Hymn sing at the old planned church | Community News

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A traditional hymn singing is scheduled for Sunday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Rock Chapel Methodist Church, 4730 Oxford Road, York Springs.

The public is invited to witness the singing of the traditional old-fashioned hymn and help launch the annual Bluegrass Gospel Concert Series sponsored by the churches of Upper Adams County.

The singing of the anthem will be led by a local family of nine. A voluntary offering will be taken and will go to the maintenance and restoration of the church.

Anyone who likes to sing along to old-time favorites is invited to attend.

About Historic Rock Chapel Methodist Church

Located one mile north of Heidlersburg, the cornerstone of Rock Chapel, the first Methodist Episcopal Church in Adams County, was laid in 1773, but the chapel was not completed until 1776 due to a lack of funds. The structure has been used as a sheepfold in the meantime.

During the Civil War, when General Ewell’s Confederate troops were encamped in Heidlersburg (formerly Starrytown), blankets from Heike’s woolen mill were hidden in the attic of the chapel to protect them from Confederate confiscation.

From 1815 to 1849, the congregations were numerous. Revivals were frequent and extensive. Membership has embraced many of the area’s top families. The circuit of which Rock Chapel was a part stretched from Waynesboro to York, numbering about 40 congregations. Rock Chapel had more members, except for Gettysburg, than any other class on the circuit.

The chapel was rebuilt in 1849 by Jacob A. Myers at a cost of $800. A surviving cemetery was created at this time and is known as ‘God’s Acre’. At the turn of the century and as the years passed and populations changed, the congregation dwindled. Membership was three in 1967, and the church was officially closed in 1982. It is currently in the care of York Springs United Methodist Church. Annual events are held, such as a hymn singing in June, a heritage service on the second Sunday in September, and candlelight services on Christmas Eve. The church is available for visits and weddings.

Rock Chapel is the oldest United Methodist church west of the Susquehanna and is recognized by the State of Pennsylvania as a Historic Landmark. In 2021, the church underwent extensive interior renovations, but remains much as it did then.

Committee members are Pastor Trish Guise; Cindy Sowers, President; Vern Cook, Treasurer; Jerry McCauslin and Alan Yeignst.

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