The Church of the Brethren traces its history back to 1708 in Schwartzenau, Germany. A group of eight Christians joined together for Bible Study and prayer and determined to live more closely to the teachings of Christ than what they found evident in the State Churches of the day. As the church grew, so did the government persecutions. Eventually, the group scattered. In 1719, a large group of Brethren migrated to Pennsylvania. Within ten years, most of the Brethren had arrived in America.
In 1838, the first Brethren arrived in Iowa. In 1849, Brethren migrated from Indiana and Ohio to Appanoose County, Iowa where the Fairview congregation was organized in 1853. The fertile farming ground of the area attracted many Brethren farmers and their large families. The first church building was built in 1866. It served the growing congregation for nearly 78 years.
In January of 1944, the church building burned to the ground despite the valiant efforts of community members to fight the fire. Few items were saved from the burning structure. Among them was the picture of Jesus rescued from the fire by church member, Dwight Powell. By the time Powell went in for the picture, the smoke had thickened to where he could not see. The men on the outside kept talking to him to guide him out by the sound of their voices.
A new building was constructed that summer and dedicated in December of that same year. An educational wing was added in 1960 and renovated in 1997. The rescued picture is prominent when you enter the building. The picture of Jesus praying in Gethsemane for all his followers of all times is a reminder that he prayed for us. It's also a reminder that each of us needs to be rescued from our own "fires."
Read more about the picture and the artist.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perserevance the race that is set before us." -- Hebrews-12:1
Church of the Brethren
Northern Plains District
DON'T CLICK THIS SPOT!!