Otterbein, Philip William [key], 1726–1813, German-American clergyman, a founder of the United Brethren in Christ. After pastoral work in Germany, he emigrated (1752) to America as a missionary of the German Reformed Church. In association with Martin Boehm, whom he met c.1768, he carried on successful evangelistic work, mainly in the German settlements of Pennsylvania and Maryland. His influence was widespread, especially after he became pastor of an independent congregation in Baltimore known as the Evangelical Reformed Church. While remaining a member of the German Reformed Church, Otterbein played a leading role with Boehm and a small group of lay preachers in laying the foundations (1789) of a denomination to be known as the United Brethren in Christ (later the Evangelical United Brethren Church), of which he and Boehm were elected bishops in 1800. Otterbein College is named for him.
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