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.
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.
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
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
204 years ago (in 2019), a young man from Germany made his way to the United States. He was small of stature (indeed, his surname means “short” in German), and reportedly had a hump in his back. He was not a callus-handed farmer or a broad-shouldered laborer, but a classically educated school teacher. Like many
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
On March 13, 1958, Nathan Leopold was paroled from Statesville Penitentiary in Illinois into volunteer service work with the Brethren Service Commission in Castaner, Puerto Rico. He had formerly been imprisoned thirty-three years for his involvement in the 1924 murder of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks.
After the mistreatment of conscientious objectors by the military and government in World War I, peace groups such as the Mennonites, Society of Friends, and Church of the Brethren discussed the creation of a program that would exempt them from a future draft. Civilian Public Service was formed in 1940 as an alternative noncombatant way for conscientious objectors to serve the United States during World War II. Programs sponsored by CPS included work in agricultural service, mental hospital service, and numerous other projects supported both by the state and privately. The Brethren portion of the program was overseen by Brethren Service Committee.
Johannes Naas was born in the province of Westphalia, Germany around 1670. His defining feature was his height—he had a broad frame and stood a head taller than an average man1. Naas joined the Brethren congregation at Marienborn, where he served as a minister until persecution drove the Brethren to seek refuge in Krefeld2. In order to further spread the Brethren faith, Naas travelled the surrounding provinces with Jacob Preisz (Price)3. Abraham Cassel highlighted the incident that has become legend in his biography of Johann Naas. The story was later reiterated in the children’s book, The Tall Man.
Unlike many women of her time, Harriet Livermore was born into a wealthy middle-class family with access to higher education. She never settled into a single denomination, but instead focused on the task to “restore the apostolic simplicity of the primitive church.” She followed no creed except what she deemed as “biblical truths” taken from the New Testament. 2 She was permitted to give sermons in many Protestant congregations during the 19th century, including meetinghouses of the Church of the Brethren where she established relationships with notable Brethren figures, such as Sarah Righter Major and Abraham Harley Cassel.