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Harrington news

PDA brochure; church to be "chapel"


--Photo courtesy of Ed Haugan.

The Zion Rocklyn United Methodist Church near Harrington will become a chapel in July.

PDA brochure

At the monthly meeting March 21, Heather Slack presented the draft of a brochure she has been working on to the group, hoping to obtain suggestions or notification of omissions to be included and presented again at the informal meeting on March 27. The focus of the brochure is tourism, local activities and amenities. It was noted that we need to highlight the golf course, Fall Festival, Cruizin' Day, the availability of downtown high-speed Internet, the city library, our small and safe public school, the indoor swimming pool, Memorial Hall, the Opera House, the Bed & Breakfast, the Studebaker Shop, Harrington Food Mart and Harrington Truck & Auto with hardware.

The group specifically made a differentiation between their brochure and the type of brochure that the Chamber intends to prepare, which would be directed toward newcomers to town. Heather Slack has subscribed to a service that provides videos on topics pertaining to making the most out of the downtown area and its buildings. At this week's meeting Slack presented the tri-fold brochure in its completed form. She also brought a video which addresses the issue of buildings being used only for storage and ways to encourage owners to free them up for useful store fronts. A discussion followed with ideas and comments regarding promoting our community. Those present were Josh Steward (president), Heather Slack, Bunny Haugan, Karen Robertson, Dillon Haas, Jay Gossett, Peter Davenport and Tim Tipton.

At the March 27 meeting, 15 buildings were identified with street address, familiar name of building, owner and contact number for each. Of these buildings, several have minimal use, such as the old Harrington Drug Store, the HOHS Rummage Room, Old City Hall (part-time residence), Doc Wagner's (rentals), and Red Turner Insurance (part-time office space). Two are in current transition: the Electric Hotel and the Grange building. The following full-time operating businesses in the historic district were not included on the list: US Bank, Harrington Food Mart, Ray Harrington and Harrington City Hall.

Zion Rocklyn United

Methodist Church transition

A historic process is about to unfold. Rather than forcing the Zion Rocklyn United Methodist Church to close its doors, the United Methodist Church Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, through its Inland District, has given the Church authority to transition from "church" to "chapel." A closing worship service will be held July 9, 2017. "At that point this ministry will transition to become "Rocklyn Zion Community Chapel" under the direction of a five-person local Board of Directors as a separate non-profit corporation and 501(c)3, whereby they can continue to host special events (hymn sings, weddings and funerals, etc.)." The initial Board of Directors will be made up of Dee Kern, Janice Kruger, Peter or Paulette Meldahl, Judy Mielke and Eva Truscott.

The letter sent out by the Inland District further states: "First, let me say that I know such a decision comes only after much evaluation of our current status and future potential and in thanksgiving for all the church has meant to so many disciples of Jesus Christ over the many years of its history. Having worked with the loving and gracious members of Rocklyn Zion United Methodist Church, I know that you are also grieving the loss of something precious to all of you. However, I want to commend this decision. It is a decision of good stewardship, genuine knowledge of what a church is to be, and a real concern for vital discipleship. By making this decision you have witnessed to your faith in a God who is not restricted to one building or one community and in a God who reigns through changing times and demographics. Thank you for reminding all of us that good stewardship is not clinging to the past but moving into the future with faith and assurance. We are blessed by your strong witness. The process for completing a church's ministry will be communicated with your current pastor, Rev. Michelle Mitchell, and we will follow our United Methodist Church Book of Discipline....I hope this letter is helpful to your understanding of this process. I will pray God's rich blessings to be especially clear to you as you journey through this ending to a new beginning. [Signed] Rev. Gregg Sealey. Inland District Superintendent."

The original history of this church, written jointly by Helen Mielke Sandygren and her father Ed Mielke, begins with these sentences: "The first German Methodist church was organized about fourteen miles southwest of Cottonwood Springs in Washington Territory, now Davenport, Washington, in the Fall of 1883. Since there was no church building, the services were held in the home of Gottlieb and Mina Mielke for the first six years. Those were the days when travel was made possible only by horses and wagons, however the people had a mind to worship the Lord. Many even walked or rode horseback to attend services. Until a pastor could be secured, the services were conducted by the Laymen: Ludwig Hoffman, Gottlieb Mielke and August Bursch. These Laymen corresponded with the District Superintendent Friederich Bonn of Portland, Oregon and who was at that time called the Presiding Elder. He came to visit the church services which these sincere Christians were conducting and was impressed with their noble efforts. He immediately made plans to secure a missionary minister for this field. The first pastor was Rev. Adam Buehler who came from Michigan. He arrived with his good wife and family on June 15, 1884."

For more than 111 years Christians have lifted their voices to sing of God's love, grace and mercy in this building. This April, another hymn sing will be held at the Zion Rocklyn United Methodist Church. The public is welcome to come.


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