The first Baptist church with members baptized as believers was founded in 1609 in Amsterdam. From there Baptists spread mainly to England and America. In 1834 Johann Gerhard Oncken was baptized in the river Elbe in Hamburg and founded the first German Baptist church there. It was the root for Baptist churches in the whole of Germany and mainland Europe.
The Brethren movement began around 1830 in England. The most important Brethren gathering in Germany was founded 1853 in Elberfeld. The Brethren’s aim was to practise the unity of the Christian Church outside of all the organized religious institutions. This was mostly done in the Lord’s Supper. In the late 19th century the Open Brethren were formed. As opposed to the Exclusive Brethren they practise an open Lord’s Supper, which means that Christians of other denominations can take part. The Association of Brethren congregations (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Brüdergemeinden) within the BEFG follows this tradition.