During the Revolutionary War the Dunkers lost severely in property and prestige, but soon after the close of the war they again became active, and settlements were formed in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indians, many of which grew into flourishing church. Until the Civil War they continued to spread, passing into Illinois and west of the Mississippi river. They opposed slavery, were non-resistant, and hence took no part whatever in the conflict between the contending armies' though their sympathies were with the North. When peace was restored the churches on both sides of the Mason and Dixon line again came together and went for ward as though there had been no national strife. Emigration resumed its course, and now they have churches from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Their first religious paper, the Gospel Visitor, s small monthly, was published in 1851. From this small beginning the publishing interest has grown until now the main body of the Church owns and controls a large, finely equipped printing plant at Elgin, Ill. The Gospel Messenger
From the beginning the society depended upon and encouraged the free ministry system. Mack, Booker, and other early ministers received no compensation for their services. This gave rise to a system well adapted to the opening up of missions and founding of churches by emigration. Of late years many of the congregations are supporting their pastors, especially in the cities. Ministers are elated by the congregations in which they hold their membership, each member being entitled to a vote. The brother receiving the highest number of votes is declared elected and is installed in what is known as the first degree, where he has limited privileges. If be proves faithful and efficient he is advanced to the second degree, his duties and privileges being considerably en larged. The bishops (or elders, as they are generally called) are chosen from the ministers of the second degree. They are set apart or ordained by the laying on of hands of the elders priding at this ordination, and placed in charge of the churches se needed. There are also deacons, elected in the same way as ministers, whose duty it is to look after the poor and the sick, to visit the members, and to look after the church finances.
The Dunkers have no formal creed aside from the New Testament, but are sided and unified in their work by the minutes of the -Annual Meeting, which has convened since about 1742.6. Creed, To this conference questions involving Govern- doctrine, church polity, and ment, and methods are brought, and the deci Present sions made are the rule of the churches. Condition. This general conference is made up of delegates, lay or clerical, from the local congregations, and bishops from the State districts. The latter compose a standing committee, where duty it is to select from their own number the officers for the conference. Only regularly ordained elders can serve on the standing committee, and no one can serve two years in succession. The local churches in each State are grouped into one or more State districts, and each district is entitled to one or more elders or bishops on the standing committee, the number being determined by the membership of the district. Church government is democratic. The Annual Meeting settles disputed points, and each member is expected duly to respect and live up to the conference decisions. The Conservative Dunkers make a specialty of plain dressing and avoid places of amusement unbecoming their profession. Their attire is neat, comfortable, and tidy, and there is a general uniformity about their style that renders them easily recognizable. In this respect they resemble the Quakers, and they are the most radical of temperance people.
The Conservative bunkers now number about 100,000, and are increasing rapidly. Their movement began among the common people, and for generations they were found principally is the rural districts, most of them being industrious and thrifty farmers. They have long been noted for their skill and enterprise in establishing and building up ideal rural communities, with the finest moral, religious, and educational environments. Many of their places of worship, which are large and commodious, are in the country. They meet each Lord's Day for Sunday-school and preaching services. Once or twice a year they meet, always in the evening, for their love-feast. On these occasions there is first preaching on self-examination, followed by the service of foot-washing, the men and women occupying separate parts of the building; next, they eat together what they call the Lord's Supper, at the close of which they greet each other with the kiss of . charity; then follows the communion of the loaf and cup, unleavened bread being used.
Until 1881-82 the Dunkers were a united people with one conference. 1a'or some time, however, there had been a growing desire for more advanced steps along educational and missionary lines. There was a demand for more liberty in dress
Bibliography: Sources are the Minute of the Annual Meeting, 1778-1876, collected into one volume, Elgin, Ill.; Revised Minutes of the Annual Meeting, brought down to 1898, ib. For the history consult: Henry Kurtz, Brethren's Encyclopoadia. Colombians. O.. 1887; M. G. Brumbaugh, Hist. of the German Baptist Brethren in Europe and America, Elgin, 1899; G. N. Falkenstein, Hist. of the German Baptist Brethren Church, Lancaster, Pa., 1901; H. R. Holsinger, Hist. of the Tunkera and the Brethren Churches, Oakland, Cal., 1901 (important for the later period); J. L. Gitlin, The Dunkers. A Sociological Interpretation, New York, 1908 (gives valuable bibliography). For doctrine consult: A. Mack, Jr., A Plain View of the Rites and Ordinances of the House of God . . , a translation of Kurz and eintdltige Vorateltung der ttuaeeren abet dock heiLigen Rechten and O rdnungen den Houses Gotten . . . , last ed., Mount Morris, Ill., 1888; R. H. Miller, Doctrine of the Brethren Defended, Indian apolis, 1876.
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