A committee of the Global Church of the Brethren Communion has developed a survey of essential characteristics for a church to be considered Church of the Brethren. The committee is asking all interested Church of the Brethren members to respond. The survey is available in English, Spanish, Haitian Kreyol, and Portuguese.
The Global Church of the Brethren Communion is an organization of the 11 registered Church of the Brethren denominations in various countries around the world including the United States, India, Nigeria, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Spain, Venezuela, and the Great Lakes region of Africa—the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The survey names 19 characteristics that may be identified with the Church of the Brethren. The intent is to receive feedback from across the 11 denominations as to which characteristics are considered essential, important, or irrelevant.
This survey may lay the foundation for intentional ongoing dialogue among the worldwide Church of the Brethren bodies about theological and denominational identity, and may help strengthen ties between the sister churches.
Results will inform discussion about how to develop criteria for new churches to join the Global Church of the Brethren Communion in the future, as that organization fields many inquiries for affiliation.
The data also may provide information about areas for more emphasis in education of church members. For example, if a large majority of respondents say trine immersion is irrelevant to Church of the Brethren identity, what may that tell us?
The following characteristics of a church are included in the survey:
— identifying with the Radical Reformation,
— being a non-creedal New Testament church,
— practicing the universal priesthood of all believers,
— practicing community interpretation of the Bible,
— teaching and exercising freedom of thought,
— practicing voluntary association as an exercise of individual freedom,
— teaching and living the separation of church and state,
— being a pacifist church,
— teaching and exercising conscientious objection,
— being an agape church that observes the love feast,
— practicing baptism by trine immersion,
— anointing for healing,
— being non-sacramental,
— promoting a simple lifestyle,
— practicing loving service to neighbors and the needy,
— being a church in which fellowship supersedes the institution,
— being an inclusive church and “welcoming the different,”
— being an ecumenical church,
— working for the preservation of Creation.
Complete the survey by the end of April:
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