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21 HISTORY OF THE VA CONFERENCE, E.U.B. CHURCH—D.F. GLOVIER

CHAPTER 2

THE FORMATIVE STAGE OF THE CHURCH

The Church of the United Brethren in Christ is American in origin and
in government. It was born in the throes of our American Revolution and
was shaped in accord with the genius of our National Government. It is not
a split or splinter from some other denomination, but providential in its
origin.

The Pentecost and birth of the Church occurred at Isaac Long’s barn at
a great meeting near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1767. Rev. Martin Boehm,
a Mennonite, and Philip William Otterbein, a Reform, were present and
met at this meeting. Rev. Boehm was the Peter of the occasion. When the
sermon closed on a high tide of spiritual peace and power, Otterbein arose
and threw his arms about Boehm before he had time to resume his seat,
exclaiming “We are brethren.” Otterbein and Boehm became co-founders of
our denomination.

Thirty-three years intervened between the birth of the Church at Isaac
Long’s barn in 1767, and its official naming at the Annual Conference which
convened at the home of Peter Kemp, in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1800.

The salvation of souls was the all-absorbing passion of the early
preachers of the Church. While Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Jay
and Hamilton were laying the foundations of government, and building a
system of free institutions, our pioneer preachers were carrying civilization
in their saddle bags, and were engaged in righting the wrongs of their
country.

In the early conferences of the UNITED BRETHREN, business was
a very subordinate matter. There were no committees. Everything done was
done by the body as a whole. Circuits were laid out by the preachers
themselves and not by the conference. The preachers met for mutual
encouragement and spent nearly all the session in religious services. It is
therefore easy to account for the brevity of the minutes of these
conferences.

The conferences of 1789 and 1791 were in the nature of informal,
advisory meetings between two de facto bishops and the small band of
local preachers working under their direction. OTTERBEIN and
BOEHM acted .as Bishops, but there was no definite organization to
elect them to the office. The primary object of these two assemblages was
mutual advice and consultation. This fact
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