BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2011-01 > 1295013307
From: "Shuman, Lois A" <>
Subject: Re: [BRE] appropriate behavior and dress for visitors to an OldGerman Baptist Church
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 13:55:07 +0000
A small word of caution - I would not count on the women sitting on the left side of the meeting house at EVERY congregation. At my congregation (Beech Grove, Indiana), the women sit on the right side. It depends on several factors and can vary from one meeting house to another, often based nearest the baby room. I can think of about half where the women sit on the right side. (smile) For the meeting house you mentioned, I *think* I remember the women sitting on the left, but it's been a few years since I attended services at that congregation.
Lois Shuman, OGBB member
From: Iris Wilde [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2011 11:00 PM
Subject: Re: [BRE] appropriate behavior and dress for visitors to an Old German Baptist Church
It will be spring or summer before I can attend. However, I will post about
this experience. It looks like you and I have a lot of the same relatives. I
sure appreciate all you have posted. This really helps me. My Best, Iris
Daughter of Ira D. Cripe
On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 5:49 PM, NCripe <> 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
> 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 they
> 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 be
> 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 "Shuman, Lois A" <>|