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One of the decisive events in the eventual formation of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ occurred when Philip William Otterbein met Martin Boehm on the farm of Isaac Long about two miles of Neffsville in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. A “great meeting” had been called by Mennonite preacher Boehm which German Reformed pastor Otterbein attended. The precise year has not been established, but it is commonly believed to have been held in 1767.

“Great meetings” had taken place in rural areas since 1724. They were popular evangelistic meetings which attracted people who lived in sparsely populated areas. These gatherings offered gospel preaching and the enjoyment of fellowship with others.

When Otterbein arrived at the meeting, one of those preaching on the threshing floor of the large barn was Boehm. Otterbein listened intently to his sermon. It resonated with Otterbein’s own spiritual experience of “assurance” which occurred when he was a pastor in Lancaster in 1754. Otterbein was greatly moved by Boehm’s message, at the end of which he went forward, embraced Boehm and exclaimed, “Wir sind brüder!” (“We are brethren!). Thus began a friendship which lasted until Boehm’s death in 1812 (Otterbein died in 1813) and led to the formation of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ which entered into union with the Evangelical Church in 1946 to form the Evangelical United Brethren Church. This denomination joined the Methodist Church in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church.

Points of interest at this Heritage Landmark: It is a working barn that is privately owned.

Special events: None

Area attractions: Other nearby Heritage Landmarks include Boehm’s Chapel in Willow Street, just south of Lancaster City, and the Jacob Albright Memorial Chapel in Kleinfeltersville, Lebanon County. Heritage Landmarks in Philadelphia is Historical St. George’s Church and Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church.

To visit: The farm is privately owned but is visible from the road. There is a road side marker nearby as well as a marker on the property.

Food and lodging: There are many restaurants and hotels in the Lancaster County area.

Location and directions: The barn is within the bounds of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference north of the city of Lancaster. From Route 30 in Lancaster, travel north on Route 272 approximately 3 miles to the light at Landis Valley Road and turn left. Travel .3 of a mile and turn right on Kissel Hill Road. Travel .7 of a mile and turn right on Jake Landis Road. Travel .8 of a mile to Long’s Barn on the right.

For further information, contact: Kevin E. Readman, 700 Ranck Road, New Holland, PA 17557.

To learn more about United Methodist church history in this area: J. Bruce Behney and Paul H. Eller, The History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1979).