Skip to Main Content

Denominations - Protestant

Short profiles of selected Christian denominations in the U.S.

About the Church of the Brethren

Date Founded:  1723

Membership/Number of Clergy:  120,041/1,816 as of 2010

Headquarters:  1451 Dundee Ave, Elgin, IL 60120

Schools & Seminaries:  Bridgewater College, Elizabethtown College, Juniata College, Manchester University, McPherson College, University of La Verne

Publications:  Messenger, Basin & Towel


Social Media:  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram

Core Beliefs: The Brethren follow four practices, or ordinances that express their beliefs in following Jesus: baptism, the love feast, foot washing, and anointing.  Brethren believe in full-immersion baptism, but they kneel in the baptistry and go forward three times rather than backwards as in other full-immersion churches.  the love feast, or communion, is practiced twice a year.  Foot washing is part of the love feast, and anointing with oil is done at the request of the member during a specific time of illness or hardship.

The Brethren are a "peace" church that works for non-violent solutions to conflicts and is opposed to war. Historically, Brethren, along with Mennonites and Quakers, have been persecuted for their anti-war stance and refusal to serve in the military.  The concept of peace today has expanded into a strong belief in social justice and the founding of many ministries in this area.

Short History:  Founded by German immigrants in Germantown, PA.  A three-way schism occurred in the early 1880s. The largest group after the split was the German Baptist Brethren who became the Church of the Brethren in 1908.

Local Churches:  The closest church to Louisville is Constance Church of the Brethren,
4760 River Road, Hebron, KY 41048 in northern KY.  Use the Find a Church function to locate other churches. 

Symbol of the Church of the Brethren

Church of the Brethren symbol