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Brethren,German Baptist religious group. They were popularly known as Dunkards, Dunkers, or Tunkers, from the German for "to dip," referring to their method of baptizing. The Brethren evolved from the Pietist movement in Germany. The first congregation was organized there in 1708 by Alexander Mack. Persecution drove them to America where, under Peter Becker, they settled (1719) in Germantown, Pa. From that and other settlements in Pennsylvania they spread westward and into Canada. The Brethren oppose war and advocate temperance, the simple life, plain dress, and "obedience to Christ rather than obedience to creeds and cults." The original group, at present the largest in the United States, is the Church of the Brethren (Conservative Dunkers); the local churches are united by an annual conference that elects a general board to supervise the national church program. From the Church of the Brethren there have been separations into the Seventh-Day Baptists, German Baptists (1728; see Beissel, Johann ConradBeissel, Johann Conrad
, 1690–1768, founder of the Seventh-Day Baptist community at Ephrata, Pa. Emigrating (1720) from Germany, he settled first with the German Baptists, or Dunkards, in Germantown, Pa.
..... Click the link for more information. ); Church of God (New Dunkards, 1848); Old German Baptist Brethren (1881); and the Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkers, 1882). The Brethren baptize by trine immersion, the candidate being immersed once for each member of the Trinity. They practice foot washing and the love feast.
See also River BrethrenRiver Brethren,
name used to designate certain Christian bodies originating in 1770, during a revival movement among German settlers in E Pennsylvania. In the 1750s, Mennonite refugees from Switzerland had established their homes near the Susquehanna River.
..... Click the link for more information. (for Brethren in Christ, River Brethren, and Yorker Brethren); ChristadelphiansChristadelphians
[Gr.,=brothers of Christ], small religious denomination founded in the United States in 1848 by John Thomas. Its members live by the Scriptures and await the second coming of Jesus on earth, who, they believe, will establish a theocracy with its center in
..... Click the link for more information. (for Brethren of Christ); Hutterian BrethrenHutterian Brethren
, a body of Christians practicing strict communism based on religious principles. The Brethren are descendants of those Moravian Anabaptists who were followers of Jacob Hutter, a minister from the Tyrol who was burned at the stake in 1536. In the 17th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Moravian ChurchMoravian Church,
Renewed Church of the Brethren,
or Unitas Fratrum
, an evangelical Christian communion whose adherents are sometimes called United Brethren or Herrnhuters.
..... Click the link for more information. .