The term “brethren” describes a range of Christian groups, some of which belong to a wider organisation while others are simply one local group. The expression “Plymouth Brethren” is sometimes used in recognition of the fact that this type of group originated with a congregation formed in Plymouth in 1831.

Among many varieties, most Brethren have some elements in common:
1) a conservative Evangelical theology, with great emphasis on the Bible;
2) no professional ordained ministry;
3) meeting place usually called “Gospel Hall”;
4) simple form of worship, usually called “breaking of bread”;
5) men and women sit separately in worship, and women are not allowed to preach or teach.

There are groups of “Exclusive Brethren” who separate themselves completely from other Christians. Others often distinguish themselves from these by calling themselves “Open Brethren”.

For Brethren congregations in the Faith Wales area, click here.


The Chaplaincy to the University of Glamorgan provides the following information from its own researchers. Each page has been checked by the chaplaincy advisor from the relevant faith group. Within every major religion, there are differences of opinion between leaders, and between leaders and followers. We only aim to provide an overview.