On September 2, 1919, John and Grace (Timmer) Breen became the parents of Rev. Peter Breen. Rev. Breen was born on a farm east of Coopersville, Michigan. Coopersville is located fourteen miles west of Grand Rapids.
As a student, Rev. Breen attended two one-room country schools. They were each located east of Coopersville. He also attended and graduated from Coopersville High School. Nine years after he graduated from high school, Rev. Breen became a student at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
While he was growing up Rev. Breen enjoyed playing softball. He a1so enjoyed going hunting and trapping. Now he reads, goes for walks in the country, and he also follows the athletic contests of his grandchildren.
Rev. Breen is married to Pauline Stegenga. The Lord has given them five children and twenty two grandchildren. Two of their sons are pastors of churches.
Regarding peer pressure, Rev. Breen says, “Just at the close of the 1932 Depression, there was always a shortage of money. One learned to do without. One of the common activities young people practiced was to chivalry newlyweds. I felt I had to discontinue going to chivalries because some young people started to use dynamite to create noise and confusion.”
There was a nine-year gap between Rev. Breen’s high school graduation and his entrance into college because he tried to resist the call to enter the ministry. Some of his family and friends were surprised when they learned he would attend seminary. His widowed mother, who often prayed that one of her sons would enter the ministry, was pleased. As a seminary student, Rev. Breen had summer appointments. He spent one summer in South Dakota and another summer in the inner city of Chicago.
In 1952, Rev. Breen was ordained a minister of the Word. His first charge was Corinth Reformed Church in Byron Center, Michigan. In 1957, he became the pastor of First Reformed Church in Fremont, Michigan. The Lord then called him to Calvary Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1967. His labors in Fourth Reformed Church began in 1979. In 1984, he began his labors in the Orthodox Reformed Church in Grand Rapids Michigan. In 1993, Rev. Breen became Minister Emeritus of the Word in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Rev. Breen’s most memorable experience teaching young children catechism was teaching first graders. “One of my first graders asked me repeatedly to draw a picture of the subject we were discussing. Many spiritual truths cannot be illustrated by a picture.”
During his labors as pastor in the churches he served, Rev. Breen saw many young men enter the ministry. He thinks there were eleven in all. This was rewarding for him to see.
To young men considering the ministry as their calling, Rev. Breen says, “Appreciate our standards and preach the word with enthusiasm and sincerity.”
Rev. Breen would like to see the young people have “an intolerance for the use of tobacco and alcohol and attempt to discourage their peers from the use of it.” He also wishes the young people of our churches would have more appreciation for the Christian education they receive.
Rev. Breen is encouraged to see the young people attending conventions and singing Psalms. He also likes to see the encouragement they give to their peers when they make confession of their faith.