Plain, but not Simple: Plain Dress and the Church of the Brethren

The tradition of plain dress is meant to intentionally separate from mainstream culture, emphasize commitment to the church and religious principles, and stress humility and honestly as virtues. A handful of religious movements in the United States require plain clothing as an indication of fellowship. The most notable groups are the Mennonites, Amish, Quakers, Hutterites, and Old Order Brethren—with accepted styles varying between each sect.

The Mystery of Ven Pak Studebaker (1945-1971)

After the publication of the last Hidden Gems post on Ted Studebaker, and the accompanying article in eBrethren, the inboxes at the General Offices quickly become inundated with variations of the same question: “What happened to Ven Pak Studebaker?” This is her story.

Ted Studebaker (1945-1971)

It may be unfair to say Ted Studebaker is a “hidden gem.” In the Church of the Brethren, anyway, he is a something of a legend. At the time of his death, Ted’s story even warranted a spot on the ABC news. He was anything but unknown. Still, as time passes and the wars of the last century become more and more distant in the cultural memory, it seems important to revisit the service of a man whose philosophy seems more relevant than ever in our conflict-ridden world.

Rosa Page Welch

By Haley Steinhilber, archival intern “I enjoy loving the hate out of people.” Rosa Page Welch1 Born into a family of Mississippi sharecroppers in 1900, Rosa Page Welch grew up immersed in the Christian faith. Her love of music was inspired by her father, who was a talented violinist and tenor in Claiborne County.2 She attended

Photograph of Charles Schulz

Recently, the BHLA received several boxes of records from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, MD. A large portion of these records originated with the now defunct Brethren Service Center in Modesto, CA. Among the usual photographs of the center and its activities lay one of Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip Peanuts.

Ralph Smeltzer and His Work in Selma

By Maddie McKeever Ralph Smeltzer was a member of the Church of the Brethren who worked under the Brethren Service Committee (later, Brethren Service Commission) in a variety of jobs from about 1944 – 1968. In addition, Smeltzer oversaw Brethren Service in Austria post World War II and worked within different capacities for the National

Kermit Eby, the Church of the Brethren, and Politics

Politics and political involvement has, at times, presented various issues and challenges to the Church of the Brethren. How involved could a Brethren become in the political process while remain true to their faith? If the government used force and fought wars, should the Brethren hold any governmental office or even vote? The answers to this question have changed over time from the beginning of the Brethren to the present day.

W. Harold Row: Servant and Bridgebuilder

Those who have grown up within the Church of the Brethren may recall the name M. R. Zigler. He was a man who served as the first executive secretary of the Brethren Service Committee and a Brethren leader who helped to found Civilian Public Service during World War II. Another prominent individual, although perhaps lesser-known today, was Rev. W. Harold Row – a Church of the Brethren pastor in Virginia and Pennsylvania, denominational leader, and, along with Zigler, something of a Brethren pioneer in ecumenical, service-oriented relationships.

Honoring CPS and Heifer Project Work in Puerto Rico

By Maddie McKeever This summer will mark the 75th anniversary of the first Heifer Project shipment to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Heifer Project was founded by Church of the Brethren member Dan West. After he had served overseas helping with relief work in Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1937-38), West realized that shipping dairy

Sinking of the ZamZam

The date was March 27, 1941, eight months before the USA entered World War Two. The ZamZam was a rickety Egyptian freighter, sailing from New York bound for Alexandria by way of the Cape of Good Hope. On board were ambitious tobacco buyers, refugees from bomb-torn England, 136 missionaries and family members from 19 different faiths, a couple of dozen irreverent and high-spirited ambulance drivers, at least one noted scientist, and a motley multi-ethnic crew. The ZamZam took a zigzag course, running quietly so as to avoid running into any German commerce raiders.