Page 23 - Pictorial History of EUB Church by Glovier
P. 23

In 1801 came the beginning of an itinerant system, ten men consenting to
travel as directed by the bishops, instead of laying out circuits for themselves. Still
more method was introduced into the system by the conference of 1802. One
or two of the preachers would agree to serve as presiding elders. The action
taken in this matter was generally informal and usually unanimous.

Ever since the meeting at Kemp’s, there has been a regular and uninterrupted
succession of general conferences. Until 1810 there was but one annual
conference for the entire church. The first new conference was the Miami, set
off in that year. In 1829 the eastern, or original, conference was divided into
the Hagerstown and Harrisburg Conferences, the former including the Virginia
territory, and the. latter becoming the Pennsylvania Conference. The first
conference to be definitely known as a General Conference was held in June,
1815, in a log school house of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It
adopted a confession of faith, substantially the same as that of 1789, and
rules of discipline, based on those of Otterbein’s church in Baltimore. The
discipline was ordered to be printed, but only in German. However, the next
General Conference, that of 1817, ordered that 100 copies of the revised
discipline be printed in English. This book includes forms for the ceremony of
marriage and the ordination of bishops and ministers. The confession of
faith “rests on the Apostles’ Creed and the New Testament, and adds only those
necessary specifications in regard to the application and mission of the gospel
that even the simplest of the later creeds have been compelled to include. The
creed might be called a working creed for a revival people.”

In 1841 the confession of faith was revised and a constitution adopted.
These remained in force until 1889.

It had now been half a century since the meeting of Otterbein and Boehm
in Long’s Barn. The early fathers of the United Brethren had passed away.
Thirteen years more and the ministry had ceased to be exclusively local. The
pioneer period in the history of the church may therefore be considered to close
in 1830.

One of three leading fathers of the church, Otterbein was the skilled
theologian. He was eloquent and argumentative and his elucidation of
scriptural truth was exceptionally clear. Boehm was essentially an exhorter
and his appeal was to the feelings. Geeting was regarded by Henry Boehm
as the greatest orator among the United Brethren.

It is well for us to speak further of George Adam Geeting, whose name
in German tongue is spelled Guething. He came to America in his youth
and settled about 1759 on Antietam Creek near the present town of
Keedysville. In winter he taught school and in the warm
   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28