300th Anniversary Celebration Takes Place This Week in Germany

“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008″

(July 29, 2008) — Hundreds of Brethren from around the world and representing Brethren bodies in 18 nations are expected to gather at the site of the first Brethren baptisms in Schwarzenau, Germany, on Aug. 2-3. A weekend of special events is planned as the 2008 Brethren World Assembly and the international 300th Anniversary Celebration of the Brethren movement, sponsored by the board of Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc.

Sunday Aug. 3 also is the day set aside for a denomination-wide celebration of the 300th Anniversary in the Church of the Brethren. Congregations across the country are invited to hold a special time of remembrance and celebration during worship this Sunday.

The schedule for events in Schwarzenau includes:

  • On Saturday, Aug. 2, opportunities for visits to the Alexander Mack Museum and the former Alexander Mack Schule (school) in Schwarzenau, and other places of interest; a Historical Craftsman Market offering an introduction to life at the time of the Schwarzenau Brethren in the early 1700s; pictorial lectures on the early Brethren offered by Brethren Benefit Trust staff Nevin Dulabaum at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; a hymn sing titled “Singing for Understanding Between the Nations” led by Karl-Heinz Wenzel at 3:30 p.m.; the unveiling of a plaque at the Eder River at 4:45 p.m.; a photo of participants in the Brethren Pension Plan at the river at 5:10 p.m. (approximately); and an evening concert by the McPherson (Kan.) College Choir, the Mannerchor Eintracht of Schwarzenau, the Frauenchor of Schwarzenau, and the Kammerchor Cantamus of Bad Berleberg at 7 p.m. Lunch and dinner will be served outdoors under a large tent, for a fee, with registration 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Gasthof Feige on Alexander Mack Strasse.
  • On Sunday, Aug. 3, worship at 10 a.m. in the Riding Hall with preachers Fredric G. Miller Jr. of Mount Olive (Va.) Brethren Church, and James Beckwith, 2008 moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference; lunch served outdoors under the tent, for a fee; the Anniversary Program 2 p.m. in Riding Hall with keynote speaker Marcus Meier, a German academic authority on the early history of the Brethren and other Anabaptists and Pietists, and author of a new book to be published this year titled “The Origin of the Schwarzenau Brethren”; and a concluding gathering at the river at 4:30 p.m.

In addition, a Peace Fest will be held in Marburg, Germany, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 1. It is sponsored by Brethren Volunteer Service and EIRENE, a German volunteer program that partners with BVS, as well as other Brethren programs and partners in Europe. The fest will be at Lutheran Pfarrkirche St. Marien. The schedule begins with displays by peace organizations. A program will follow, including presentations from Ken Kreider, author of “A Cup of Cold Water: The Story of Brethren Service”; Ken Rogers speaking on the International Cultural Youth Exchange and Brethren Colleges Abroad; Kristin Flory and Dale Ott speaking about BVS in Europe from the 1960s on; Marie-Noelle von der Recke presenting Church and Peace, a group of faith communities committed to nonviolent discipleship; Angela Koenig presenting EIRENE International Christian Service for Peace, which is celebrating 50 years of peace work; Wolfgang Krauss speaking from the German Mennonite Peace Committee; and a presentation of a Marburg Peace Initiative.

For more information about the Aug. 2-3 events in Schwarzenau, contact US coordinator Dale V. Ulrich at daulrich@comcast.net or 540-828-6548. For more information about the Peace Fest in Marburg, contact Myrna Frantz at myrnajef@heartofiowa.net or 641-475-3463.


The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. Submit news to the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247

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