Directory of Evangelical Churches




Brethren Asemblies

Assemblées de Frères

Brethren assemblies are autonomous, having no federation of churches.

The web site Filéo provides a means of contact between such assemblies.

Even though it is generally accepted that the first brethren assembly was formed in Dublin in 1827, this was only one example of a wind of revival that was blowing throughout Europe at that time. Small groups of believers started forming, placing the emphasis on three points:

This revival touched Ireland, the south of England, Switzerland, Germany, Italy...

In France, small assemblies were often started in farms: in the Haute-Loire, the Drôme, the Béarn, and the East of France in particular.

These groups received various names in the different regions: brethren in England, “momiers” in Switzerland, Pietists in the area round Montbéliard.

John-Nelson Darby, born in 1800, encountered these assemblies in Ireland and then in England. He became a preacher, travelling a lot, and even translating the Bible into English, French and German.

It was following a disagreement in 1848 that the movement was split in two: open brethren (CAEF in France) and exclusive brethren (who followed Darby, hence the name “Darbyite”). The exclusive brethren are stricter, especially in relation to those who are able to take part in the communion celebration.

In the twentieth century, the movement held its own with more or less success in the English-speaking countries where it started, and progressed especially in the mission field (several hundred assemblies in Egypt, in Congo, ...).

In the 1990s the “Assemblées de frères d’Europe francophone” (Brethren assemblies of French-speaking Europe), now linked together by the web-site Fileo, distanced themselves from the more exclusive branch in an effort to regain the momentum of the beginnings of the movement without being constrained by a conception too strict or too lax.

They practise open fellowship, seeking to remain closer to the original form of brethren assemblies: no preparation for services or for sermons, participation of all brethren and shared leadership.