BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2000-01 > 0947974392
From: mills <>
Subject: Re: Elder Wentz
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 17:13:12 -0500
I find I know less than I thought about my Brethren ancestors, in fact I
may know nothing at all.
I grew up in a non-denominational Christian church that probably would have
been Brethren had not the big defection occurred. There is nothing in my
experience that replicates a table where the minister and deacons sit. Was
this just at what was considered the head of the room? Was it a raised
dais? How was it placed in relation to the seats (were they pews or
chairs?) used by the congregation? I seem to recall that men sat on one
side of the aisle and women on the other.
I thought one of the duties of a deacon was (a) to visit those who were
deemed by the church body to need some form of chastisement, or (2) to
bring to like mind or compromise those with disagreements. Was that a
later development? I formed that idea from reading Mississinewa minutes.
At 07:27 AM 01/15/2000 -0500, you wrote:
>>Elder is/was a title. I'm not exactly sure what it meant, but it was
>>used in the German Baptist Church.
>Elder is the highest of the three steps in early Brethren ministry. [It
>has been eliminated in the Church of the Brethren, although my father (95,
>at the Brethren Home, Greenville OH) is one of the last surviving Elders.]
>The original pattern was:
>after marriage (usually) a young man, who showed ability, could be called
>to be a Deacon. These had special responsibilities, including normally
>leading the singing, they sat at a bench across the table from the
>ministers, in front of the whole congregation.
>among the Deacons, some showed more ability and were "advanced" to the
>Ministry. These could preach, especially in the absence of an Elder, or
>when asked by an Elder to do so. It was important that the minister show
>true Christianity in his daily life, and that his family be in order (else
>how could he hold leadership in the church).
>from among the Ministers, some were "ordained" as Elders. These had the
>responsibility of the local church (the Elders Body) and represented it to
>Standing Committee and Annual Meeting.
>>From among the Elders, each year one was chosen to be the Presiding Elder,
>who was the single head official of the local church.
>You might want to read the paper I wrote on one of these early churches:
><www.cob-net.org/docs/brethrenlife.htm> under the Four Mile Church: the
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