River Brethren

River Brethren, a sect deriving their origin from the Mennonites. A revival of religion occurred during the Revolutionary war in Lancaster Co., Pa., and a number of Germans being converted, some of them associated with United Brethren, and others were organized into a body called the River Brethren. The name is applied to them partly from the locality in which they were first found — near the Susquehanna and Conestoga-- and chiefly from their baptizing only in rivers. They now extend into Ohio, Canada, and elsewhere. They recognize three orders of clergy — bishops, elders, and deacons. Their preachers — generally uneducated men, engaged in secular pursuits during the week, and receiving no salary for services — are chosen by votes, and in case of a tie they have recourse to the lot. Their services are generally in the German language, and held in private houses. This denomination reject infant baptism, and baptize adults by trine immersion. They hold to feet washing, baptism, the Lord's supper, and communion (love feast), and wear their beards unshorn. They have never published a confession of faith. They are opposed to war, and cannot therefore serve. in the army. See Gardner, Faiths of the World, s.v.; Porter. Hand-book of Religions, s.v.

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