The New Paris Church of the Brethren exists to proclaim God’s Word, share God’s love and acceptance, and encourage spiritual growth for the glory of God and our neighbor’s good. Our vision is to simply serve others.
What We Believe
God is the creator of the universe and the author of life.
Believers are baptized by triune immersion.
This principle ensures each person the right of freedom.
Jesus, the eternal Son of God, exists uncreated and is equal in deity with the Father.
We practice the Three-Fold Love Feast: feet washing, fellowship meal, and communion.
Love Feast is held twice a year in April and October.
Why the Church of the Brethren Practices Love Feast
Love Feast and Communion
Once or twice a year, Brethren celebrate what the earliest Christians called agape: the outflowing love that seeks not to receive but to give. Jesus taught us this practice, sharing with His disciples a last, loving meal the night before He died. He washed the disciples’ feet, ate supper with them, sought to draw them closer into the fold of His love, and offered them the symbolic bread and cup.
During love feast, we repeat these simple and meaningful acts. After reconciling any discord among ourselves, we lovingly wash each other’s feet, then enjoy a simple meal together. Quietly we share communion, the bread and the cup that remind us of Jesus’ great gift; we renew our commitment to follow His example of sacrificial love. Congregations may also observe the Eucharist, or bread-and-cup communion, at other times and in other settings.
Love feast closes with a hymn; then follows the humble task of cleaning up, in which all are invited to participate. When we leave the feast, reunited in our dedication to Christ and to each other, the deep, nourishing love goes with us.
Jesus knew that this evening, this meal, was the last time he and his twelve disciples would gather as a group. He wanted his followers to remember, in the difficult days ahead, why he had come and what he had taught them. When the disciples began to argue about which of them was more important, Jesus decided to make his lesson plain: Taking a towel and a basin of water, this great teacher knelt beside the first disciple—and did not stop until, like a lowly servant, he had washed the feet of each one there.
By including the service of feetwashing in our love feast, Brethren imitate Jesus’ actions and honor his lessons. No person ought to be greater than another, Jesus taught. Love has no need to prove status or position; love simply gives—and keeps on giving.
A symbolic, cleansing act, feetwashing prepares us for the meal and communion that follow. It reminds us that, in God’s sight, everyone needs loving attention, and everyone can offer that service to others. First, we humbly accept attention and care from the one who washes our feet. Then we, in turn, wash someone else’s feet. After each act of feetwashing, the two people embrace and share a simple phrase of blessing.
Human life is sacred and each person is a creation of God.
The Bible is the inspired word of God. The New Testament is our rule of faith and practice.
We anoint with oil in the name of the Lord.
God’s plan for holy matrimony is between one man and one woman.