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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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An African word from the Hausa language meaning “health or well-being.” This word was adopted for a Church of the Brethren medical program (Annual Conference, 1971) that trained Nigerian doctors and nurses, working in cooperation with the Basel Mission and churches in West German. It was a wellness program sponsored by now the defunct Association of Brethren Caregivers that stressed a ministry of wholeness in congregations, districts, and related agencies, through identifying the need for both giving and receiving care. A few Brethren congregations still identify themselves as a Lafiya church because of their wellness ministry to local or global interests.

La Verne, University of
Laying on of Hands

Act of blessing proffered from one in leadership upon another. Biblical references abound for blessings under many different circumstances: Genesis 48 (father to sons), Numbers 8:10 (dedication of Levites), Matthew 19:13 (Jesus to children), Luke 4:40 (healing of fever), Acts 6:6 (consecration or installation), Acts 13:3 (ordination). The Church of the Brethren usually practices the Laying on of Hands during three different services: baptism of new members, anointing, and consecration of officers.

See also Anointing.
Leadership Team: Annual Conference
List Server

Listserv is an abbreviation of List Server. It is a communications software package that resides on a file server and distributes e-mail to a list (serves the list) of people who generally have similar interests. For example, one person will send a message to the server, and it will then forward a copy of that message to everyone on the list. The process is so transparent that members sometimes forget that their initial e-mail is really communicating with a single computer, and not the group at large. For this reason, members often forget the predefined instructions that the server is expecting. Instructions which allow them to subscribe, unsubscribe, and make additional requests. ListServ originated on BITNET and is now growing in popularity the Internet.

Love Feast

A three-part Brethren service of Communion which includes feet washing, the meal, and the sacraments of the bread and cup. Brethren are unique among Protestant denominations, for most do not include feet washing or the meal, but rather the simple administration of the bread and cup. Even many Anabaptist traditions which observe feet washing do not include the meal. The fellowship meal is based on several Eucharist scriptures: ““And supper ...,”” John 13:2; ““... his own supper,” 1 Corinthians 11:21; or ““... feasts of charity,”” Jude 1:12. This last scriptural reference highlights the reason why the Brethren have traditionally called this service a Love Feast. Charity as used by Jude translates the Greek word agape, one of four Greek verbs for love.

See also Agape, Feetwashing.
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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