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Voices raised in song at Rocklyn Zion


--Photo courtesy of Ruth Fromm.

Cheryl Mielke Beymer plays the organ for the "Hymn Sing" at the Rocklyn Zion Chapel on Sunday, April 29.

Rocklyn Zion

Chapel Hymn Sing

The Rocklyn Zion Chapel sits atop a hill about six miles northwest of Harrington, one of the most frequently photographed churches of the Pacific Northwest. Just under 40 persons attended the Rocklyn Zion Chapel hymn sing held at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29, the majority being 50 years of age or older. The youngest attendee was age 15. Descendants of the early German Methodist Church flock to the "chapel" several times a year and enjoy worshipping the Lord in song. As early as 2:30 p.m., Cheryl Mielke Beymer sat at the piano and played one familiar hymn after the next, concluding the prelude with "Blessed Assurance." Judy Mielke addressed the audience with a few historical comments about the church and its people, stating that the pioneers united as a church 135 years ago in 1883 and fellowshipped in their homes until 1889 when the first church was built at this location. The second church replaced it in 1905. Mielke introduced Pastor Kim Kruger, who also had roots in this early pioneer church. He opened the service with prayer.

Mielke introduced her sister, Cheryl Beymer, and asked her to play the old pump organ. In an example of "show and tell" Beymer explained a few of the basics of using the stops on the organ to change to tones. Playing "Trust and Obey," it was amazing the volume it had without amplification. Beymer than changed the stops and played the same song, so softly it was difficult to tell that it was the piccolo tone that was being demonstrated. She commented on the amount of energy it takes to pump the organ, and then played "Marching to Zion," a favorite for original church members and certainly a favorite with this audience.

A history of the German Methodist Church had been written by Ed and Helen Mielke in which the following was found: "In the Summer of 1889, a new church building was erected and completed for the dedication services which were held October 22, 1889. After this the church was known as the Zion German Methodist Church. Since most of the congregation was of German descent, all worship services, preaching, singing, and Bible reading was in the German tongue. In anticipation of completion of the building, a new reed pump organ was ordered from a company in Ohio. This organ arrived and was first used at the dedication service. The organ was a substantial improvement over the concertina and harmonica which had been used in the prior six years." Gottlieb Mielke played the organ for their first Christmas program in 1889.

Robert Mielke and Janice Kruger led the singing; the first selection was "Down at the Cross" followed by "Redeeming Love," "When We See Christ," "Onward Christian Soldier," "O Happy Day," "I'd Rather Have Jesus," "In My Heart There Rings a Melody," "I Love To Tell the Story" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The jubilant singing was reminiscent of enthusiasm and determination of the pioneers whose voices yet echo the music down through the ages.

Gerald Zellmer and Janice Kruger sang a duet entitled "Farther Along" accompanied by Linda Zellmer at the piano. The second selection of Hymn Picks began with "The King is Coming" and the power of the faith of those singing could cause one to believe that the veil between Heaven and earth would be opened. In that little chapel there was no doubt that the King could readily appear any moment. This triumphant song was followed by "I'll Tell the World That I'm a Christian," "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder," "Morning Has Broken," "Til the Storm Passes By," "Blessed Assurance," "How Great Thou Art," "Jesus Loves the Little Children," "The Love of God, "Rescue the Perishing" and "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power."

As is the habit, the congregation sang the benediction, "May the Lord, Mighty Lord, bless and keep you forever. Grant us peace, perfect peace, courage in every endeavor. Lift your eyes ands see His face, trust His grace forever. May the Lord, Mighty Lord, bless and keep you forever." Refreshments and fellowship followed the Hymn Sing as well as an invitation to contribute one's musical talents to the next event. Contact one of the board members to be added to the schedule: Dee Kern, Janice Kruger, Paulette Meldahl or Judy Mielke. The next Hymn Sing is planned for this fall, watch for local ad.

One of the early pages in the original German Methodist Church ledger was undated, making it difficult to use in the church history. The page was labeled "Record of Classes and Meetings." Those shown to be leaders at the Zion church were Jacob Buehler (brother to the Pastor Adam Buehler), Herman Knack, Ida Hoffman and Julius Hoffman. Meetings held at the Rocklyn School House were led by Geo. Maurer, Fred Huesman, Emiel Zellmer and Conrad Jenne. Several taught at Harrington, Christ Buob Jr., William Beck and S. Miller. Thomas Hubenthal taught at Colecreek, location not specified. F. Becker and John Merkel taught at Edwall, and two women taught, Maria Hubenthal and Emma Hoffman, but no location was given. The ledger contains lists of "probationers" and "members in full connection". It is most interesting to note that three of the most common names affiliated with the origin of the church were missing from the list: Mielke, Kruger and Bursch.


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