeline of the Church of the Brethren tracing our development from a very small circle of eight Anabaptist and Pietist believers in Schwarzenau, Germany, until the present 1,100 congregations in 36 states with mission projects around the world. Discover many external religious events that significantly contributed to our formation. Included are many secular historical markers to help properly frame Brethren events in relation to world happenings.

Archive of Sermons     These inspirational moments are provided to allow our ministers and educators the opportunity to inspire, encourage, comfort, and hopefully empower your life with the Holy Spirit. If their message has spoken to your need, please take the opportunity to let them know.

Spiritual Reflections of the Holy Spirit in the lives of our members    Inspiration is the driving force behind personal growth and maturity as we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit for more effective service. This is your opportunity to inspire and encourage others with those special moments when God became very real to you. Challenge someone else to explore their faith more deeply.

Why I Love The Church of the Brethren     Here is an opportunity for you to tell others why you love the Church of the Brethren or how it has especially ministered to you. Perhaps the COB has touched you through a favorite pastor, deacon, teacher, or scheduled event. Use this forum to express your humble gratitude.

Downloadable Brethren Logo's     Need the denominational logo for a homepage, newsletter, or bulletin? You are free to download and use any of our creations. We even made several logo backgrounds. Also link to Church of the Brethren department and agency logos.

The Book Store     Brethren Authors & Performing Artists may display their material here without cost. These talented individuals will give you a deeper look into the life and thought of the Brethren. Read how they grew up and the values they were taught. Experience their church life. Understand the spiritual convictions of being a member of the Church of the Brethren. Listen to their contemporary music and hear what they sing about today. Please order all items directly from each author, and tell them you saw it here!

Brethren History & Genealogy     Review our genealogical resources, such as book lists, cemetery records, individual contributions, or surf to other genealogical web sites. Hopefully you will find that lost ancestral link to your past. Get in touch with other history buffs and genealogists through the Brethren History & Genealogy List Server administered by Joe Bosserman.

Brethren Encyclopedia A veritable treasure of information about all Brethren denominations tracing their history to the original founding body, who established themselves in 1708 as a new Baptist movement through adult baptism in the Eder River near Schwarzenau, Germany. They were first called Neue Täufer (new Baptists) to distinguish them from older Anabaptists groups such as the Mennonites and Amish. Presently, this includes seven Brethren denominations: The Brethren Church, Church of the Brethren, Dunkard Brethren Church, Old German Baptist Brethren, Old Order German Baptist Brethren, Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, and Conservative Grace Brethren Churches International. Brethren Encyclopedia is not only a tremendous resource of information and heritage, but also a recognized symbol of unity.

Brethren Bibliography     These resources will hopefully give you a more expanded understanding of the COB. Many of the authors have made lifelong commitments to making Brethren history, lifestyles, and belief systems more easily understood. Some of the books have excellent cross-references to other works. A few hardcovers are presently out of circulation, but may be acquired from libraries.

Jim Miner's Brethren E-mail List     The Brethren Directory is maintained by Jim Miner of the Highland Avenue COB, Elgin, IL, and includes over 1,300 e-mail addresses of various people, churches, districts, agencies, and colleges. Please send all e-mail additions, corrections, or deletions to Jim at cob_list@yahoo.com.





The Document Bin

Individual Member Contributions

Annual Conference 2001 Report created in Power Point by Michael D. Martin of Phoenix First COB in the Pacific-Southwest District. One hundred and twenty different slides explain Annual Conference business, elections, and committee reports. Great for presenting information to your local congregation.


Basic Agreement by Carl Harter attempts to unravel the often complicated relationship between early Brethren leaders and the enigmatic personage of Conrad Beissel, who severed all ties with them and founded his own faith experiment at Ephrata Cloister. Harter explores their common understandings and tries to establish probable responses for several anticipated questions.


Biblical Authority by David L. Miller, pastor of the Rockhill Church of the Brethren, reexamines this socially hot topic through a careful selection of Old and New Testament scriptures offering biblical assumptions concerning authority. Strait forward commentary guides the reader toward a better understanding of this issue, and how it affects individual Christians and their relationship to the Church.


Columbine High School ... a response to the tragedy in Colorado is offered by Rev. Sarah Leatherman Young, pastor of Prince of Peace COB, Littleton, Colorado, which is located only a few block from the scene of the April 20, 1999 shootings. Included is the poem written by victum Cassie Bernall who witnessed her faith just before she died. There are also external links to Columbine web sites.


Consultation 2000: Standing Committee Report submitted by Pacific Southwest District. Six questions were given to Standing Committee Representatives to gather input from congregations in preparation for Consultation 2000 (July 12, 2000) which was held in Standing Committee meetings with representatives of the five Annual Conference agencies plus the Council of District Executives.


Creeds and the Church of the Brethren by Frank Ramirez examines the basic reasons why Brethren have traditionally resisted the confinement of a creed by detailing historical moments and theological weaknesses that predictably lay in the pathway to the formation of creeds. Ramirez further gives treatment to the inherent problems of creedalism such as affirmation without investigation or different signposts for different believers on the spiritual journey of faith. Lastly, readers are effectually challenged to define their own approach to developing and defending a system of beliefs.


Honors To Alexander Mack is a newly written article about the founder of the Brethren, written especially for COB-NET by noted author William G. Willoughby. He is also the author of "Counting The Cost" and "Beliefs of the Early Brethren." Unlike these two excellent works that have become treasures to fellow Brethren readers, "Honors" tells the story of Mack to the non-Brethren web visitor from the global community. It is written with a gentle sensitivity to the modern audience that wants a hero, and explains why the beliefs of Alexander Mack will satisfy that yearning need.


It's My Privilege by Beth Miller recounts an experience at church camp, sponsored by OEPA, where she learned a great deal about herself and our present societal culture. Miller describes some of the group activities that served as processes to increase her awareness of privilege.


L.O.V.E.3 by Linda K. Williams - Let's Overcome Violence Through Education, Empathy, and Empowerment. A Non-Exhaustive Annotated List of Resources and Organizations, Compiled: Spring 2001 / Updated: 6-28-01. Ms. Williams is a concerned mother, teacher, curriculum and song writer activist, youth leader (San Diego 1st Church of the Brethren), and peace activist.


Reaction to the bombing of Kosovo ... includes the official statement of General Board Executive Directory Judy Mills Reimer urging the President of the United States to consider the immediate cessation of the bombing in Kosovo and the use of "creative approaches" to the problem. Additionally, there are external resource links to web sites that offer further information on the war in Kosovo.


Restructuring Congregations: Since the implimentation of the Tri-Commission plan in the 1960's, many smaller congregations have sought to design a leadership plan more appropriate to their unique ministry needs. Following are two different approaches to resolving this matter.


Risks of Planting New Churches by Rev. David McKellip who presents a heads-up look at the risks and joys of expanding the body of Christ through new church planting. In this examination of church building, McKellip bares his heart and expresses his personal vision to reach the unchurched. He carefully itemizes the underlying reasons why many new church starts fail. He calls for dedication and particular awareness of these pitfalls.


Tower of Siloam by Frank Ramirez. The attacks of September 11 require justice. The peace movement must play a strong role in continuing to discern between justice and vengeance, and insist that racial stereotypes and popular prejudices not be allowed to have their day. Brethren and Mennonites have historically recognized the place of civil authority in the form of police to maintain order in the divine scheme of things. To the extent that armed authority on the world or national stage is aimed directly at the perpetrators of crimes against the United States or humanity, Brethren and Mennonites may feel it is legitimate to support such actions.


Tracing the Source of Q by Frank Ramirez. This essay, to appear in Brethren Life and Thought, embarks on a rational examination of the source information behind the mysterious biblical “Q Document” which some would raise to Canonical status. Q is thought to be a collection of the sayings of Jesus that writers Matthew and Luke (but not Mark) may have used in their historical narratives.


Trained To Kill by retired Lt. Col. David Grossman. After last year's shootings in his hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Col. Grossman didn't know when or where the next shooting incident of school violence would occur, but he says he predicted it would involve more than just guns. His source: violent video games. "All the video games, with few exceptions, at their upper levels give you grenades, bombs, some instruments of destruction, Grossman, a retired army officer and nationally known expert on the psychology of killing, said: "All you've got to do is study what kids are being rewarded for".


Will There be Brethren in the Next Century?" by Galen Miller, offers an interesting challenge for members of our denomination if they not only want to survive well into the next century, but also offer a relevant message that will be cogent for the time. Miller explores recent ecclesiastical trends and educes what he believes is a necessary course for the Church of the Brethren, as they stand on the threshold of a new era.


General Board: Redesign & Steering

    In March of 1995 the General Board was given the news that significant budget shortfalls were expected for the foreseeable future. In wrestling with the implications of this news, the board discerned that the problem involved something deeper than finances. While the financial realities had brought our situation to our attention most forcefully, this deeper problem had more to do with vision and identity. The Board appointed a Vision Discernment Team and after receiving their report, established a Redesign Steering Committee. Over the past several months the committee has been working hard to sort out what can be done to restore momentum to the program and mission of the Church of the Brethren General Board. The committee has been listening to hundreds of people describe what is going on, what has happened in the past, and what their aspirations are for the church tomorrow. Here's what they found (submitted by chairman Christopher Bowman).

  Table of Contents
Chronology of Events
Redesign Steering Committee Members
Explanation of the Input Process
Survey 1: Summary of Responses
Survey 2: Summary of Responses
Survey 3: Summary of Responses
Rationale for Proposed Changes
Core Functions Statement
Cross Option Recommendation
Three Options for Staff Deployment
Report of Vision Discernment Team
Twenty Questions about the new design of the General Board



MODCOB Newsletter - 1997 Annual Conference

David Wine 1997 Annual Conference Moderator David Wine, president of Mutual Aid Association, a Church of the Brethren oriented insurance company located in Abilene, Kansas, is also the first moderator to take the COB onto the Internet. He uses e-mail, list servers, and this web site to augment his desire to reach as many people as possible, with news and information about Annual Conference. Get to know him by reading the following issues of his newsletter, The MODCOB (Moderator + Church of the Brethren). Included in these several issues are business items of the 1997 Annual Conference in Long Beach, California, redesign of the General Board, and information about how questions from districts and congregations are sent to the denominations highest ruling body.


  Issue One: Season of Change
Issue Two: A few minutes with the Moderator
Issue Three: Working together as a Community
Issue Four: Promoting Unity
Issue Five: ChurchShift
Issue Six: The Big Picture
Issue Seven: The Time is Now
Issue Eight: Long Beach - Here We Come



Special Publications

Between the Flood and the Rainbow , Vol. 4, Nos. 1&2 - September 1996.     Shantilal Bhagat, former director of Eco-Justice Concerns for the Church of the Brethren General Board. This is the first online publication of a newsletter by the General Board. Chapter titles include: Better Living Through Chemicals, Witches' Caldron, Dioxin, Deadly By-Product, Chlorine, News from the National Council of Churches, Health Effects Associated with Dioxin, Glossary, What You Can Do, Resources, Acknowledgements, About This Newsletter.


Open Door: A Publication of the General Board Office of Planned Giving

  Open Door: Vol 2, No. 1
Open Door: Vol 2, No. 2


Annual Conference Statements & General Board Resolutions:

  Abortion, Statement on
Affirmation of Faith and Purpose
Church, the State and Christian Citizenship
Congregational Structure
Biblical Creation
Deacon Ministry
Deaf Ministry, Statement on
Death Penalty, Statement on
Ethics for Congregations
Evangelistic Outreach in the 90's
Farm Crisis
Gambling, Statement on
General Board, New Design of
Human Sexuality From A Christian Perspective
Justice Reform
Ministerial Leadership Paper
New Testament as Our Rule of Faith and Practice
Peacemaking, Statement on
Religious Liberty at the 21St Century
Simple Living
War, Statement on
Women, Resolution on Equality for



Beliefs ~ Perspectives

Membership 101 Here is a place to explore the possibility of establishing your membership with the Church of the Brethren. You will learn about vows which you would be expected to affirm during a Baptismal or Reception service, and also the more distinctive beliefs and practices that uniquely accentuate the Church of the Brethren from other denominations.

Brethren Card The Church of the Brethren has historically resisted the theological confinement of creeds and narrow statements of faith; but in order to give non-Brethren a brief introduction to our beliefs and practices, this card was issued many years ago to list the essentials of our understanding of the New Testament.

Brethren Logo of our denomination is comprised of three elements which makes a distinct statement reflecting; our unity in Christ, our compassion for a world in spiritual darkness, our mission to serve others, our responsibility to teach and baptize, and our hope of reward for faithfulness.

Creeds and the Brethren by Frank Ramirez examines the basic reasons why Brethren have traditionally resisted the confinement of a creed by detailing historical moments and theological weaknesses that predictably lay in the pathway to the formation of creeds. Ramirez further gives treatment to the inherent problems of creedalism such as affirmation without investigation or different signposts for different believers on the spiritual journey of faith. Lastly, readers are effectually challenged to define their own approach to developing and defending a system of beliefs.

Pocket Gospel In Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans, he condenses the message of God's grace into just a few short verses. For that reason, some have called this passage the Pocket Gospel. You will be able to view humanity from God's perspective and learn how Jesus became the centerpiece of that plan of grace.

Plan of Redemption through Jesus Christ Understanding the grace of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of Christianity. Here is an overview of God's plan to redeem mankind to Himself through the exemplary life and vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ.

FAQS - Frequently Asked QuestionS Visitors frequently load our e-mail box with innocent, and often curious questions about the Church of the Brethren and what we believe or how we function as an organization. Read our responses to these inquires, and hopefully you will discover the answer to your question.

Timeline    of the Church of the Brethren tracing our development from a very small circle of eight Anabaptist and Pietist believers in Schwarzenau, Germany, until the present 1,100 congregations in 36 states with mission projects around the world. Discover many external religious events that significantly contributed to our formation. Included are many secular historical markers to help properly frame Brethren events in relation to world happenings.