On This Day in United Brethren History: February 25

In 1746, the German Reformed Church in Holland sent Rev. Michael Schlatter, originally from Switzerland, as a missionary to Pennsylvania. There weren’t enough German Reformed ministers to go around. So after five years in the New World, Schlatter returned to Europe to find more ministers.

Schlatter started out in Holland, and then went to the Herborn Academy in Germany, where German Reformed ministers were trained. On February 25, 1752, he submitted a list of six ministers he wanted to take to America. On that list, apparently, was the name of Philip William Otterbein, who would become one of the founders of the United Brethren church.

Schlatter and his six missionaries-to-be went to Holland, where they were examined and officially set apart as missionaries. (One of the original six backed out, but somebody else took his place.) Then, at the end of March 1752, their ship sailed for America. Four months later, they landed in New York.

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