Two scripture passages must lead this page:
Ecclesiastes 7:10 "Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?" For you do not inquire wisely concerning this."
Philippians 3:13-14 "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ."
The Church of the Brethren is an anabaptist (believer's baptism) church started in Germany in 1708. A group of 8 men and women, lead by Alexander Mack, began what is today known as the Church of the Brethren with a powerful vision of living out scripture in every meaningful sense. Their commitment to scriptural believer's baptism (rebaptism was illegal in that day and infant baptism the rule of the day) compelled them to baptize each other in the nearbye Eder River. Such radical dedication to scripture formed the basis of what would become known as the German Baptist Church, today known as the Church of the Brethren. That heritage in the small town of Schwarzenau Germany, just under 100 years later leads us to Stark County Ohio.
The History of Center Church
The first Brethren believers would come to North America in 1719 but the move into Ohio, like the country itself, would take some time. In 1804, just a year after the State of Ohio became part of the Union, Nimishillen Church began as the first Brethren Church in Stark County Ohio and the first in the northern part of the state. Center Church of the Brethren itself was founded in Louisville, Ohio, in 1825, the first church planted from the original Nimishillen congregation. George Hoke served as its leading elder at that time. Meeting in houses and barns in the early days, the first centralized meeting house, the first church building was not built until 1868 but is located on the same site where the present building stands today. Truly, Center Church is on historic ground! At that time the church was called Canton Church, later to become Canton Center Church before becoming known as Center Church as it is today. In 1910 the church building itself was severly damaged by a tornado but was still able to be repaired, while a second meeting house that had been built was permanently destroyed. in 1924 the church was expanded and remodeled for Sunday School classrooms. Due to increased growth in attendance in the 1950's an expansion and remodeling of the church became necessary. In 1958 ground was broken and on March 8th 1959 the current building was dedicated. Through all this time Center Church of the Brethren has remained faithful to the ministry of the Word of God and faithful to its core beliefs.
Our heritage is the heritage of the historical faith, not of Alexander Mack, not of the reformers of the 1500's but of the apostles, the prophets and the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is the heritage of an ageless faith founded on the power of an indestructible life, that of Jesu Christ, lived out in the power of the Holy Spirit iwth the hope of eternal life found in and through God's grace and mercy.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life."
For more information about the Church of the Brethren, including the history of the deonomination go to: www.brethren.org