Founder of The Church of the United Brethren of Christ, one of the predecessor branches of The United Methodist Church. Otterbein (1726-1813), a native of Germany, was ordained in the German Reformed Church. He came to the United States in 1752 and served as pastor of the Reformed congregations in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1774 he became the pastor of an independent Reformed congregation in Baltimore, Maryland, which he served until his death. He had close ties with the American Methodists and assisted in the ordination of Francis Asbury at the Methodist Christmas Conference of 1784. Otterbein became a leader of a small group within the Reformed Church seeking to promote a spirit of inward piety. In 1800 The Church of the United Brethren in Christ was formed. Otterbein, along with Martin Boehm was elected bishop. The relationships between the leaders of this church and The Methodist Episcopal Church were close. The Church of United Brethren in Christ merged with The Evangelical Association in 1946 to form The Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1968 The Evengelical United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist Church to form The United Methodist Church.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.