River Brethren

Also found in: Wikipedia.

River 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. Their religious leaders, Jacob and John Engle, became associated with the revival, and their followers came to be known as the River Brethren, possibly because they were baptized in the Susquehanna upon joining the brotherhood. Several factions of the River Brethren withdrew in the mid-19th cent., including the Yorker Brethren and the United Zion Church, while the main body took the name Brethren in Christ, by which a group of Mennonites is also known. The Brethren practice trine (triple, in allusion to the Trinity) immersion and foot washing, adhere to plain dress, and oppose war, alcohol, tobacco, and worldly pleasures. There were about 11,000 members in the United States and Canada in 1992. They carry out missionary work in Asia and Africa.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
References in periodicals archive ?
This includes religious groups like the Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites, Brethren-in-Christ, German Baptist Brethren, River Brethren, and many others.
On Thursday evening, attendees will have a rare opportunity to hear authentic performances of music by seven distinct Anabaptist groups, including Old Order Amish and Old Order River Brethren. Buses will depart the Vine Street exit of the Convention Center at 6:00 pm.
While living in Lancaster County, Scott joined the Old Order River Brethren and eventually met and married his wife of 38 years, Harriet (Sauder) Scott.
There are several different denominations - Amish, Mennonites and River Brethren the three most common.
Unlike many of the Amish, Jack (who's River Brethren) doesn't mind posing for photos.
In "River Brethren Breadmaking Ritual," Margaret C.
BRONNER'S FOREWORD, this book is significant in two ways: it "represents the first analytical field study of the Old Order River Brethren," a group distinguished from other old order religious groups (Amish and Old Order Mennonites) by its acceptance of some forms of technology despite its plain dress, and it is also "one of the few available studies of Anabaptist women" (ix).
In his Foreword, Bronner explains that, distinguishing between Reynolds's "historical narrative and her ethnographic observations and interviews," he used "different narrative 'voices'": past tense for events before her observations of the River Brethren, present tense for her fieldwork observations, scholarly authorities, and testimonies of the River Brethren (xi).
In the Introduction, Reynolds, writing in first person, explains the origin and development of the research project that culminated in this book, "a study of Old Order River Brethren women and the ways in which women's traditions [not only reflect values of the group but also] preserve the community" (2).
Following the introduction is a background chapter: "'Be Ye Separate': The History, Religion, and Society of the Old Order River Brethren." Here Reynolds discusses the origins of this group in Anabaptism and Pietism.
In the first section, "Coverings for the Body: The Symbolism of Plain Women's Dress," Reynolds explains that plain dress is designed to keep the group separate "from the world" and is, in fact, for the Old Order River Brethren, unlike the Amish and the Old Order Mennonites, "the only readily observable sign" of that separation (61-62).
The author investigates the unique traditions and ritual practices of Old Order River Brethren, an under-studied Anabaptist group that resides in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.