UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST, THE. A religious denomination which arose among the Germans of Pennsylvania. under the preaching of Philip William Otterbein (q.v.), an ordained pastor of the German Reformed Church, and Mar tin Boehm, a preacher among the Mennonites. As their converts increased, laymen were licensed to preach. Their first formal conference met in Baltimore (1789), and their first annual confer enc at Frederick, Md., in 1800. Here the name by which they have since been known was adopted, and Otterbein and Boehm were elected first bishops. The first General Conference met in 1815, when a Confession of Faith and a Discipline were adopted.
The organization of the United Brethren in Christ includes quarterly and annual confer ences, and a quadrennial General Conference. which is the only legislative body, and since 1901 has been composed of an equal number of min isters and laymen. The superintendency of the Church is vested in the bishops, who, with the general Church officers, are elected every four years by the General Conference. Since 1889 women have been eligible to the ministry. All or dained preachers are elders, the only order recog nized. Members are forbidden the use of intoxi cating liquors, and must not traffic in them. Slavery was prohibited after 1821. The theology of the United Brethren in Clu•ist is Arminian. They accept two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper. The mode of baptism is left to the choice of the candidate. Infant baptism is practiced. The spiritually dynamic presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper is acknowledged. The practice of foot-washing is discretionary. The government of the Church is democratic. The itinerant systenf is enjoined. but pastorates are not limited as to time.
A commission appointed by the General Confer ence of 1835 prepared, without doctrinal change. a restatement of the Confession of Faith and a revision of the Constitution. which, having been approved by the members. was adopted and pro claimed by the General Conference of 1889. It provided for lay delegates to the General Con ference and set aside a rule prohibiting member ship in secret societies. At this time Bishop Milton and 14 of the 125 delegates com posing the Conference withdrew and formed a branch of the Church, which adheres to the Con fession of Faith and the Constitution as they were before the revision.
The larger division of the Church. which ac cepted the new Constitution, had in 1902 47 an nual conferences and mission districts, including those in Germany, Japan, Ontario, and West Africa, four bishops, 1967 itinerant ministers, 434 local preachers. 249.314 members, 263,041 pupils in the Sunday-schools, 335S church houses, and 827 parsonages, and it contributed for all pur poses $1.661,524. It has a theological seminary at Ohio, eight colleges, and four acad emics. It has a publishing house at Dayton, and issues from its presses 16 different publications aggregating 10.000,000 copies amorally. There is a Board of Education; a Home, Frontier, and Foreign Missionary Society sustaining missions in Africa, Japan, Germany, Porto Rico, Ontario, and the United States; a Woman's Missionary Association, conducting missions in Africa, China• and the Philippines; a Church Erection Society; a Young People's Christian Union, with 63.846 members; and an Historical Society.
The branch which retains the old Constitution had in 1902 32 annual conferences, 4 bishops, 766 societies. 281 active itinerant and 133 local preachers, 25.670 members. 28,293 pupils in the Sunday-schools, 523 church houses, 88 parson ages, and aggregate contributions amounting to $144.624. There is a Home. Frontier, and Foreign Missionary Society, sustaining missions in 16 conferences and mission districts, including West Africa, and a Woman's Missionary Association. a Board of Education, a publishing house in Hunt ington, Ind., and colleges at Huntington, Ind., Albion, Wash., and in Oregon.
The Religious Telescope (weekly), The Watch word (weekly), The United Brethren Review (Id-monthly), and The Fern• Book of the United Brethren, in Christ, besides missionary and Sun day-school are issued by the New Constitution branch at Dayton, Ohio. The Old Constitution Church issues The Christian Con servator (weekly), The Missionary Monthly, and a Year Book at Huntington. Ind. For the history of the Church, consult Berger, History of the Church of the United Brclliren. in. Clu•ist (Day ton, 1897) ; consult also biographies of Bishops Otterbein (ib., 1884) and J. Glossbreaner (ib., 1889), by A. W. Drury; Jonathan Weaver (ib., 1901), by H. A. Thompson; and James W. Hott (ib.. 1902), by M. E. Drury.