The “Plymouth Brethren” were named after the English seaside town of Plymouth, where a sizable number of Christians gathered during the early years of the movement.Early in 1825 in Dublin, Ireland, Dr. Edward Cronin and Edward Wilson began meeting together each Lord’s Day morning for the breaking of bread, worship, and study of the Word. Students of the Scriptures, these godly men could not feel at home nor find spiritual food and fellowship in the Anglican Church of Ireland and, since they did not believe in church membership (already being members of the Body of Christ), were not accepted in the relatively few dissenting and independent churches of the day.
In 1830, J. N. Darby left the Anglican priesthood and devoted himself full-time to forming and feeding similar small gatherings both in Ireland and England. They were heeding the Lord’s pronouncement in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” They were not seeking to start a movement of any kind, they were not in competition with existing churches, nor did they attempt to influence others to do as they were doing. Nevertheless, in 1827 the little flock included H. Hutchinson, Wm. Stokes, Lord Congleton, J.G. Bellett, and J. N. Darby–the latter being an ex-lawyer, and at the time a cleric in the Irish National Church.
Indian Sub-continent : The early ages of the Brethren movement had the vision of reaching the world with the Gospel of Peace – Jesus Christ and sent missionaries worldwide. It is coined in the pages of history that Anthony Norris Groves, had come to Andhra Pradesh, South India from England. This was followed by many revival meetings in the south by Tamil David and Handley Bird in late nineties of the nineteenth century AD. Then J. G. Gregson, a baptist missionary visited Kerala in 1896 and conducted numerous Bible studies and meetings organized by “MARTHOMA” Church. It was in 1897, he was a speaker at the “Maramon Convention.” By the power and leading of the Holy Spirit, he learned the Brethren doctrines and powered various sessions in the Marthoma Church. The Marthoma Vicar(vicar of Kumbanad and Eraviperoor parishes), Rev. P. E. Mammen was then born into God’s family and in the year 1897, he (Kumbanattachen), received baptism from a Brethren missionary, Hardley Bird, at Kunnamkulam. The first Brethren assembly meeting in Travancore took place at Kumbanad on 19th March 1899 V. Nagel, the missionary from Germany was leading the flock in the Northern part of Kerala – Kunnamkulam in Thrissur Dist and observered the Lord’s Supper according to the New Testament pattern.
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