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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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Habitat for Humanity

An organization that builds houses for financially distressed individuals and families. It was started in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller and has either built or refurbished over 70,000 units. The concept originally came from an experience at Koinonia Farm, a Christian farming community founded by Clarence Jordan near Americus, Georgia. The idea is to construct new or restore old dwellings with no cost or interest charged to the future owner, but using mostly volunteer labor, donated materials, and zero interest loans. Brethren frequently work on their projects.

Heifer Project International

Currently an independent agency that was started by the Church of the Brethren in 1942, through the efforts of Dan West. Heifer Project is the outgrowth of one man with a vision and a practical method of implementation that did not require inordinate financial underwriting. Born a native of Ohio in 1893, Dan West, a life-long Brethren graduated from Manchester College in 1917, and spent the next two years as a conscientious objector during World War I. After working for the Emergency Peace Campaign in 1936 he traveled to Spain in order to serve as a relief worker following the Spanish Civil War.

Sitting under an almond tree one day, he also felt the challenge of feeding hungry people as ubiquitous images of poverty surrounded him daily. Thinking of his own daughters being healthy and well-fed back in the United States, he believed that he must start a process that could bring that same well-being to the children of Spain. But how? As fast as you give these children milk, they drink it and it is gone. The cost of importing more milk was economically prohibitive for a war torn nation in recovery. Then an idea came to him. Why not bring cows to Spain and produce the milk here? Why not give each cow under the condition that its offspring must be given to another family who would, in turn, give a calf to yet another family? And so on and so on! Analogous to: 'Little steps climb big mountains.'

On his return to the US in 1938, West started building enthusiasm for his project among neighbors, resulting in a volunteer 'Heifers For Relief Committee' the next year. It gained approval as a national project in 1942, with the first shipment of heifers leaving for Puerto Rico on June 14, 1944. On that day, one man's vision became a reality. Later known as The Heifer Project, its continuing process would geometrically multiply animals worldwide as hundreds of cattle produced thousands of calves, and those thousands would likewise produce millions. Following the death of Dan West in 1971, the project was incorporated as Heifer Project International.

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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