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Philip William Otterbein

1726-1813. Co-founder of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.* He was born in Prussia, son of a Reformed minister, studied at Herborn, and was ordained to the ministry of the Reformed Church. In 1752 he responded to an appeal from Michael Schlatter to do missionary work in America. While serving as pastor to the German Reformed congregation of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he struggled earnestly in his attempts to preach a vital message, but felt inadequate in explaining how one might know the assurance of salvation. A moving spiritual experience brought him into a more complete awareness of salvation in Christ, and he began to preach with more power and effectiveness the need for every person to experience repentance and a new birth. He organized prayer meetings, trained laymen for evangelistic work, and worked closely with ministers of other denominations, including Methodist bishop Francis Asbury,* in whose consecration service he participated. Bishop and co-founder with Martin Boehm* of the United Brethren in Christ (1800), he served as minister of the German Evangelical Reformed Church in Baltimore from 1774 until his death.