Click on the links below to learn more about ECOB!

Click on the General tab for information about our Core Values, What we believe and What is the Church of the Brethren.

Click on the Requests tab for information on Baptism, Membership, or Marriage.

What are our core beliefs?

  • God
    We believe in the sovereign God, who in holy love creates, sustains, and orders all.  We worship the one true God eternally existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  God has brought salvation and new life to humanity through Jesus Christ and is pleased with all who draw near by faith.
  • Jesus
    We believe Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of the world, the incarnate Son of God.  Through Jesus’ atonement on the cross, humanity is delivered from the stronghold of sin and reconciled to God.  Through Jesus’ resurrection from the grave, Jesus is exalted as almighty, the head of the church, and Lord of all life.
  • Holy Spirit
    We believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal Spirit of God, who glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, calls them to repentance, and baptizes them into union with Christ and His Church.  By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church is brought to unity in doctrine and action.  The Holy Spirit empowers us for service, comforts us in suffering, is present with us in time of persecution, intercedes for us in our weakness, guarantees the redemption of our bodies, and assures the future redemption of creation.
  • Scripture
    We believe that all scripture is God-breathed through the Holy Spirit for instruction in salvation, training in righteousness, and is without error.  All scripture reveals God’s search for humankind, which is culminated in God’s redemptive act in and through Christ.  Scripture is fully reliable and trustworthy for all doctrinal and moral decisions.  Led by the Holy Spirit in community, we interpret Scripture through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • The Church
    We believe that those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are the one true church.  Together the church constitutes the body of Christ with Jesus as the head.  The church is the new community of disciples sent into the world to proclaim the kingdom of God and to display the hope of Jesus.  Jesus has commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all things he has commanded.
  • Humanity
    We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in His divine image, for His glory, filled with His breath, the ability to respond faithfully to God, to live in harmony with other human beings, and to engage in meaningful worship, work and rest.
  • Sin
    We believe that beginning with Adam and Eve, humanity disobeyed God, gave way to the tempter, chose sin, fell short of the Creator’s intent and marred the image of God in which they were created. Falling into sin, humans brought depravity and death upon the race and as sinners human beings are self-centered and self-willed, as well as unwilling and unable to break with sin.
  • Salvation
    We believe that, in our humanity, we are fallen, sinful, and broken people. Only through Christ’s sacrifice; the shed blood and broken body, are we atoned for our sins and reconciled to God.  Salvation occurs then, by the power of God’s grace, when we fully surrender our sinful nature to God, accepting Christ’s selfless act, and turn from our sinfulness, into new life in Jesus.

What are our Core Values?

  • Christ-centered Living
    Fixing our eyes on Jesus, we will daily worship God through our actions and attitudes – seeking God’s best, not our own. The worship scripture calls us to, is to have a broken and contrite heart that seeks surrender and sacrifice. We will be transformed into Christ-likeness when we are willing to embrace grace, truth, humility, accountability, and forgiveness with God and one another. (Romans 12:2)
  • Outward Focused
    Out of our desire to support our neighbors, near and far, we will proactively engage in partnerships that will care for the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of others. Not only will we be innovative, adaptable, sensitive, and fearless to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we will be unashamed of the gospel and seek out ways to share it. (John 13:14-17; Phil. 2:6-11; Romans 12:4-8; Luke 14:15-24)
  • Family Oriented
    Viewing all people as children of God, we believe our missions, ministries, and resources are to be focused on how we can encourage, support, and equip each person’s discipleship. Specifically, we believe it is vital to provide opportunities for cross generational engagement, focused on the discipleship of our young people, so they will grow the kingdom of God for future generations. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
  • Biblical Hospitality
    Understanding that we are at the banquet of God, we will demonstrate the characteristics of a servant by radically welcoming to all who desire a seat at the table. Being sensitive to each person’s relationship with Jesus, and loving others where they are in that journey, we will joyfully serve in times of need, walk together in times of joy and sorrow, offer a cup of cold water to the stranger, and think of others more highly than ourselves. (Luke 10:35-37)
  • Compassionate Engagement
    So that others may know the hope and new life in Jesus, we will be vulnerable disciples who desire to build relationships that resemble those Jesus had. In doing so, we will unconditionally love everyone, showing grace mercy to all, and be empathetic to one another’s journey. (Mark 12:30-31; Matthew 5:43; 1 Cor 13:13; Isaiah 43; Romans 5:8; John 13:34-35; Luke 6:36)
  • Spirit-driven Ministry
    Everything that we do as a body of faith will be anchored in the character and nature of Jesus. We will be obedient to and held accountable by one another and the Holy Spirit in discerning God’s path forward in all aspects of our church’s life together. We will follow that call, without hesitation, in order to provide opportunities for current and future generations to engage in a holistic approach to discipleship. (Colossians 1:18; John 14:6; Matthew 25:45)

What is the Church of the Brethren?

The Ephrata Church of the Brethren (ECOB) has a rich and enduring heritage. This heritage has been informed by our larger church family, the Church of the Brethren. The Church of the Brethren traces its roots back over 300 years to 1708. Eighteenth-century Europe was a time of strong governmental control of the church and low tolerance for religious diversity. Nevertheless, there were religious dissenters who lived their faith in spite of the threat of persecution.

Some of these dissenters found refuge in the town of Schwarzenau, Germany. Among them was Alexander Mack, a miller, who had been influenced by both Pietism and Anabaptism. In August 1708 five men and three women gathered at the Eder River in Schwarzenau for baptism, an illegal act since all had been baptized as infants. They understood this baptism as an outward symbol of their new faith and as a commitment to living that faith in community. An anonymous member of the group first baptized Mack. He, in turn, baptized the other seven. This new group simply called themselves “brethren.”

Though the early Brethren shared many beliefs with other Protestants, a number of issues separated them from the state churches. Relying on the New Testament as their guide, these men and women believed that Jesus had intended for his followers a different kind of life—one based on peaceful action, plain and compassionate living, and a shared search for truth. They also shared their faith enthusiastically with others, sending evangelists to other parts of Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.  For more information on the Church of the Brethren, click here.

Information on Baptisms

Baptism is the sign of new life through Jesus Christ. It unites the one baptized with Christ and with his people. The New Testament scriptures and the liturgy of the Church unfold the meaning of baptism in various images which express the riches of Christ and the gifts of his salvation. These images are sometimes linked with the symbolic uses of water in the Old Testament. Baptism is participation in Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12); a washing away of sin (1 Cor. 6:11); a new birth (John 3:5); an enlightenment by Christ (Eph. 5:14); a reclothing in Christ (Gal. 3:27); a renewal by the Spirit (Titus 3:5); the experience of salvation from the flood (1 Peter 3:20-21); an exodus from bondage (1 Cor. 10:1-2).

Christian baptism is rooted in the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, in his death and in his resurrection. It is the incorporation into Christ, who is the crucified and risen Lord; it is entry into the New Covenant between God and God’s people. Baptism is a gift of God, and is administered in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. St. Matthew records that the risen Lord, when sending his disciples into the world, commanded them to baptize (Matt.28:18-20). The universal practice of baptism by the apostolic Church from its earliest days is attested in letters of the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, and the writings of the Fathers. The churches today continue this practice as a rite of commitment to the Lord who bestows his grace upon his people.

In 1708, Alexander Mack and seven others covenanted together to follow and obey the teachings of the New Testament. They gathered on the banks of the Eder River in Schwarzenau, Germany, to demonstrate the public means of this covenant: baptism. They felt strongly that they “must be baptized according to the teaching of Jesus Christ and the apostles.” These early believers of the Church of the Brethren felt that baptism was a necessary action for their faith. Since believer’s baptism was explicitly commanded by Christ and by the New Testament authors, they knew they had to do it if they were going to call themselves Christians. These founders of the Church of the Brethren believed that the Holy Spirit was leading them in unity and baptism was a sign of the work of the Spirit. When they studied the Scriptures, they saw that baptism had deep significance.

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Information on Membership

Church membership is an important part of the life and ministry of any congregation.  While membership is helpful for our governance – our role as a non-profit – it is also helpful to encourage, keep track of, and empower those who desire to serve Christ through leadership, provide opportunities for growth and accountability, and much more.

While membership is not required to attend ECOB, in line with our role as a non-profit, it is required for leadership positions, voting on budgets, and other major congregational decisions.  We encourage all who desire to have a more active role in the life and running of ECOB to become a member.

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Information on Marriage

To download ECOB’s Marriage Ministry Guidelines, please click the link below.  This document is to referred to when planning for a marriage to be held at ECOB or by an ECOB pastor.

Marriage Ministry Guidelines