The Origins of Our Name:
Peter Becker Community
The community was named after an early Anabaptist minister who began the Brethren Church in this country. His heart full of song, love and concern for his fellows produced a vital church and many dedicated followers. It is to his memory that we celebrate our Mission today, amongst seniors of all faiths.
The Peter Becker Story
Peter Becker was an early anabaptist, who, longing for religious freedom and liberty of conscience, withstood an arduous ocean voyage from Germany and, along with twenty other families from the Brethren Church, landed in Pennsylvania in 1719.
The voyage was almost certainly blessed by the constant, fervent prayer of its leader, Becker, who ministered to the sick with tender meditations and sweet song. Becker was a gifted singer. One can only imagine the songs he might have sung to his weak and weary band of refugees as they endured the seemingly endless days aboard ship. But their goal was freedom from the religious persecution they had endured in Germany, where in 1648, the Catholic, Reformed and Lutheran churches were declared the only official state churches. Becker and his fellows were Pietists, as unwelcome as the Mennonites and Schwenkfelders, and suffered imprisonment, torture, murder, and exile into insane asylums.
|The first four years in their newly adopted country of America were spent in Germantown, Philadelphia and the surrounding region. Land was purchased and business and trade were established. Becker himself was a weaver, but his love of Christ and dedication to his church made him ever mindful of his duty and obligation to the God who had saved him once from persecution and once from the heartache of church division. He determined that he would begin anew the Brethren Church in America and kept his vow four years after arriving in Germantown.
Becker traveled throughout the territory gathering together his flock, preaching Christ, converting souls and organizing them into congregations. Within a short time, Becker had established churches not only in Germantown, but in Skippack, Falckner's Swamp and Oley as well.
Peter Becker died in Skippack (a small village near Harleysville) in 1758. At the time, he was living with one of his daughters, Mary Becker Harley. Becker lived to see his fledgling Brethren Church in America become strong in numbers and deep in dedication.
His grave is at the Klein Meeting House and Cemetery, a small plot of land that is surrounded by the PBC campus and maintained by the Indian Creek Church of the Brethren.