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

a “church” by Conference had much more to do with accepting the U.B. Book of Discipline (rules of
order) than whether the local congregation owned its own church house.

Organized churches continued, by Discipline, the activity of one or more classes comprising the

congregation. This was also urged at Conference. Indeed, in 1825 (Second Session), Conference
reported: “It shall be the duty of all the preachers to appoint class meetings at all regular appointments
and to urge attendance upon them.”

Churches Are Organized into a Charge. The primary obligation of the local U.B. congregation
was to accept the preacher (called the preacher-in-charge) appointed by the Conference and the authority
of the presiding elder of the district (what today is called a district superintendent), who presided over
the quarterly conferences of the churches assigned to each circuit. The preachers were “charged” with
leading the spiritual and other affairs of the congregations to which the preacher was appointed, and the
churches were called “appointments,” and the collection of all churches on the church was called a
“charge.” United Brethren took very seriously the disciplinary requirements of the faith, which included
explicit review of the moral and spiritual life of every member of every church of a charge, to include its
preacher-in-charge. Meetings of the leaders of the churches of a charge were typically held four times a
year and thus had the name “quarterly conference” (parallel to the “charge” conferences held today in
The United Methodist Church (UMC). Church leaders were designated as members of the quarterly
conference, and these included trustees, class leaders, class stewards, officers of the quarterly conference
(e.g., secretary, chair of finance), and, eventually, the Sunday school superintendents.

Accountability. Attendance was taken at each meeting of the Quarterly Conference. Following
the reports of the pastor and each leader, a vote was to be taken on whether the individual “passed” on
moral and spiritual grounds. Members not meeting the rules of the Discipline could be admonished or
expelled, and the pastor could be recommended to the Conference for similar discipline, including
expulsion. Reports of ad hoc committees appointed by the presiding elder to investigate complaints are
frequent in U.B. quarterly conference minutes.

Examination of every member of Annual Conference was also taken seriously: In 1825: “After
all the members present were examined, Conference inquired into the character of the following absent
brethren: W. Rhinehart, Christian Shopp, John Sewell (?), John Zahn, John Crack, Jacob Debolt, John
Hendricks, James Snyder, Abraham Hershey. Committee on complaints reported on Samuel Huber,
Jacob Wenger, and Christian Traub, and the report adopted. The cases of those brethren who are on trial
were taken up and a continuance on trial decided upon.” The Discipline was emphasized at the
Conference of 1826: “A roll of all the members of this Conference shall be kept, their names called at
every session, and their characters inquired into.” In 1829: “Richard Schekels expelled for bad

event also worth celebrating and recording in a church history. These events were important enough to be reported in
detail in Conference Minutes.

I.A.2 Brethren Confession of Faith 12
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