On the heels of the Protestant Reformation, in 1708 a handful of believers under Anabaptist and Pietistic influence, embarked upon a journey of faith seeking a deeper reformation of doctrine and practice. Seeking a life that followed the Scriptures more literally, eight souls were baptized by immersion in the Eder River in Schwarzenau, Germany. This was a radical departure from the state churches’ practice of infant baptism. With a genuine desire to live the New Testament, these brethren were led to practices such as the Love Feast including feet-washing, the agape meal, and the emblematic bread and cup, non-resistance, the refusal to take an oath, and the practice of the holy kiss.
The group grew in Germany and Holland and migrated to America in the 1700’s establishing congregations beginning near Germantown, Pennsylvania. From there the Brethren migrated to Virginia and the West growing to a fellowship of approximately 70,000 members. In 1881, a small portion of these members, calling themselves Old German Baptists, separated from the larger group in a quest for a more godly and simple life. From this body of believers, the New Conference emerged in 2009.