I noticed in Chambersburg there is a Dunkard Brethren church. They meet the first, third, and fourth (if I recall the sign correctly) Sunday. They're closer to me than my Meeting (an hour away as opposed to about 15 minutes), and I'm intrigued.  I'm plain and conservative (primitive?), but belong to a liberal Meeting. Nothing against my Meeting, mind, but I do feel kinship when I am here in Pennsylvania and encounter other Plain folk.  

I am feeling this need to be more Intentional (with a capital I) in my Quakerism. I'm not sure how to describe this.  For example, back in the day when Friends decided not to keep slaves (for example) it was a decision that had real implications in their lives. They had to do the work or pay the employee. Today I feel like I can be a Friend with my bumper sticker and it makes no real impact.  Do you see what I mean? I've taken a Friend's advice and have begun identifying myself as Quaker and that has made some difference. Of course I am modest in my dress and wear a cap and that's Intentional.  But I feel like I am not pushed enough -I am too comfortable?

And in this time of serious contemplation I see the sign for the Dunkard Brethren church on Lincoln Way. I don't know that it is a new sign or I've simply never noticed it, but it speaks to me.  I am not looking for a new belief, just a more like minded community I think.

Anyone have any experience with the Dunkards?

Paula

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Replies to This Discussion

Paula - I also know nothing of the Dunkards but I can fully relate to the yearning for a faith that requires sacrifices of me, that "forces" me to change, to be challenged, to examine my life and be stretched to the limit. (If I have understood you correctly?)

I am finding that daily Bible reading, daily silent time, keeping a journal, reading lots of old Quakers, all these are essential to keep me closely tuned in to how God does want me to be growing, sacrificing, changing, etc. It has been amazing the directions this has led me in and the growth that has occurred in areas of my life I never had planned to "renovate"! All this is to say that I think one key to feeling "intentional" is sticking close to your Guide and learning better how to listen to Him. He will show you how to be intentional, where to make changes, etc. rather than doing out of your own will. Does that make sense?

Maybe I am all off base here. But while it is hard and frustrating not to have a conservative Quaker community nearby for that support, Jesus is the actual support, and in fact the only one we need.


(I also am wondering how far Bird in Hand is. I assume you know about the Conservative Meeting there? OYM affiliated.)

Blessings to you, Barb

Hi, Jenna. 

I live on South Mountain in PA, just outside of Fairfield. I belong to the Frederick (Maryland) Monthly meeting.   Where are you located? Maybe we can visit the Dunkards together!  They're on Lincoln Way (Rt 30) close to Norlo Park if I recall.

Paula

Jenna Caruthers said:

Paula,

I have exactly no knowledge of Dunkards but instead am writing to ask where you're located. I'm about an hour from Chambersburg, myself, in Maryland, and similarly without Plain company.

 

--Jenna

Hi Barbara,

You understood me perfectly.  I yearn, as reckless as that sounds, for a challenge, some mark of intentionalism -is that a word?  I will take your advice on daily practice, but I do want the support of community too.

Bird in Hand is 2 hours from me I'm afraid.

Paula

Barbara Smith said:

Paula - I also know nothing of the Dunkards but I can fully relate to the yearning for a faith that requires sacrifices of me, that "forces" me to change, to be challenged, to examine my life and be stretched to the limit. (If I have understood you correctly?)

I am finding that daily Bible reading, daily silent time, keeping a journal, reading lots of old Quakers, all these are essential to keep me closely tuned in to how God does want me to be growing, sacrificing, changing, etc. It has been amazing the directions this has led me in and the growth that has occurred in areas of my life I never had planned to "renovate"! All this is to say that I think one key to feeling "intentional" is sticking close to your Guide and learning better how to listen to Him. He will show you how to be intentional, where to make changes, etc. rather than doing out of your own will. Does that make sense?

Maybe I am all off base here. But while it is hard and frustrating not to have a conservative Quaker community nearby for that support, Jesus is the actual support, and in fact the only one we need.


(I also am wondering how far Bird in Hand is. I assume you know about the Conservative Meeting there? OYM affiliated.)

Blessings to you, Barb

I have had contact with the Dunkard Brethren in Lititz, PA on back some years ago. Robert Lehigh was the contact person. You might try to reach him: http://www.biblehelps.us/contact.htm or phone (717) 632-0015 or maybe try http://www.dunkerjournal.com.

The Dunkard Brethren separated from the Church of the Brethren (before 1908, German Brethren or German Baptist Brethren) in 1926. The reason was over issues of modesty, holding older practices, &c. I know that the largest Dunkard Brethren congregation is in Lititz, PA with around 100 members the last I knew.

Unlike the other three tribes of Anabaptists (Amish, Hutterite, & Mennonite), Brethren stand aside in their Love Feast and also Trine immersion Baptism. They started in the village of Schwarzenau Germany in 1708 lead by Alexander Mack and seven other persons, and were baptised in the Eder River. Excommunicated Mennonites or those fleeing persecution, as the Brethren did, some embraced each other. By 1720 or so the group of 8 grew to 250 approximately. They did not loiter in the old country, but all of them migrated here by 1736 or so.

It wasn't until they were in the US did they divide and split. By the late 1800s there were many Brethren groups. Their are at least four groups of Brethren that use horse-drawn transportation. The most orthodox or strict of all the Brethren is in OH, with one congregation and about 60 members or so. They are very much like the Amish, no phones, no tractors, no electricity, and the like.

In Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Greencastle area in PA, there are Old Order River Brethren, Old German Baptist Brethren, and one dwindling horse-drawn Old Order River Brethren. I know one friend or acquaintance is Old Order River Brethren. These groups all vary. Usually they sit segregated: women on one side and men on the other side. I have lost the contact number to my acquaintance whom is O. O. River Brethren, but you might check with Robert Lehigh about the Dunkard Brethren.

This is about all I know of them. In VA the last Dunkard Brethren congregation closed its doors, due to all the members being aged and or deceased with only about 7—10 members left, tending to aged spouses. Franklin and Roanoke Counties in VA host Old German Baptist Brethren: Oak Hill, Mountain View, and Pigg River in and near Rocky Mount, VA Franklin County; and Peter's Creek, in Roanoke County, VA: four congregations and nearly 600 members total.

Try the contact information above out once. Robert is a nice one to talk to. He could help answer any of your questions. I don't know if this will help you or hinder. . .

Good luck to thee!

Timothy

Pretty cool, Jenna.

I know the people and remember the discussion.  Are Pipe Creek friends conservative?  I think it would be awesome to have someone to visit the Dunkards with. Let me get their information properly (from the sign) but lets aim for it!

Paula

Jenna Caruthers said:

Holy Frijole, Paula,

I live on Braddock just outside of Frederick. Do you know Lil (don't know her last name) at Frederick? She's mom to Brook and they live a few doors down from me. I only visited Frederick Monthly a couple of times many moons ago and they were at that time struggling (as far as I could gather) with the attendance of someone who had some sort of pedophile background, again, as far as I could surmise. It took me very much aback and I haven't been there since. Lil says I should give it another shot...but it being liberal isn't very motivating. I was actually thinking of visiting Pipe Creek Friends.

We should get together soon. I've long felt the need for a Plain meeting around here as the Conservative meetings are just out of reach. : ) I would also be fine with visiting the Dunkards with you.

 

Does this feel auspicious to you?

 

--Jenna
 
Paula Roberts said:

Hi, Jenna. 

I live on South Mountain in PA, just outside of Fairfield. I belong to the Frederick (Maryland) Monthly meeting.   Where are you located? Maybe we can visit the Dunkards together!  They're on Lincoln Way (Rt 30) close to Norlo Park if I recall.

Paula

Jenna Caruthers said:

Paula,

I have exactly no knowledge of Dunkards but instead am writing to ask where you're located. I'm about an hour from Chambersburg, myself, in Maryland, and similarly without Plain company.

 

--Jenna

Thank you for the information and the contacts, Timothy. I've run into some Old Order German Baptists her in Chambersburg at a local Mennonite food store so they're still around too.  I'll let you all know.

Paula

Timothy Bruffy said:

I have had contact with the Dunkard Brethren in Lititz, PA on back some years ago. Robert Lehigh was the contact person. You might try to reach him: http://www.biblehelps.us/contact.htm or phone (717) 632-0015 or maybe try http://www.dunkerjournal.com.

The Dunkard Brethren separated from the Church of the Brethren (before 1908, German Brethren or German Baptist Brethren) in 1926. The reason was over issues of modesty, holding older practices, &c. I know that the largest Dunkard Brethren congregation is in Lititz, PA with around 100 members the last I knew.

Unlike the other three tribes of Anabaptists (Amish, Hutterite, & Mennonite), Brethren stand aside in their Love Feast and also Trine immersion Baptism. They started in the village of Schwarzenau Germany in 1708 lead by Alexander Mack and seven other persons, and were baptised in the Eder River. Excommunicated Mennonites or those fleeing persecution, as the Brethren did, some embraced each other. By 1720 or so the group of 8 grew to 250 approximately. They did not loiter in the old country, but all of them migrated here by 1736 or so.

It wasn't until they were in the US did they divide and split. By the late 1800s there were many Brethren groups. Their are at least four groups of Brethren that use horse-drawn transportation. The most orthodox or strict of all the Brethren is in OH, with one congregation and about 60 members or so. They are very much like the Amish, no phones, no tractors, no electricity, and the like.

In Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Greencastle area in PA, there are Old Order River Brethren, Old German Baptist Brethren, and one dwindling horse-drawn Old Order River Brethren. I know one friend or acquaintance is Old Order River Brethren. These groups all vary. Usually they sit segregated: women on one side and men on the other side. I have lost the contact number to my acquaintance whom is O. O. River Brethren, but you might check with Robert Lehigh about the Dunkard Brethren.

This is about all I know of them. In VA the last Dunkard Brethren congregation closed its doors, due to all the members being aged and or deceased with only about 7—10 members left, tending to aged spouses. Franklin and Roanoke Counties in VA host Old German Baptist Brethren: Oak Hill, Mountain View, and Pigg River in and near Rocky Mount, VA Franklin County; and Peter's Creek, in Roanoke County, VA: four congregations and nearly 600 members total.

Try the contact information above out once. Robert is a nice one to talk to. He could help answer any of your questions. I don't know if this will help you or hinder. . .

Good luck to thee!

Timothy

Hello again, Paula!

When the Old German Baptist Church underwent schism a few years ago, some of its members joined the Dunkard Brethren. This infusion of new members gave the Dunkard Brethren a substantial boost.

I think that you and Jenna should visit their church, but could not say exactly what kind of reception you would get.

Tim is not quite correct in his description of the Old Order German Baptists at Covington OH. They are a small but thriving group, and are very successful in attracting their young people to their church. They use horse-and-buggy transportation, but farm with tractors and conventional farm machinery.

It is the Indiana group, Old Brethren German Baptists, who use horse-and-buggy transportation but also farm with horses. They are also a thriving fellowship, and have begun a new settlement at Trenton MO.

The moral of the story is that a very small religious community, if it is well led and spiritually vigorous, can not only survive but also thrive. The two German Baptist horse-and-buggy groups came close to dying out in the 1970s', but are alive and expanding in the 21st Century!

I think that you and Jenna would do well to start meeting together, perhaps for Bible study and historical exploration. Among other things, you could read and discuss an old minister's journal. I would not recommend John Woolman's journal; it is a bit tedious to read. I could recommend something if you wish. Many old ministers' journals are now available as reprints.
You could also visit the Old German Baptist Church-New Conference. They meet regularly in southern Pennsylvania. If you wish, I could get contact information for you.

There's a sign so I'll swing by and take down the contact information and give them a call.  

Paula

When I was pastor of West Elkton Friends Meeting in Preble County, OH, there was a German Baptist Brethren (Dunkard) church not far north of us.  There were also quite a few Church of the Brethren churches around; Church of the Brethren and German Baptist Brethren came from the same root stock and remained closely allied, although the Brethren were modernized and the Dunkards, not so much. There were both Old Order and modern Mennonites nearby, although that part of Preble County was mostly Dunkard (as far as plain people go; it was mostly Methodist if you look at the larger picture.) There were also Amish folks not far away, but none in Preble County.

The Preble County Dunkards wore the old clothing, which an outsider could not tell from the Amish. They lived very plain lives. Most were farmers, tradesmen, some merchants. However, they did drive cars and used modern machinery on their farms. The cars were not ostentatious. They were allowed to have electric appliances in their homes. One of the fellows I knew and liked the best was an electronics repairman among other things; he kept the toasters and microwaves and so forth going. 

Because this was at a time of my life when I dressed the most traditionally plain, I was interested in their practice as well. Being Quaker, I was made to feel most welcome. History in communities like that runs deep, where people know who their third and fourth cousins are, and the fact that we had all been plain peoples at one time and were still united in such items as the peace testimony counted for a great deal. I can't honestly say how much my practice of plain dress made me more welcome. It may have made me a joke for all I know, but if so then they were kindly enough never to let on.

I attended services there from time to time, once I got to know a number of them and did not feel like a tourist. The services were much more like the typical Protestant pattern, with  a program of singing, Bible reading, preaching, etc. We Friends can't expect anyone else to have adopted the unprogrammed or semi-programmed meeting format; that's one of our own peculiarities. The most outstanding service I was invited to was the Love Feast. This was their version of communion. Instead of a symbolic "meal" of stale bread or wafers and a sip of wine or grape juice, it was a full-blown meal. The pews were moved to the sides of the sanctuary and trestle tables set up. The meal itself was preceded by foot-washing, just as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples before the first Last Supper. Men washed men's feet, women washed women's. Still makes sense to me. I was not asked to take part in this, but neither were any of the younger members who had not yet been baptized. (They practiced adult baptism. You could be raised in the church, but you weren't a member until you decided to be baptized.) After this rather moving, very quiet ceremony, then the food was brought out and all of us on the sidelines invited to join in. When they call it a Love Feast, they are not kidding. It was loving and it was sure a feast. 

So, my experience was that a Quaker who was respectful and took time to get to know folks one on one was very much welcome among the Dunkards. I expect you would find the same kind of welcome. I hope this is useful to you in some way. I really enjoyed that kind of ecumenical friendship, where we celebrated the similarities and were interested in the differences. It was not hard to get to know them; they were members of my community, and I met them in fairly conventional ways, as we all went about our daily business, just as you might meet the Presbyterians or the Disciples of Christ folks. I'm not saying that you should wait until you already have some of those friendships before going to the church, as I did. Perhaps that is just my own shyness. :-)

Well I swung by the church and parked the car to give the sign a good read. It reads;

Chambersburg

Dunkard Brethren Church

Welcome

Sunday 9:30 am

1st Sunday 7 pm

2nd and 4th Wednesday 7:30 pm

I think I'll swing by tomorrow for the service and see how it is. I think the church they're meeting in used to be someone else's church. The sign is shiny new.

Paula

                     

Woops, won't be going this morning.  I have an M&C meeting at the rise of Meeting today.  Maybe I'll attend the Dunkards this evening or next Sunday.

Paula

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