Why are you named the “Plymouth Brethren Christian Church”?

In the early nineteenth century in England, many men and women were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the Anglican Church and its forms and customs.

This diverse group of dissatisfied Christians wanted to follow the teachings of the New Testament, centred on the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion). This fellowship, or “Brethren”, focused on the individual’s direct relationship with God.

Some of the most prominent teachers of the Brethren were living in Plymouth, England. By 1829 the first permanent meetings had been held in simple meeting rooms and the members adopted the name Plymouth Brethren.

What makes Plymouth Brethren any different to other Christians?
Established for more than 180 years, the Plymouth Brethren are a mainstream Christian Church. Like many Christian churches, our Church is centred on the Holy Bible which we believe is the true Word of God and provides us with invaluable guidance for our lives.

The only significant difference between Plymouth Brethren and other Christians is we make a commitment to eat and drink only with those with whom we would celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

That said, of course we live and work with people of all walks of life in our local communities, and help and care for our neighbours, just as they help us

Can anyone become a Plymouth Brethren?
The majority of our members are born into our Church. However, anyone who is prepared to commit to our beliefs and way of life is welcome to join our Church. Many of our members have made this commitment and remained with our Church.
What is the role of Women in the workforce?

Both men and women are well educated and contribute in a variety of roles in the workplace. Family businesses employ both brethren and non-brethren employees who work together. There are many women who enjoy working as well as many who work within the home or a combination of both. Many women are business owners. 

What is the role of Women in the Church?

Women play an important role in the Church, and are fundamental to gatherings and meetings. They are involved in all aspects of Church life. 

How often do members attend church?
Every Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the Plymouth Brethren community celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This is a very special and important day. This is followed by a Bible reading and then gospel preaching.

Throughout the week, bible readings, prayer and other meetings are held and attended by many Plymouth Brethren families.

I have noticed that Plymouth Brethren Christian Churches do not display crosses or pictures of Jesus. Why?
We emphasise the moral or spiritual bearing of the Cross on our hearts and on our lives, so we don’t physically represent these symbols on or in our churches.
Do members celebrate Easter and Christmas?
We look forward to and appreciate Public Holidays just like every other Australian as an opportunity for family time. However, we don’t religiously observe any particular holidays. Instead, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) each week.
Can Plymouth Brethren children attend the same schools as non-Plymouth Brethren children?
Like many religions across Australia, the Plymouth Brethren have established our own school network – OneSchool. Brethren families highly value education so we have set up schools for Brethren children throughout the world. Brethren children attend government schools for the first three years of their schooling and then attend OneSchool for the remainder of their primary schooling and then secondary schooling.

That said, both church members and non-members engage with our innovative and progressive digital learning environments. Our staff at our schools are leading education experts and are non-Church members. Our schools look and are like any other schools in the country. A point of difference is that we don’t teach religion in schools, as we believe that this is best undertaken at Church and at home.

Can members of the Brethren attend university?
Yes. Plymouth Brethren students who undertake university studies achieve their tertiary qualifications from universities or registered training organisations through online courses. Some of these courses include accounting and management. Many Brethren members then join family businesses.
I heard that members are prevented from using technology. Is this true?
No. Our school network, OneSchool, is built around technology rich classrooms. Plymouth Brethren children are taught at these schools by highly skilled teachers who use innovative and progressive digital learning methods.

Many of our members, especially those who work in family businesses use computers and phones at home, work and school.

Historically, Plymouth Brethren have been cautious in embracing new technologies in the digital age mostly to protect our children and vulnerable younger family members from images they may find troubling.

I read somewhere that members of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church don’t pay tax. Is this true?
No, this is not true at all! All our members pay tax just like all Australians who abide by their tax obligations.
Are Brethren businesses owned or controlled by the Church?
No. the Church does not run any businesses and does not employ anyone. Many Brethren members and their families own and operate their own businesses, and the Church has no legal, financial or any other interest in their businesses. Individuals and families who own businesses retain or spend their profits at their own discretion.

In addition, our Partners, such as UBT and OneSchool are not owned and operated by the Church. Instead, they have been set up and are run by Church members for the benefit of other Church members and non-members.

Does the Church support political parties?
Church members do not vote and the Church does not and has never made donations to any political party. Some of our individual members have donated to individual politicians, but this is to their discretion and they do not represent the Church’s view when doing so.
But I thought you were called the 'Exclusive Brethren'?

Well, many years back we were commonly referred to that way, however, it wasn’t a name we came up with ourselves. We believe the term ‘Exclusive Brethren’ was coined by commentators outside of the Church some decades ago. The correct name we refer to, and prefer, is the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.