Provided to Newsline by Eric Miller, co-director of Global Mission
Every other month, leaders from the Church of the Brethren around the world meet to discuss issues facing the global church. In the most recent meeting, the group continued to discuss the meaning of being Brethren and watched a video produced by Marcos Inhauser, a leader of the church in Brazil.
“No other church is like this,” several noted. Ariel Rosario noted that no other church talks about peace or gives members so many opportunities to participate and even to vote.
Pastor Santos Terrero from Spain agreed, saying that there is a big difference in how Brethren pastors there work together. “Pastors from other churches are surprised at how we work,” he said. Inhauser noted how the Brethren has never been based on persons or theologians, and that not even the pastor is the authority. He recalled seeing well-known Brethren historian Dale Brown at one Annual Conference, “but there we were both equal–just members of the church.”
Pastor Bwambale Sedrack of Uganda also talked about how eager his new church is to be Brethren, and noted that many in Uganda think the Trine Immersion must make Brethren a cult, and that they work to explain the history and theology so that people understand and accept the practice.
Participants noted that the importance of being Brethren was because it is true to the Bible. Suely Inhauser of Brazil said that she sometimes talks to people who prefer a church for reasons such as they like the music, but those are not the most important thing about a church. Co-director of Global Mission, Eric Miller said, “My sense of the group’s focus is that the Brethren follow the biblical mandate as the Brethren have understood it: to be a priesthood of all believers, doing the work of Jesus together without falling back on a hierarchy or creed to replace reliance on the Holy Spirit.”
Pastor Terrero said, “We need more publicity about how different we are. We practice the teachings of Jesus. I am proud and blessed to be part of the Church of the Brethren.”
The video “The Essence of Being Brethren” is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv75sZ1YyOw.
— Eric Miller and Ruoxia Li serve as co-directors of Global Mission for the Church of the Brethren. They assist in convening meetings of the Church of the Brethren Global Communion that includes 11 registered denominations in the United States, India, Nigeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Spain, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda), and Venezuela.
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