The Christian Brethren first came to Tasmania in 1869. They are an evangelical Protestant church with no ordained ministers and a strong lay involvement in their activities. The Brethren ran Glenhaven Children's Home in Ulverstone and Hillcrest Children's Home in Hobart.
By the end of the 1870s the Christian Brethren were well established in most centres of the colony, especially the north-west coast.
The Brethren believe that the Bible is the highest religious authority so they do not have ordained ministers. Each assembly is independent of the others in religious matters but they maintain a close association. Baptism is by immersion. Members of the Brethren take weekly communion.
In Tasmania, most Brethren are 'open', that is, they do not belong to the 'exclusive' Brethren who avoid contact with outsiders to the religion. The 'open' Brethren are evangelists and carry-out community work, including overseas missions.
Sources used to compile this entry: Wilson, Elisabeth, 'The Christian Brethren', in The companion to Tasmanian history, Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, 2005, http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/C/Christian%20Brethren.htm.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 16 May 2013, Last modified: 19 March 2014