The Church of the Brethren - started at Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708 - sought to unite in faith and practice the streams of spiritual idealism of that day. The founders believed that men and women were justified by faith but insisted that faith was not genuine unless expressed in a good life.
The essence of the Brethren consists in relating religion to life, belief in action, and theology to ethics as well as a demonstrative Christianity. The Church offers a ministry to the world which brings relief to those in need, assurance to the hungers of the human heart, joy and harmony to home and family, love and brotherhood to the church, and peace, justice and neighborliness to the world.
The Brethren witness begins with a humble confession of sin. It continues with unceasing prayer for purity of heart, clearness of spiritual vision and grace to conform the human will to the will of God. It seeks to touch all areas of life and to build under the Lordship of Christ a redeemed world of personal excellence and social righteousness.
The Church of the Brethren (along with the Quakers and Mennonites ) is known as one of the historic peace churches. It has had an important hand in the creation of Church World Service, Heifer International, and in disaster relief work.