A Brethren World Assembly, consisting of constituents and friends of the Brethren groups descended from the German Anabaptist/Radical Pietist religious leader Alexander Mack in the early 1700s, will be held in the Dayton, Ohio, area Thursday-Sunday, July 11-14, 2013.
The meetings will be hosted by the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, with evening worship services at Salem Church of the Brethren and Brookville Grace Brethren Church.
Utilizing 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.
A planning committee for the event has been meeting regularly and is being led by Robert Alley, immediate past moderator of the Church of the Brethren. Other groups participating in the event include the Brethren Church, the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, Conservative Grace Brethren Churches International, Dunkard Brethren Church, Old German Baptist Brethren Church, and Old German Baptist Brethren Church, New Conference.
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. 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. He said, “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 international guests from some of our Brethren bodies.”
Registration will open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 11, 2013, and the assembly will conclude with Sunday worship services at congregations of the various Brethren groups. Further details regarding lodging, registration costs, and specific 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 .