The road from Germany's famed
Black Forest to the spectacular Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen enters
Switzerland at an unpretentious village called Schleitheim. Most
travelers pass through it hurriedly on their way to the great
For us, the town and the name of Schleitheim holds a greater
interest, for it was here that in February 1527 an important
meeting of Swiss and South German Anabaptists took place. According
to tradition Michael Sattler called for and presided over the
meeting. The young Anabaptist movement was in danger of disintegrating
under the pressure of violent persecution from the outside and
of the sharp difference of opinions from within.
course of the assembly the various factions came to unity and
published their views in a pamphlet called The Brotherly Union
(or Agreement), a confession of faith.
With this document the free and
spiritual movement of the Swiss Brethren was shaped into an orderly
and well-organized fellowship. Had this meeting not taken place
at this time the Anabaptist movement might well have died with
its visionary leaders. Now the Anabaptists had a platform from
which to resist the bloody persecution of the Christian nations,
the well-written slander of their state church opponents, and
the deviation of fanatics trying to use the movement to their
Purpose, February 6, 1977, pp. 4-5.
to Resolutions Index