There was a time when Brethren resisted the use of photography, much like their modern day cousins in faith - the Amish. “The earliest documented photograph of a member of the German Baptist Brethren was a daguerreotype taken in 1848 of Elder Jacob Fahrney of the Antietam (PA/MD) congregation. Elder Fahrney died in April of that year, and H.R. Holsinger reported that the stir caused in the congregation by the photo hastened Fahrney's death. At the 1849 Annual Meeting, the question of the propriety of taking ‘likenesses and profiles’ was raised. The answer was: ‘Considered not advisable’,” Brethren Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, K-Z, Photography, p. 1019. In later years, Brethren readily accepted photography but would still disapprove of its use during very solemn occasions. In order to better explain and understand these moments, some Brethren artists created extremely well made drawings or illustrations of the event. The Brethren Encyclopedia offers a delightful collection of Drawings that illustrate how these events were conducted. Most people, at one time or another, are unable to visualize certain things which are verbally or textually explained, but would more easily understand the concept with a drawing. How many times has the one explaining something requested the assistance of pen and paper to better explain it with a sketch? Without the benefit of a photograph, how does one properly explain “double-mode” and “single-mode” feet washing to a non-Brethren? How does one explain the demographics of Brethren population without a map? How does one spatially project the schisms of the Brethren without a chart? The Brethren Encyclopedia supplies a rich collection of drawings, illustrations, charts, and maps. We have opened Volume 2 to Ordinances on pages 978-79 which depicts four of the most solemn practices of Brethren spiritual life: Baptism, Love Feast, Anointing, and the Holy Kiss.

Illustrations of Brethren Practices

These illustrations pleasingly compliment a well researched article on Ordinances that employs the use of Scripture, history, practice, and theology to expound what some have described as the very core of the Brethren experience. The Schwarzenau Brethren were established in baptism by Trine Immersion (Latin, trinus, threefold), and this method has been our under-girded characterization ever since. We've been known as Dunkers and Dunkards because we Dunk or fully immerse our candidates for baptism. Our observance of Love Feast is unique among religious bodies, for we incorporate all the major parts of that Holy Night: the Meal, the Feet Washing, the Bread of Brokenness, and the Cup of Blessing. In recent years, Anointing has been making a comeback, especially among our youth, as more Brethren discover its spiritual emphasis on the wholeness of the person. Holy Kissing has been preserved in some congregations but has largely been replaced with enthusiastic handshaking in others. Drawings capture and explain these religious forms. They challenge and peak our interest. Brethren Encyclopedia is lavishly endowed with illustrations that enable us to teach and appreciate our heritage.

Maps provide a valuable tool for discovering historical relationships, genealogical possibilities, and statistical population studies. BE has many such illustrations. European Origins of the Brethren details the numerous Brethren enclaves and principal cities that had some influence in Brethren development. Colonial Settlements locates each of the early congregations and demonstrates patterns of travel. Migration charts have arrows showing the routes and probable traces Brethren followed during those early years of expansion into the South and West. There is a whole series of Population Density maps which show how Brethren of each body or group are dispersed across the United States, by state and county or parish. One final summary map shows a combined national perspective of all Brethren, displayed here in East and West sections.

World maps yield a rich understanding of Brethren involvement in mission work. Markers show where each of the Brethren bodies have deployed missionaries over the period from 1876 to 1980. Individual foreign maps offer a more extensive residence of Brethren commitment by town and city.

Educational institutions are also represented. You will discover a total of twenty-six facilities founded by Brethren, from post-high school to college, university, and seminary, including their former names when changes have occurred.

Additionally you will enjoy:


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Graphic reproductions, Copyright, BEI 1983, COB-NET 2003
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