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The following terms reflect the culture of the Church of the Brethren, a denomination grounded on the principles of Anabaptism and founded through the Pietist efforts of Alexander Mack, in the summer of 1708 near the small German village of Schwarzenau. This resource is not an exhaustive compilation of all denominational terminology, which might also be garnered from other Brethren works, such as the Brethren Encyclopedia, Brethren Bibliography, European Origins, Brethren in America, Ephrata Cloister, 19th Century Acculturation, Brethren Timeline, Brethren Groups, and Brethren Genealogy. You are encouraged to share your comments, suggestions, or corrections with the Web Administrator.

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Baskets SERRV International is a non-profit organization which promotes the social and economic progress of people in developing regions of the world by purchasing and marketing their crafts in a just and direct manner. They have been creating a strategic marketplace based on fairness for almost fifty years. More than 3,000 one-of-a-kind items made by artisans from over thirty countries are on display in their International Gift Shop located in New Windsor, Maryland. In the alternative trade community, they are known for their outstanding customer service and quality control. When you buy a handcraft from SERRV International you become part of a global partnership of justice and hope. Your purchase brings dignity and needed income to a developing world artisan. You receive a one of a kind quality product at an affordable price.

Formerly called Sales Exchange Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocation, SERRV International markets crafts through churches, socially responsible retailers, and community groups throughout the United States, as well as sales through direct mail. It was originally created in 1949 by the Church of the Brethren to assist World War II refugees, and received a distribution network in the early 1960's from Church World Service. Presently, SERRV International is marketing around $5 million annually, in cooperation with artisans in 30+ developing countries. Call (800) 723-3712 to learn how you can participate. To receive a free catalog, call (800) 423-0071. SERRV is an independent program of the Church of the Brethren and is a member of the International Federation for Alternative Trade.

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Special Offerings (Church of the Brethren)

There are presently three options for donating to the ministry of the four Church of the Brethren: Advent, Global Mission, and One Great Hour of Sharing.

Standing Committee of Annual Conference (formerly called Annual Meeting)

A continuously functioning committee officially established by an assembly which provides its scope and powers, until subsequent official actions may restrict its functions or disband its existence. This is different from an Ad Hoc committee which is formed to achieve a specific objective, and usually dissolved after the achievement of its objective. Standing Committee is composed of delegates selected by Church of the Brethren districts to facilitate the business process for the delegate body of Annual Conference. Usually they number around forty. They meet a few days prior to the main Conference to review business items and make recommendations on each query of business or resolution, to expedite deliberation by the Conference delegate body. Standing Committee is also charged with adjudicating certain special matters or arbitrate disagreements involving discipline between districts, congregations, and members.

The original ruling body was composed of Elders who governed the congregations. As the number of queries increased and more people began attending this annual meeting, a body labeled the General Committee was formed during the years just prior to 1848. The label was officially changed to Standing Committee in 1853 and their role was given greater clarification and structure during the 1860’s. Starting in 1868 each member was elected instead from the districts.

If matters of polity are assumed to be affected by a new item of business, it is the duty of the Standing Committee to rule to the Conference delegate body that a two-thirds majority vote will be necessary. They also appoint a nominating committee from their own members to prepare a ballot for Annual Conference delegates. They may also appoint or recommend study committees to further research important matters. Because of their judicial role, Standing Committee is actually the highest authority in the Church of the Brethren.

Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center

A cooperative venture in 1993 of Bethany Theological Seminary, Atlantic-Northeast District and Pennsylvania Southern District to offer seminary level education and ministry training for Brethren students, licensed ministers, and lay persons who could not relocate families to the main Bethany campus in Richmond, Indiana. The Center is located on the campus of Elizabethtown College. Although there are Brethren congregations in most of the fifty states, most Brethren are geographically clustered within five hundred miles of central Pennsylvania.

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““For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.””
Philippians 4:9