The History of Becks Evangelical Lutheran Church

In the 1700's, records were not kept in detail; so therefore, trying to compile a history of a church that is factual and accurate is a very formidable task. No one anticipated the great need of these records in the years to come.

In The History of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina, it states that the Rev. Adolph Nussman served Becks from 1773 to 1787. This suggests that there was a worshipping group at that time, the members of which had invited him to serve as their pastor.

It is unknown exactly when the congregation was formally organized. The deed for the land on which Becks was originally located was made on November 5, 1787. If there were a church and burial ground on the property when purchased in 1787 and since Pastor Nussman served at Becks beginning in 1773, it would not be very far in error if 1773 were chosen as a starting point for Becks Lutheran Church.

The first deed reads in part as follows:

"This indenture made November 5, 1787, between John Billings, doctor, and Leonard Smith, Etc. of the one part, and Martin Frank and Frederick Billings of the Profession of the Church of England, and David Smith and Henry Lookinbee of the Profession of the Church in the Dutch Settlement on Abbotts Creek, of the other part, "Witnenesseth that for five shillings --- hath sold --- all that piece or parcel of land, containing fifty-three acres, including the meeting house and burying grounds, near Abbotts Creek in said congregation."

The expression in the deed, "of the Church of England," refers to the Lutherans, and that of "the church in the Dutch Settlement" refers to the German Reformed. The first building was a log house, which was there when the land was purchased. It is possible that a second log structure was put up soon after the congregation was organized. It is not known exactly where and when the congregations became known as Becks Church (a union church) --- it was certainly sometime after 1787. They are known today as Becks Reformed Church and Becks Lutheran Church.

Two groups of Lutherans developed. One group belonged to the North Carolina Synod and the other belonged to the Tennessee Synod. For a period of time, the church was served by two pastors, one pastor serving the Tennessee group and another served the North Carolina group. According to the records, Pastor Henry Goodman from the Tennessee Synod began serving that group in 1832. In 1833, Pastor Daniel Jenkins came to serve these of the North Carolina Synod. These two groups continued until 1878.

About 1878, a frame building was erected. At about this time the Lutherans decided to build a church for themselves. Mr. George Hedrick, a member of the congregation, (Grandfather of Mr. Roy Beck) offered the gift of a lot, which adjoined the original tract of land. The Lutheran congregation accepted this gift and built a frame church on this property. This frame Church stood on the hill just below the present parsonage of Becks Reformed Church. In this old church, this congregation worshiped for many years.

During this time (around 1867), the Reformed congregation raised the question of Lutheran ownership in any part of the old church property, due to a lapse of time in appointing trustees to fill vacancies that had occurred in the Lutheran group. The reformed group referred this matter to the court, which upheld their contentions, so the property passed out of Lutherans hands after 90 years of undisputed ownership.

It appears that the Tennessee Synod congregation was instrumental in relocating the church on the property given by Mr. George Hedrick. At this time of moving to their own church, the North Carolina Synod congregation disbanded and united with other congregations.

In 1918, the North Carolina Synod and the Tennessee Synod merged into one. At the time of the merger in 1918, Becks Lutheran Church was a member of the Tennessee Synod and was being served by the Rev. J. M. Senter. At this time, the parish of which Becks was a part consisted of ---- Becks, Holly Grove, New Jerusalem and Lebanon Churches, Lexington and Emmanuel Church of Thomasville. (Emmanuel Church disbanded in 1925).

During these early years, Becks Lutheran Church closed for three months in the dead of winter because of impassable roads and because the church could not be heated during the severe cold weather. The regular schedule of worship services was once each month. Many of the people attended neighboring churches on the other Sundays so they participated quite regularly in a program of church activity.

After the merger --- the Rev. R. Bruce Sigmon came from the seminary to serve the parish of which Becks was a part. His ministry was on of keeping the flock together under their new Synodical connections. He labored faithfully and well until 1928.

Two men were most influential in the old church --- George Washington Beck --- who often came to church when no one else came. He served as Sunday School Superintendent, teacher and as church organist. He is given a great deal of credit for holding the church together through those years when it appeared that there was no future for the church. The other man whose influence was felt in the church was J. Ed Young, who supported the church liberally and gave it wise and sound counsel as it struggled along.

In 1928, the Rev. Roy L Fisher began his service as pastor of this parish. During his ministry, Becks Lutheran Church changed greatly. Perhaps the greatest change was the relocation of the church.

Shortly after Pastor Fisher's arrival the congregation, knowing that the replacement of their house of worship was a pressing matter, elected a committee composed of ---Dolph Hedrick, Thurman Briggs, Homer Young and Ivey Briggs. These men were charged with the responsibility of investigating the possibilities of building and also of relocation.

In searching for a place to relocate, several sites were under consideration. The deliberations finally narrowed down to a choice of one of three possible sites. One was across the road from the Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Lohr's old home place. Another choice was to remain at their present location, and the third possibility was to move further up Becks Church Road to the Bower property. The matter of relocation came to a congregational vote with the following results" , 9 voted to stay where they were, 17 voted to move to the Lohr property and 32 voted to move to the Bower property.

Now trustees were needed to hold the property that the congregation planned to purchase. Elected were J. Ed Young, Dolph Hedrick, and Thurman Briggs.

The congregation now purchased 6 1/4 acres of land from Mr. R. L. Bowers and here they planned to relocate their congregation and build a new house of worship. Several of today's members of Becks Church can remember helping to clear the property so definite building plans could be formulated.

Preliminary plans were finished, a design was adopted and the congregation awarded the contract for building the new church to G. W. Smith Lumber Company, Lexington. The amount of the contract and complete cost of the new church was $12,500 for a turnkey job. In 1937, the congregation moved into a modern edifice, well-equipped nave and a basement containing classrooms, fellowship area, a kitchen area, and room for a modern heating plant.

The Rev. Roy Fisher served until 1942 and was succeeded by the Rev. Charles F. Kyles. During Pastor Kyle's ministry, Becks Lutheran Church became an independent parish. Pastor Kyles left Becks in 1947.

The Rev. Dr. J. L. Morgan supplied the congregation in 1948.

The Rev D. B. Summers served at Becks from 1949 to 1968. Under his leadership, the congregation constructed a fellowship building including a kitchen, fellowship hall and office rooms in 1954. In 1959, a new parsonage was constructed.

In 1969, the parsonage was completely remodeled and air-conditioned. The church has been remodeled, air conditioned and modernized.

The Rev. Eldon D. Roever served as pastor at Becks from April of 1969 until his death April 1, 1989. The basement area which serves as Sunday school facilities, were air conditioned and renovated during this time. A carillon was added in 1989.

The Rev. David Keller Huddle began his ministry on July 16, 1990 and served until his retirement November 11 2007. The first change was the renovation of the parsonage into the "Complex," providing much needed office space, conference rooms, library, and work room. In 1991, the sanctuary and balcony were renovated.

In 1992, a long-range planning committee was formed and charged to look at future development of program facilities for the next ten years. A 1937 Moeller pipe organ was purchased from St. Stevens Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Hickory and was totally rebuilt by Harold Andrews. In September, Karl Kinard, Minister of Music at St. John's Lutheran, Salisbury, presented an organ concert for homecoming.

In 1993, the "adopt a highway" program was added to the community witness of Becks Lutheran Church. The exterior of the church was painted and a new sound system was installed in the sanctuary.

In 1994, a survey conducted by the Long Range Planning Committee led to the appointment of a Building and Development Committee by the Congregation Council. The first Seder Meal was held on Maundy Thursday of that year. The senior youth group took their first "big trip," traveling to Canada and New York State.

In the summer of 1994, the first Day Camp for K - 6th grades was held at Becks Lutheran Church. The congregation also voted to move forward with plans to construct a fellowship hall with kitchen, nursery, adult Sunday school classrooms, and basement area.

In 1996, a building committee was appointed. The Lutheran Laity Movement was hired to head the Capital Fund campaign with the theme "The Future is Now." Also this year, the first Octogenarian Sunday and luncheon was held, honoring all members 80 years of age or older.

In 1997, the "Hut" was relocated and on April 6, a ground-breaking services was held to begin construction on the new facility.

In July 1998, Becks Lutheran Church began a Parish Nurse Program - a healing ministry for the members of the congregation and the community. On August 16, the new 11,500 square foot fellowship and education building (FEB) was dedicated. The people of Becks Lutheran Church celebrated with a luncheon in the new fellowship hall.

On September 1, 2008 new pastors began their ministry at Becks. Kenneth Raymond (Ray) Sipe and his wife, Ruth Ann Sipe began their first call as co-pastors of Becks Lutheran Church. They were ordained and installed on September 3 in a special worship service held on that evening, with North Carolina Bishop Leonard H. Bolick presiding.