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Old Order German Baptist Brethren

I had a really nice conversation with a woman yesterday who is a member of the Old Order German Baptist Church.

I've written before about the German Baptists. While they are a "plain" church, their theological roots begin in a religious movement known as Pietism.  The Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites are all Anabaptists.  The end result, though, of the Pietist movement is a church that at least on the surface looks a lot like the Amish.  People here in in my corner of Ohio, which has a large population of Old German Baptist Church members (not Old ORDER), repeatedly and mistakenly refer to these people as "Amish."  The dress is vagely similar.  Women where head-coverings, but they are an opaque white.  Men usually where denim, suspenders, and have neatly trimmed beards. The GB's also have their own "one room" parochial schools.  And, unlike the Amish, the GBs have a church building (meetinghouse) where they worship.  The GBs also drive cars (usually dark-colored) and have electricity, although most don't have television or radio.  The Old GB church has members in western Ohio, eastern Indiana, near Quinter, Kansas, and near Modesto, California.

But then there are the Old ORDER GB's, which is the church the woman whom I spoke with yesterday belonged to.  This church split from the main GB church back in 1921 over the acceptance of automobiles. These GBs remain, in a sense, "frozen in time" in 1921.  They do have electricity, but no TV or radio and they don't drive cars. These GBs still use the horse and buggy.  The woman told me there are only three Old ORDER GB churches in her area, which is near Bradford, Ohio.    There are a handful of other Old Order GBs, the largest group is near Delphi, Indiana.   The Old ORDER GB whom I spoke with yesterday said the group near Delphi split from them over some other theological differences back in the 1930s.

Personally, I'd love to have the chance to look at the Old Order GB buggies to see how they differ from Amish ones.  And I'd be curious  as to how a church that small perpetuates itself.  They'd have to welcome newcomers.  The Amish church has enough problems with inter-marrigae and they, of course, are much, much larger.  The woman told me her area has about 110 families making up the three Old Order GB churches.



Re: Old Order German Baptist Brethren

Link to the story about Hot Coffe and an OGBB family that lives there.

Re: Old Order German Baptist Brethren

We live near Gettysburg in the "Oak Grove" church district.  Both OGBB and OOGBB call this district by that name.  Painter Creek is having communion this weekend.  They were all at the meeting house today when we went by on the way to the dent and bent store.  Two of the districts have meeting houses, Painter Creek and Covington, and Oak Grove meets in homes like the Amish.  We sold our acreage last year to an OOGBB family and they ripped out the electric and installed gas lighting.  Actually they completely remodeled it.  They also have a few members living in Wisconsin, and another bunch near Hot Coffee Mississippi.  There used to be a National Geographic story online about Hot Coffee.

Re: Old Order German Baptist Brethren

Joyce - Very insightful post, thank you!  Where do you live, if you don't mind me asking? There have been splits even among the Old Order GBs, so perhaps some have electricity in some places while others don't? I may well have been mistaken, I thought she said she had electricity....but I could have misunderstood as she was talking rather rapidly.....

Re: Old Order German Baptist Brethren

I think you must be mistaken on the electricity issue.  I mean unless something has happened in the past couple of weeks. :-)  We live among the OOGBB and attend their services sometimes.  As for buggies, they use any buggy that they can get.  Mainly discarded Amish buggies.  I've seen buckboard type, different Amish type, old doctor's buggies.  As I said, whatever they can get.  There was someone in the community for a while making new buggies, but there just aren't enough members to sustain that type of business.  They do have a fair number of people who marry into the group.  I can think of five or six off the top of my head.  Some women, but some men as well.  Many have German Baptist backgrounds, but I know one lady who was raised Catholic who joined to marry.  They do really need more new people as they are almost to the point of marrying first cousins.  Any time you want to go to an OOGBB service let us know and we can let you know where the service will be.  They rotate between the three congregations only one having a service any given week.

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