One of the First American Dunkard Elders Peter Becker was a man with a vision who was willing to take a chance and go to the new world. He was one of the first Brethren leaders to come to America in the early 1700s. Peter was born in 1687 in Dillsheim, Germany, and later married Anna Dorothy Partman. During the 1714 disagreement in Creyfelt, Germany, Peter Becker became a leader who many looked up to for guidance. He was a quiet man and maybe not the best preacher; however, he was a great singer and fervent in prayer. There were many arguments over what they should believe and how they should show their beliefs.
Finally a group decided to come to America to get away from the persecution and disfavor they found in Germany. This group knew they took a big risk traveling so far into a strange and unsettled land, but they were willing to make the long journey. The trip across the ocean was very hard on the travelers due to storms, lack of food, and terrible conditions on the ship. As a result many people died on the journey. When they arrived in America, they still found it to be a hard life. Many of the early people had agreed to work for someone else in exchange for passage on the ship. Some had made a bargain for land only to find out when they arrived that there were certain things they had to do before they could own the land. Peter Becker was a weaver by trade who had twenty-three acres of land in Germantown. He planted the land in grains used for cereal and flax. The flax was spun into linen thread which he used in his weaving. Peter Becker's main job was to help the small group of Dunkard settlers to remember why they came to this strange new land and to form a congregation. For many months Peter and two friends spend time traveling to all the new settlers living around Germantown. They led worship services in the homes and encouraged them to new spiritual growth. When they went back to Germantown, they started regular services in Peter Becker's home and Gomorry's home. In August of 1723, they took a second mission tour going thirty-five miles up the Delaware River. Peter Becker's hard work became a reality on December 25, 1723, when he baptized the first six people in the Wissahickon Creek. Later that evening they had their first love feast in the new world. This group called themselves "First Fruits."
On May 5 we will be having our own love feast service. Perhaps the spirit of the first six baptized Dunkard members will be among us that evening as we follow the directions given to us by Jesus those many years ago in an upper room.