The Albright Brotherhood

Jacob Albright

While for some years a number of unrelated men’s organizations of various types were found in local congregations of the Evangelical Church and while the General Board of Religious Education did have membership in the Interdenominational Council on Men’s Work, the rise of the present denomination-wide Council on Men’s Work, the rise of the present denomination-wide Albright Brotherhood is to be traced to the 30th session of the General Conference held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1930.

The General Secretary of Religious, Dr. E. W. Praetorious, in his report, called attention to the new and vital interest that was being taken in men’s work general and that the Brotherhood work in the various denominations had received a new impetus and was showing signs of life and vigorous growth. He pointed out that vast possibilities were stored up in the manpower of the church, which, if released, would mightily stir things within the Kingdom and that the Evangelical Church could profit by promoting, with greater earnestness and zeal, the men’s work of the church through men’s classes and Brotherhoods.

In connection with this report, the General Secretary submitted a proposed Constitution for the guidance of local Brotherhoods, but the only thing that was done about the Brotherhood at this session of the General Conference was the adoption of the following resolution by the laymen attending the General Conference:

“Resolved, That we sponsor the formation in each of our Churches and Annual Conferences of Men’s Leagues, Classes, Clubs, Lay Chapters or Brotherhoods, whichever seem best in their appeal to meet the local situation, whose aims and objects, however, shall be in accordance with the Constitution provided in the Quadrennial Report of the Board of Religious Education.”

Shortly after that session of the General Conference, a Brotherhood movement (without announcement or promotion) burst in upon the Evangelical Church. Brotherhoods were being formed in local congregations in many parts of the church and many calls continued to come for assistance in organizing and promoting the work of the Brotherhood. The General Board of Religious Education in 1931 crystallized this movement by creating the Albright Brotherhood of the Evangelical Church.

The Board requested the officers elected by the laymen during and for the session of the General Conference held in Milwaukee, to serve as officers of the newly created General Albright Brotherhood. With the aid of these officers, the Board of Religious Education prepared Constitutions for the General, the Annual Conference, the District, and the local Brotherhoods, adopted an emblem, prepared a charter, and provided suggested monthly programs for the Brotherhood.