Old Order German Baptist Brethren
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(the German Baptists or Dunkers)
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The Old Order German Baptist Brethren, also called Petitioners, are a small group of very conservative Schwarzenau Brethren.
They split from the Old German Baptist Brethren in 1921, when members of the latter began to accept automobiles. Though similar to the Old German Baptist Brethren in faith and practice, the Old Order German Baptist Brethren represent those who desired to maintain a strict adherence to tradition, such as the use of horse and buggy for transportation. They also do not use electricity nor telephones but tractors for field work.
In spite of the name, Old Order German Baptist Brethren do not use the German language anymore, neither a German dialect in everyday life nor Standard German for Bible and church as Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites do, because they had already given up the use of the German language when the first split of conservatives from the main body occurred in the early 1880s.
As of 2000 the group had 125 members and a total population of 281 in 3 congregations in Ohio. These Congregations are found in the area of Covington, Gettysburg and Arcanum. They have meeting houses south east of Covington and west of Pleasant Hill. Some members far from the meeting houses meet in private homes, like the Amish.
Since their formation in 1881 and until the early 1900s the Old German Baptist Brethren were often referred to as Old Order German Baptist Brethren. Since the formation of the Old Order German Baptist Brethren in 1921 this then misleading name fell mostly out of usage, but in some few cases it persists until today. The Old Order German Baptist Brethren should also not be confused with the Old Brethren German Baptists, a similar horse and buggy group that split off from the Old German Baptist Brethren and formed in 1939.
- Donald B. Kraybill, C. Nelson Hostetter: "Anabaptist World USA", Scottdale PA, 2001, pages 145, 156.
- Information from Indiana Old Brethren German Baptists
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