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Church of the Brethren

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination with origins in the Schwarzenau Brethren (German: Schwarzenauer Neutäufer "Schwarzenau New Baptists") that was organized in 1708 by Alexander Mack in Schwarzenau, Germany, as a melding of the Radical Pietist and Anabaptist movements. The denomination holds the New Testament as its only creed. Historically, the church has taken a strong stance for nonresistance or pacifism—it is one of the three historic peace churches, alongside the Mennonites and Quakers. Distinctive practices include believers baptism by trine immersion; a threefold love feast consisting of feet washing, a fellowship meal, and communion; anointing for healing; and the holy kiss.

The first Brethren congregation was established in the United States in 1723. These church bodies became commonly known as "Dunkards" or "Dunkers", and more formally as German Baptist Brethren. The Church of the Brethren represents the largest denomination descended from the Schwarzenau Brethren, and adopted this name in 1908. The denomination had 122,810 members as of June 2010 and 1,047 congregations in the United States and Puerto Rico as of August 2010.

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