Many Brethren know that eight converts were baptized in the Eder River in Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708 with Alexander Mack as their leader. But what is not so commonly known is that the New Fairview congregation has a very direct connection to these early brethren.
After that beginning in 1708, this Anabaptist movement (rebaptism of adult believers) spread to other areas of Germany and Switzerland. To be an Anabaptist was against the law and brought severe punishment. So, because of their faith, early Brethren were frequently forced to move to areas of greater tolerance.
As persecution intensified, Peter Becker, first moved from Dudelsheim, Germany to Krefeld, Germany and took refuge among Mennonites. In 1710, he then led the first group of Brethren to Germantown, Pennsylvania, and to freedom. He held the first baptism in America in 1723.
Alexander Mack lived in the mountains around Schwarzenau, Germany from 1718 until 1720. At that time, he led a group of Brethren to Surhuisterveen, Holland, where they also took refuge among the Mennonites. In 1729, Mack and his entire group moved to Germantown, Pennsylvania. Although the Germantown Church remained strong, the German farmers soon began to move west across America in search of more land.
The Conestoga Church of the Brethren in Lancaster Country was founded in 1724 by Brethren from Germantown. David Markey (sometimes spelled Merkey) (1729-1783), the ancestor of the Markey families at New Fairview, was baptized with his wife on May 3, 1752, into the Conestoga Church of the Brethren. Although David never resided in York Country, his son, Jacob Markey, moved here before 1782 and purchased a 150-acre farm in York Township.
The Codorus congregation was founded in 1758. Many of Jacob Markey’s descendants have been members of this fellowship, and, in 1909, the Codorus council voted to build an additional church house for their growing congregation. They chose the farm of David J. Markey, the grandson of Jacob Markey, and this congregation became known as New Fairview. In his will, dated 1911, David J. Markey bequeathed the church farm to the New Fairview congregation.
Today, that congregation has grown to over three hundred church members and has a ministry team made up of men called directly from the congregation into the role of pastor. They continue to perform full time jobs while serving the Lord as ministers in the church. This provides a real down to, earth application of the scriptures when sharing with church members and visitors.