Page 20 - History of UB Church by A. Funkhouser Ver 1
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Our narrative now brings us to the memorable meeting between Otterbein and Boehm. It took
place in the large barn of Isaac Long in Lancaster county in Pennsylvania. There were more people
present than could get into the huge structure. Those who crowded into the barn were addressed
by Boehm. An overflow meeting in the orchard was conducted by one or more of the "Virginia
preachers" who were present. The New Light followers of White-field in the Valley of Virginia were
known as the "Virginia preachers." The meeting took place on Whitsunday, and the year is believed
to have been 1768. Otterbein had left the city of Lancaster and was preaching on the Tulpehocken.
Boehm had not yet been disfellowshiped by the Mennonites. The crowd at Long's was made up of
Germans and the preaching was in the German language. Perhaps all the distinctively German
sects then known in America were represented at this meeting. In what way Otterbein came to be
here is not known. There was little in common between the Reformed and the Mennonite churches,
and there was a great lack of cordiality in the relations between them. But Otterbein sat on the
platform near Boehm and listened to that minister with warmhearted appreciation. At the close of
the sermon he clasped Boehm in his arms with the significant exclamation: "We are brethren."

From this time forward, these two men, dissimilar in training and education, were united in the firm

bonds of religious fellowship. Early tradition has it that at the close of this meeting Otterbein,
Boehm, and the Virginia preachers entered into a form of union on some simple yet definite
conditions. Even the official name of the United Brethren in Christ is believed to date from the
exclamation by Otterbein.

In fellowship with the leaders of such meetings as this, Otterbein found what he desired. The
leaders were at first regular authorized ministers of various Protestant sects. But in evangelical
spirit they stood on common ground. Thus came into being the ministerial intimacy between the
scholarly Otterbein and the comparatively unlettered farmer-preachers, Boehm and Newcomer.
Another associate was Guething, a Reformed minister, yet with only enough education to teach a
country school.

However, Otterbein was not without other congenial spirits in his own church. Hendel, Wagner,
Hautz, Henop, and Weimer were brother ministers who agreed with him as to methods. Adopting
the system of Spener, they formed in the spring of 1774 the society known as "The United
Ministers." They formed classes within their own congregations and congregations that were
without pastors. General meetings were held twice a year, "that those thus united may encourage
one another, pray and sing in unison, and watch over one another's conduct. All those who are thus
united are to take heed that no disturbances occur among them, and that the affairs of the
congregations be conducted and managed in an orderly manner." But the war for American
Independence seems to have worked a suspension of these efforts.

We have remarked that it was an independent congregation of the Reformed Church to which
Otterbein was called in 1774. It had had a pastor whose ministrations were very formal and whose
life was inconsistent. The evangelical minority seceded in 1771, called Benedict Swope as their
pastor, bought a lot, and built a frame house, succeeded in 1786 by the historic brick church now

standing on the spot. The title to the property was not vested in the Reformed Church at all, but in

chosen members of the congregation. After a long drawn out law suit the validity of the title was
upheld. The authorities of the Reformed Church tried without success to bring about a
reconciliation. In 1774 Otterbein, who was already no stranger in Baltimore, was called. This
independent body styled itself an "Evangelical Reformed" church, and was not definitely received
into the United Brethren fold until 1817. It did not acknowledge the authority of the Reformed
synod, nor was it disowned by that body. But in theology Otterbein's church was Arminian, while
the Reformed Church upheld Calvinism. The class-meeting adopted as a feature of the Baltimore
church, was unknown to the Reformed Church. The congregation adopted its own rules of
government.

In substance these rules were as follows: Each member was to attend faithfully at all times of
worship, and to perform no business or needless travel on Sunday; family worship was enjoined on
all members, and offenses between member and member were to be dealt with as in the
eighteenth chapter of Matthew; the slanderer was first to be admonished privately, then, if
necessary, openly rebuked in class-meeting; members of other churches were admitted to
communion, and persons who were not members were admitted by consent of the vestry if no
objection were made. Still other rules were these: There was to be a class-meeting each week, an

Chapter V 20 Evangelical Movement Among German
Immigrants
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