Living peacefully, to the Brethren, means treating each person with the attentive, compassionate respect that all human beings deserve.
We find a deep sense of purpose in applying the teachings of Jesus Christ as our guide for moral values.
Whether worshiping, serving, learning, or celebrating, Brethren act in community. Together, we study the Bible to discern God's will; we make decisions as a group, and each person's voice matters.
The central emphasis of the Church of the Brethren is not a creed, but a commitment to follow Christ in simple obedience, to be faithful disciples in the modern world. As do most other Christians, the Brethren believe in God as Creator and loving Sustainer. We confess the Lordship of Christ, and we seek to be guided by the Holy Spirit in every aspect of life, thought, and mission.
We hold the New Testament as our guidebook for living, affirming with it the need for lifelong and faithful study of the Scriptures. Brethren believe that God has revealed an unfolding purpose for the human family and the universe through the Hebrew Scriptures (or Old Testament), and fully in the New Testament. We hold the New Testament as the record of the life, ministry, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of the beginnings of the life and thought of the Christian church.
As a demonination the Church of the Brethren traces its roots back 300 years to 1708. Eighteenth-century Europe was a time of strong governmental control of the church and low tolerance for religious diversity. Nevertheless, there were religious dissenters who lived their faith in spite of the threat of persecution. Some of these dissenters found refuge in the town of Schwarzenau, Germany. Among them was Alexander Mack, a miller who had been influenced by both Pietism and Anabaptism.
In August 1708 five men and three women gathered at the Eder River in Schwarzenau for baptism, an illegal act since all had been baptized as infants. They understood this baptism as an outward symbol of their new faith and as a commitment to living that faith in community. An anonymous member of the group first baptized Mack. He, in turn, baptized the other seven. This new group simply called themselves “brethren.”
Due to growing persecution and economic hardship, Brethren began emigrating to North America in 1719 under the leadership of Peter Becker. Most Brethren left Europe by 1740, including Mack, who brought a group over in 1729. The first congregation in the New World was organized at Germantown, Pa., in 1723. Soon after its formation, the Germantown congregation sent missionaries to rural areas around Philadelphia. These missionaries preached, baptized, and started new congregations.
Our Greensburg congregation was founded in 1911 to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of the greater Greensburg area. We receive new members by believer's baptism, by transfer of letter from another Christian church, and by reaffirmation of faith for those previously baptized. Those wishing to become members of our church will go through a membership course.
The Greensburg congregation is united with over 69 other congregations in Western Pennsylvania. We observe the Christian rites of Believer's Baptism; Love Feast and Communion; and Anointing for Healing.