History of the Church of the Brethren: Our Origin
The Church of the Brethren originated in the Wittgenstein district of Seventeenth Century Germany, under the protection of Count Henrich Albrecht's promise of refuge to all persons experiencing harm for religious beliefs or activities. Responsible only to a war torn imperial government distressed with bureaucratic ineptitude, Albrecht extended freedom to anyone suffering religious oppression, much to the consternation and unending protests of neighboring districts. Like a few other nobles, he saw the wisdom in granting protection to refugee craftsmen and farmers who would assist the rebuilding of his district. Years of war and disease had left central Europe sparsely populated and heavily destroyed, starting with the Bubonic Plague in the 14th Century and followed in the 17th Century with the Thirty Years' War, the French Wars, and the Wars of Frederick the Great. The cumulative effects destroyed millions of people, farm lands, cities, and national economies. The Treaty of Westphalia (1648) ended the Thirty Years' War, but allowed the three main state churches, Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed (known as the Big Three) to become a new monolithic force of domination and persecution to all other would be religious groups. In the wake of years of devastation, German Pietism arose. It was essentially a 'religion of the heart' that decried ecclesiastical control by the Big Three, and sought to redefine the basic personal religious experience. Alexander Mack of Schriesheim would seek refuge from religious persecution in the district of Wittgenstein near the village of Schwarzenau and organize a new religious group in 1708, founded on the principles of Pietism and Anabaptism . Over the centuries, this original group would eventually separate into many different Brethren Groups.
Mountain View Church of the Brethren: Our History 1940-Present
Mountain View Church of the Brethren, a family-oriented body of believers, officially formed as a congregation in 1940. The congregation was previously yoked with the Leetown Church of the Brethren until 1947, when the churches became separate congregations. The church experienced much growth, and in 1954, a parsonage was built and dedicated in preparation for the calling of the congregation's first full-time pastor, Byron Berkey. In 1972, the church once again experienced a growth spurt and remodeling of the sanctuary was completed to provide additional seating for worship. Today, much has been done to provide facilities that are aesthetically appealing as well as a comfortable setting to experience the presence of God as we come together for worship. In 2002, a major expansion of the sanctuary was completed along with the installation of central air conditioning and a new roof. We have a vision for the future as we look forward to what God has planned for us as we seek to serve Him Simply, Peacefully, Together.