International Brethren History Conferences

International Brethren History Conferences are open to all who are interested in the history of the movement. 

The eighth biennial conference on the theme of the Brethren and the Church will be held at Maynooth University, Ireland, from 3-5 July 2017. 

The Brethren movement saw itself as a return to the model of the New Testament church. There were those, such as J. N. Darby, who felt that the church could not be restored to its primitive form, but this did not stop others searching the Bible to determine how best to pattern themselves on the earliest and purest model. As a result, the radical implications which the Brethren saw in the New Testament led them to reject any division between members of the church, although gender still played a part in allocating roles. But this still left the relationship of both other assemblies and existing churches to be resolved. Some adopted a type of connexionalism, while others embraced independency. Some practised an early form of ecumenism, but soon there were those who wanted to exclude other Christians who were seen as less pure for one reason or another, giving rise to numerous schisms within the movement. Involvement in the missionary movement by the Brethren in the later nineteenth century also meant that the form of the church had to be translated into non-Western cultures. Inevitably culture influenced practices within the church. In taking the topic of the Brethren and the church, all these aspects and more will be examined.
Submissions at the conference relevant to the above theme are welcome.For a guide to submissions, e-mail bahnsecretary at [substitute 'at' symbol for the e-mail address].
The programme is:

Monday 3 July

2.30 Welcome

3.00 Prof. Crawford Gribben, ‘Brethren and the Legacy of the Reformation’

4.00 Tea/Coffee

4.30 Breakout Session 1

6.00 Dinner

8.00 Prof. Jean DeBernardi, ‘The Emplacement and Indigenization of the Brethren movement in Penang and Singapore’


Tuesday 4 July

8:00 Morning prayers

8.30 Breakfast

9.30 Dr Timothy Stunt, ‘John Nelson Darby’s ecclesiastical identity’

10.30 Tea/Coffee

11.00 Breakout Session 2

1.00 Lunch

2.00 Brethren Beginnings: Afternoon trip to Dublin

6.30 Dinner

8.00 Prof. Donald Akenson, ‘Remembering Rodney King: Can Academic and Non-Academic Historians Get Along?’


Wednesday 5 July

8.00 Morning prayers

8.30 Breakfast

9.30 Dr Tim Grass, ‘Doing Church in a Hostile     Environment: Translating Brethren Ecclesiology in Franco’s Spain’

10.30 Tea/Coffee

11.00 Breakout Session 3

12.30 Lunch

1.30 Closing discussion

2.00 Dr Neil Summerton, ‘Was George Müller Brethren?’

3.00 Tea/Coffee

For a brochure, click here. For online booking form click here. (For a form which can be sent by email or by post, click here.)

Please note that due to early bookings all the en suite rooms have been allocated, and the rooms that remain are the non-en suite rooms, many of which are twin rooms, but which are available for single occupancy.

NB: Maynooth is easily reached from Dublin airport by a regular bus service at half-hourly intervals for c. 10 € - see for more details. Economical fares are currently available by Aer Lingus and Ryanair from many UK airports.





Previous conferences were held at

  • Bishop Woodford House, Ely, 6-8 July 2017 on the theme of 'The Brethren and the Bible'
  • Pilgrim Hall, East Sussex, on the theme 'Brethren Thought in Historical Perspective', on 15-17 July 2013.
  • Lindors Country House, Gloucester, on the theme of 'Brethren and Mission' on 25-27 June, 2011.
  • Carberry Tower, Musselburgh (near Edinburgh), on the theme of 'Brethren Spirituality' on 9-11 July 2009. The papers from the conference and the previous one are now available as Cuture, Spirituality, and the Brethren.
  • Liverpool Hope University and was organized in conjunction with the Christian Brethren Archive. The subject was ‘Brethren, Culture and Society’. As part of the proceedings, Dr Ward Gasque of Canada gave a F F Bruce memorial lecture on the subject of ‘F F Bruce: an unhyphenated evangelical’. It was held on 5–7 July 2007
  • Wiedenest Bible School, Germany, from 3-5 July 2005 on ‘Witnessing in Many Lands: the Theology and Practice of the Brethren Movement’. The papers from the conference are now available as Tim Grass (ed.), Witness in Many Lands: Leadership and Outreach among the Brethren.
  • Redcliffe College Gloucester in 10-12 July 2003 on "The growth of the Brethren movement: national and international experiences". The papers from the conference were published in Neil Dickson and Tim Grass (eds), The Growth of the Brethren Movement: National and International Experiences (Carlisle: Paternoster 2006).


For further information, contact Neil Dickson

Last Updated 2017-05-03 15:04:47