Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Peter Becker

Peter Becker was an early leader of the Brethren. He joined the church in Creyfelt, Germany in 1714 and in 1719 led the first migration of Brethren to America. From the arrival in America until his death in 1758, Becker provided leadership to the Brethren. He was a weaver by trade and owned twenty-three acres of land in Germantown which he cultivated in cereals and flax.

In 1720 he had an apprentice named Conrad Beissel who would later make a name for himself among the Brethren, but that's another story. Beissel lived in Becker's house for a year; then left for the Conestoga country where Becker baptized him and made him the head of the Conestoga church. The bitterest cup that Peter Becker had to drink came in 1728 when Beissel separated himself from the church to begin his own movement in Ephrata. Not only was there a large loss to the church, but Becker himself was personally attacked.

During these years, however, Becker was a faithful and steady leader of the Brethren despite the ongoing turmoil with Beissel and the Ephrata movement. It is said that from the time of this seaparation in 1728 until his death in 1758 the pious old man in his patient grief labored and wept in memory of the fateful events in the Conestoga country.

In 1747 Becker moved from Germantown to the Skippack and spent his remaining years living with his eldest daughter. Here he was happy and worshipped with the Indiana Creek congregation on the spot where a home was later built for Abraham H. Cassell - but that leads us to another story for tomorrow.

Source: A History of the German Baptist Brethren, Martin G. Brumbaugh