Hagerstown Church of the Brethren

    15 South Mulberry Street, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740
Phone: 301-733-3565 * FAX: 301-733-3598

  "Church in the Heart of the City with the City at Heart"
     Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.

History

The Church of the Brethren was founded in the village of Schwarzenau. Germany in 1708. It was a new Anabaptist religious movement. By 1720, the group numbered two hundred people. The entire group migrated to Holland to escape religious persecution.

  • In 1729, about one hundred members migrated to Germantown, Pennsylvania. At present, the group includes German Baptists or Dunkers, Dunkard Brethren, Brethren, Grace Brethren, as well as Church of the Brethren.
  • By 1750, the Hagerstown Valley territory had established the Conococheague congregation which was later divided into the three congregations of Beaver Creek, Manor, and Welsh Run. Some members of these congregations gradually moved from rural life into Hagerstown's growing economy.
  • In 1883, the first worship service was held in a fire company hall  on North Potomac Street. Led by Hiram Wolfe, twelve persons attended and W. Scott Reichard led the group in prayer.
  • In 1884, the group moved to a storeroom near the Market House. Benches were secured and one hundred chairs purchased. The group grew rapidly and a church school was organized with thirty-eight students enrolled. Since this was a temporary location, interest   grew in having their own meeting house.
  • Three women began fundraising and received pledges of $1000. At a subsequent council meeting, a building site on E. Washington Street became available for $400. Six men from the three churches were appointed to purchase the site and proceed with plans.
  • The chapel was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1884 at a cost of $1947.47.
  • By 1893, 120 people were worshipping regularly. The German Baptist Brethren Church of Hagerstown was recognized as a congregation in1894.
  • In 1891, the group successfully managed to host the Annual Meeting of the entire church with 4700 people attending- no small task to feed and house so many! The location was chosen because of excellent rail service.
  • The congregation outgrew the chapel and on July 17, 1897, a new brick church on the corner of E. Washington and Mulberry was dedicated.
  • W.D. Keller arrived as the first pastor in February, 1907. Church organization was refined and mission work developed in the west end.
  • From 1912-1919, A.B. Miller served as pastor and again from 1928 - 1936. He emphasized quality Christian Education, resulting in the calling of Perry Huffaker in 1935 as director as well as music director.
  • The name of the congregation became Church of the Brethren.  Membership had grown to1050. A new educational wing was added to the church in 1930. This included a social hall and stage. 
  • Paul Robinson pastored from 1940 -1953, adding 800 new members. The church flourished as men, women, and youth zealously worked for the causes of relief, missions, peace and other services. The church was known for its youth drama programs and great music. The Christian Century magazine named the Hagerstown Church as one of the great churches of America.
  • DeWitt Miller, was pastor from1954 -1974, brought a spirit of ecumenism and spiritual renewal.
  • Dean Miller followed until 1981 and later returned, continuing until his retirement in 2000.
  • Ed Poling served as pastor from 2001-2013.
  • Audrey and Tim Hollenberg-Duffey are the current co-pastors. David Benton is Director of Music.