J. Douglas (Doug) Archer

Peace Studies, Global Affair and Political Science Librarian
Church of the Brethren Minister

Welcome. I am the Peace Studies, Global Affairs and Political Science Librarian at the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame serving as its liaison to the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Keough School of Global Affairs and the College of Arts and Letters' Political Science Department. For most of my library career I have also been a reference librarian (or as my wife might put it, a professional know-it-all). "No subject too obscure. We'll answer your question or find someone who can."

My interests include but are in no way limited to:

My professional involvement have included:

I am an ordained minister of the Church of the Brethren aka Dunkers, Dunkards, Neu Taufers or German Baptists (Official Site; Unofficial Site) and have been engaged in the "free" or plural ministry for the past 30 years. That is, my wife has been a pastor and I have been her unofficial assistant.

I am also something of an "ecumaniac" having worked with or in almost a dozen denominations and served on both local and state councils of churches, most recently, the Servant Board of Indiana Partners for Christian Unity and Mission (IPCUM). I grew up in the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. which originally ordained me and chose the Church of the Brethren primarily because of its peace tradition -- though a little family influence didn't hurt.

For the uninitiated, the Church of the Brethren is one of the historic peace churches with its origins in radical pietism and anabaptism. In 2003 it rededicated itself to being not only an historic peace church but a living peace church. We share a warm-hearted pietistic fervor with Methodists, a concern for obedient discipleship with Mennonites, and not a little bit of our theology with Baptists. We have traditionally affirmed the New Testament as our only creed and as our only guide to faith and practice. With that in mind, we have more recently described outselves as "continuing the work of Jesus, simply, peacefully, together."

We love to sing. While four part a cappella (unaccompanied) singing is still practiced by some if not many of our congregations, you are likely to find everything from pipe organs to guitars to praise teams with keyboards in our worship services -- depending upon which congregation you are visiting.

Not being inclined to systematic theological expressions, here are a few observations which hint at who we are.

  • As a denomination we are both evangelical and ecumenical being members of the national and world councils of churches.
  • The motto of one of our early leaders was "To the glory of God and my neighbors good."
  • We observe the Love Feast (full communion), a simple meal preceded by feetwashing and followed by the Eucharist.
  • It's been said that if you let a retired Brethren preacher's Bible fall open of its own accord, it will open to the Sermon on the Mount. I have tested this with my father-in-law's Bible; it's true.
  • If you appreciate irony, the little white, shot-up church on the Antietem battle field was a Dunker meeting house (AKA Dunker church). In Brethren usage, the meeting house is the building in which the church meets.
  • We used to dress a lot like the Amish but for most of us that was a century or so ago. Plain dress, the beard and the prayer covering are still worn by some but not many.
  • There's a practical reason for the weird beards. In the 1800s in the United States military you could have a beard with a mustache or a mustache by itself -- but not a beard by itself.
  • An old joke goes "Brethen go to their Annual Conference (think very large family reunion) with the Ten Commandments and a ten dollar bill -- and don't break either one."
  • Lastly, students in little Jeannie's class were asked to bring symbols of their faith to share during "show and tell." Kathy said "I'm Catholic" and held up a crucifix. Samuel said "I'm Jewish" and held up a Star of David. Jeannie said "I'm Brethren" and held up a cassarole.

Curriculum Vitae

Email: archer.1@nd.edu


114 Hesburgh Library
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 631-6656 voice
(574) 631-8887 fax

17345 Fergus Drive
South Bend, IN 46635
(574) 271-9573



Created: 6/4/95, Updated: 10/7/15. (http://www.nd.edu/~jarcher/index.html)