Page 25 - History of UB Church in Hburg Region
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History of U.B. Churches in Harrisonburg-Staunton Region December 26, 2013

end of which time, their license may be renewed at a great meeting.’” Eventually, this kind of local
license was called the Quarterly Conference License to Preach the Gospel.

Preaching Appointments. The places where U.B. preaching and worship occurred could have
been any location with sufficient room for those who attended. Before establishment of a house of
worship, these place included barns, mills, stores, school houses, and other places of public
accommodation, as well as private homes. Places visited frequently were called preaching
appointments. Local preachers might preach at one of these places once or twice a month. Itinerant
preachers were more likely to visit once every two to three months, and elders among them just once or
twice a year. Thus, Conference adopted the following policy in 1810: “The elder preachers required to
visit all the appointments, in all the fields of labor, twice during the year, if at all possible.” Every
preaching appointment was expected to contribute regularly to the salary of the preacher. In 1810
“salary of an unmarried preacher [was] fixed at $80 [per year]” and in 1812 “salary for a married
preacher fixed at $160.”

Preaching Appointments Become Classes. Not all preaching appointments were organized as
churches. Often, when a preacher of any denomination was known to be coming to town, Christians
(and others) of many faiths gathered to worship, hear the preaching, socialize, and perhaps share a
common meal. A local leader convicted in the U.B. tradition might eventually gather 6 to 10 individuals
(one or more families) together and form a U.B. class. An organized class elected a class leader and a
class steward to manage its spiritual and fiscal affairs. The class leader would arrange for preaching as
often as possible, and members of the class would give a message when no preacher was available.
Often the class leader became the default preacher. Classes had membership, kept rolls, watched out for
each other’s and community needs, and kept each other accountable for promises they made in class
(e.g., visitation, prayer, financial support).

Classes Organize As Churches. In many cases, these classes grew to the extent that organization
as a church was determined to be necessary, often driven by a perceived need to set aside a specific
place at which to meet. Some classes would arrange with local authorities to regularly meet for specific
time periods at a school house or with a business owner to meet more or less exclusively for a certain
time at a store, barn, or mill. Some classes would arrange with similar groups of Methodists, Moravians,
Church of the Brethren, Reformed, or other faiths to build a “union” church and to designate time
periods for its use by each participating fellowship. Some classes would plan to build a church house
dedicated primarily or exclusively for use by United Brethren and save toward that end.9 Designation as

9 The church might arrange to use or buy a lot, and building materials might be accumulated on the lot for some months
(or years). Title to the lot might only be formalized many years after the church house was built. Laying the cornerstone
was an important event, signifying a determination to complete a church house. Sometimes a church house might be
occupied for worship before the building was complete (there are cases of the congregation worshipping in the lowest
level as another level was being built above). Sometimes the presiding elder or bishop would dedicate the church for
worship of God before the outstanding building loans had been paid, with a plea at the dedication ceremony for cash and
subscriptions (promises to pay) to cover the outstanding bills. Becoming debt free or paying off a mortgage was an

I.A.2 Brethren Confession of Faith 11
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