Old Otterbein UMC is the mother church of the United Brethren, which is where the word United comes from in the label UMC. In 1968, the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical and United Brethren to form one denomination. The EUBs as they used to be called, were German pietists who basically agreed with Wesley’s approach to theology, evangelism, and like the Methodists focused on the Sermon on the Mount when it came to ethics. Otterbein himself is buried behind this 19th century church which is near the inner harbor in Baltimore.
Here’s a picture of us, having a good time, even though its 10 degrees outside! Greg Jones is seen on the right side of this picture. Besides being the former Dean at Duke Divinity (now a senior vice president at Duke U.) Greg was a John Wesley Fellow, like myself, of a much earlier period. He is now the head of AFTE and has a good vision of what this fellowship of evangelical Methodist scholars (now 150 strong) should be doing going forward to continue to renew our church and do the tasks of evangelism. The old fellowship building where we had breakfast has two lovely stained glass windows celebrating our heritage—-
We have been at this since 1979, a little over two hundred years since the first Methodist Christmas conference with Francis Asbury in 1784 which took place at Lovely Lane Chapel in Baltimore. Here is a marker in front of historical Otterbein Church telling a little of its history.