BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2011-01 > 1294935149
From: "Marshall Fox" <>
Subject: Re: [BRE] appropriate behavior and dress for visitors to an OldGerman Baptist Church
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2011 11:12:29 -0500
That is my same experience with the Old Order too.
----- Original Message -----
From: "NCripe" <>
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 6:49 PM
Subject: Re: [BRE] appropriate behavior and dress for visitors to an Old
German Baptist Church
> 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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|Re: [BRE] appropriate behavior and dress for visitors to an OldGerman Baptist Church by "Marshall Fox" <>|