The first day of the Brethren World Assembly ended this evening as Dr. Roger Peugh issued a call to prayer to those in attendance. Speaking at the Grace Brethren Church in Brookville, Ohio, to an audience of nearly 400 people representing different branches of the Brethren movement, Peugh recounted how James Gribble spent years in prayer before entering Oubangui-Chari, the African country now known as the Central African Republic. He also stressed that Jesus prayed, therefore we should pray.
The service ended as he encouraged the audience to pray in groups of two, three, or four. “If you get around the circle and everyone has prayed, then pray around the circle again,” he said. “There’s plenty to pray for!”
The service at the Brookville church included worship songs led by the worship team from the Brookville church. A group of young people from the Old German Baptist Brethren Church, New Conference, sang a number of songs acapella.
The assembly began earlier in the day with meetings at the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville. After welcomes from Larry Heisey, of the Brethren Heritage Center, and Robert Lehigh, of the Brethren Encyclopedia Board, which is sponsoring the event, three speakers examined Brethren spirituality. Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, examined “Brethren Spirituality in the 18th Century.” Dale Stoffer, professor of historical theology at Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary, looked at Brethren Spirituality in the 19th century. Bill Kostlevy, professor of history and political science at Tabor College in Kansas, spoke on “Brethren Spirituality in the 20th Century.”
Sessions continue tomorrow and Saturday at the Brethren Heritage Center and Salem Church of the Brethren in nearby Englewood. Grace Brethren speakers to take the platform on Friday include Dr. Jared Burkholder, assistant professor of history at Grace College, and Dr. Christy Hill, professor at Grace Theological Seminary. Serving on several panel discussions will be Dr. Jim Custer, Tom Julien, and Barb Wooler.
The assembly, held every five years, gathers representatives of the groups that trace their spiritual heritage to Alexander Mack.