May 27, 2012

Pentecost 1882

130 years ago on May 28, 1882 (Pentecost Sunday) the Brethren gathered for Annual Meeting  in Northern Indiana on the John Arnold farm in Elkhart County. The 35-acre site was located a short distance east of the present intersection of U.S. 6 and Ind. 15. The Big Four railroad ran north and south past the site, and the B&O railroad ran east and west a short distance to the south. Both railroads made special arrangements to transport passengers directly to the conference grounds. There was even a temporary U.S. Post Office built at the site.

 There was a sense of foreboding in the air as the thousands of Brethren gathered for the Annual Meeting . The previous year Annual Meeting had appointed a committee to visit Henry Holsinger in Berlin, PA to investigate charges brought against Holsinger by at least five districts. This Berlin Committee was unable to hold a hearing due to conditions insisted upon by Holsinger which the committee could not accept.

The committee then announced "that Brother H.R. Holsinger cannot be held in fellowship with the Brotherhood, and all who depart with him shall be held responsible to the action of the next Annual Meeting." In effect, Holsinger was excommunicated until Annual Meeting could act.

At the 1882 Meeting, The committee report was read and explained, then a motion was made for adoption. Nearly the entire day was spent debating the question. Finally, the motion to accept the Berlin Committee's report was pressed, and a vote was called for. Elder Moore estimated there were 7,000 voting members present and all but about 100 stood to support the motion.

130 years later, the church continues to deal with issues and conflicts that divide us.