Archiver > BRETHREN > 2011-01 > 1294879879

From: Robert Little <>
Subject: Re: [BRE] appropriate behavior and dress for visitors to an OldGerman Baptist Church
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 16:51:19 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <441582193.374736.1294879464224.JavaMail.root@vznit170070>

As a Non-Brethren I am also thankful for the info. as I one day intend to visit myself.


--- On Wed, 1/12/11, Diane <> wrote:

From: Diane <>
Subject: Re: [BRE] appropriate behavior and dress for visitors to an Old German Baptist Church
Date: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 7:44 PM

   it helps me very much. This Dunkard descendant is now plain dress covered
   Quaker, and was curious
   how they would handle seeing me show up in their church.  Thankfully, you
   have answered my
   questions so I would be more comfortable visiting.
   Diane K.
   Jan 12, 2011 11:51:08 PM, wrote:

     Now that it is clear to me that it is an Old German Baptist Church you're
     wanting to visit, I'll give you my input, based on having grown up German
     Baptist. Some of what respondants so far have said is valid, but as a
     visitor and a non-member of the church (a "worldly" person as they see
     it), you have far more leeway in how you dress than what some people
     think. Head coverings are not expected of outsiders--they are considered
     part of the "uniform" of the church and as such, a symbol of belonging to
     it. Unless you belong to another congregation that wears head coverings
     and this is what you usually wear in church, it seem artificial for you to
     wear one.
     The main guideline: simply dress conservatively. A modest dress or skirt.
     Below the knees isn't necessary, but near the knees would be good. Don't
     wear sleeveless or a low neckline.
     Seating is pretty strictly gender-segregated. The only exception to this
     is if you are with a male visitor(s). Then it is okay for males and
     females to sit together towards the back of the men's section.
     If you go alone or with another female, you should enter the left side of
     the church to sit with the women (as far as I have ever known, females
     ALWAYS sit on the left ). Sit up a few rows (say five or six) from the
     back, in the middle section of the pews. If you sit all the way at the
     back, you'll find yourself in the "young folks" section (14-20 or so year
     olds), where plenty of adolescent, restless behavior goes on. If you sit
     to the far lefthand side, you'll likely be surrounded by young mothers
     with babies and toddlers who may need to get up to visit the baby room.
     The best thing to do, actually, is to arrive a half hour or more early and
     introduce yourself to a friendly female face as a visitor. Ask them where
     it would be best for you to sit and if there is an extra hymn book you
     could use during the service. (They don't typically stow them in/on the
     pews (benches) like they do in mainstream churches, though they are likely
     to have extras stashed somewhere that they'll be delighted to lend you).
     Bible readings will be from the King James version, so bring along a KJ
     Visitors are always very welcome at regular Sunday services, and as long
     as you aren't dressed in sexually revealing clothing, how you are dressed
     isn't that important. Modest and unshowy is the name of the game.
     There will be kneel-on-the-floor prayers that go on a long time. A long
     individualized prayer first, followed by the Lord's Prayer--both early in
     the  service  and  towards the end. As a visitor/non-member you are
     absolutely not obligated to get down on the floor. Simply bowing your head
     is perfectly appropriate.
     Hymns are "lined." Even though everyone has the words written in the hymn
     book in front of them, they still adhere to the tradition of times when
     illiteracy was more common and/or people didn't have access to a hymn
     book. Each stanza is recited aloud by a deacon, then one of the deacons
     will begin the singing (often there are multiple melodies possible for any
     given hymn, and the hymn book has no musical notation, so deacons get to
     decide which tune to use) and then the congregation joins in. That stanza
     ends, the next is recited, and then the singing resumes. All the way
     through, every hymn that way (part of the reason these services go on for
     two hours!).
     The typical Sunday morning service goes like this: a reading from the Old
     Testament, followed by singing, followed by 20-30 minutes of "opening"
     remarks preaching by one minister, followed by a 1st set of prayers, then
     another hymn, then a New Testament reading (named by the preacher who will
     take the main sermon duties that day), then another hymn, then nearly an
     hour of preaching based on that reading, then more prayers, then a hymn (I
     think), then 15 minutes or so of closing remarks made by a third preacher.
     Then a final hymn before dismissal. It's been about 30 years since I've
     sat through a GB service, so I may not be remembering exactly the order of
     when the hymns come in, but I think I've got it about right.
     Hope this is helpful!
     By the way, the beard is encouraged but not obligatory for GB men. The
     tendancy is for more conservative men to wear them and more liberal ones
     to not. This often correlates with younger men being unbearded and older
     bearded, but not necessarily. Beard-wearing is unrelated to marriage
     status, at least in my lifetime. I've known single men GB men with beards
     and plenty of married ones without. Sometimes men go years without one and
     then grow one, but never vice versa. The only men who are definitely, as
     far as I know without exception expected to wear a beard are preachers. If
     you get elected to the ministry and you are unbearded, you grow one!
     There is some correlation between perceived piety and beard-wearing, a bit
     like  the  perception  of  greater  piety  in  a woman if she wears
     smaller-print, dark-color fabrics, dark stockings, dress length far below
     the knees, flat, black shoes, and doesn't poof her hair up in front.
     Hope this is helpful!
     Nancy Cripe [descendant of Daniel Cripe, John Perry Cripe, Henry Cripe,
     Jacob  Cripe, Daniel Cripe, Jr.; Daniel Gripe, Sr., Jacob Greib (my
     -----Original Message-----
     From: brethren-request
     To: brethren
     Sent: Wed, Jan 12, 2011 3:54 pm
     Subject: BRETHREN Digest, Vol 6, Issue 9
     essage: 1
     ate: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 13:01:26 -0600
     rom: Iris Wilde
     ubject: Re: [BRE] Gospel Messenger Offering - 1889
     o: Bob Harter ,
     ontent-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
     This really helped me! I will wear a regular over the knees dress for the
     ervice. The men at this church wear black hats and wear beards to show
     re married, I understand. I don't remember, however, my cousin ever having
     beard. My Uncle had a wonderful white beard. The women wore little caps on
     heir head and dresses. They set on opposite sides of the church. It will
     nteresting to see what the service is like now if it's ok that I attend.
     'll give it a try. Thanks so much for the information, Iris, Daughter of
     ra D. Cripe
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