The Grace Brethren Church in Brookville, Ohio, will be one of two sites where Brethren from around the world will gather to worship in mid-July next year during the Brethren World Assembly. Evening wor- ship services will also be held at the Salem Church of the Brethren.
The services are part of a gathering of constituents and friends of the Brethren groups descended from the German Anabaptist/Radical Pietist religious leader Alexander Mack in the early 1700s. Hosted by the Brethren Heritage Center, the event will be held in Brookville, Ohio, Thursday through Sunday, July 11-14, 2013.
Following the theme “Brethren Spirituality: How Brethren Conceive of and Practice the Spiritual Life,” the program will include daily plenary addresses, workshops, and panel discussions on such topics as “Brethren Hymnody,” “Separation from the World and Engagement with the World,” “Brethren Devotional Literature and Poetry,” and more. Friday and Saturday afternoon tours will be offered to historic Brethren sites in the proximity of Brookville and southern Ohio.
The planning committee for the event is led by the Rev. Robert Alley, immediate past moderator of the Church of the Brethren. Other participating groups include The Brethren Church, The Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), Conservative Grace Brethren Churches International, Dunkard Brethren Church, Old German Baptist Brethren Church and Old German Baptist Brethren Church, New Conference. Tom Julien, executive director emeritus at Encompass World Partners is representing the FGBC on the committee.
According to Alley, the purpose of the gathering is to provide an opportunity for all who value the Brethren heritage to join together in conversation around a common theme. “We would seek to balance study and worship, to enhance dialogue among our Brethren bodies, and to acquaint Brethren with their historic roots. Hopefully, there will be inter- national guests from some of our Brethren bodies,” he said.
The Brethren movement had its origin in Schwarzenau, Germany, in late summer of 1708 when reformer Alexander Mack and seven others participated in believer’s baptism in the Eder River.
Further details regarding lodging, registration costs, and spe- cific program details will be released as the event draws closer. Updates will be available through www.brethrenencyclopedia.org and through the Brethren Heritage Center at www.brethrenheritagecenter.org.