you know? It's all built out of one rock!"
claim to fame of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rockton.
However, weekly worship and other activities by this community of faith
have a long history which has included literally rising from the ashes.
By the year
1857, there were enough Lutheran families living in the vicinity of
Rockton, but served by the pastor of the Luthersburg congregation, to
request the pastor to hold some services in Rockton. These were held from
time to time in the schoolhouse.
Joseph Arnold bought the old schoolhouse, which was converted into a
church. A congregation of 30 members was organized May 31, 1875, with Rev.
Edmund Manges, Pastor, and as part of the Luthersburg Parish. On August
24, 1876, the cornerstone was laid for a new frame church building, 38 by
60 feet, which cost $3,000 and was dedicated September 30, 1877. The
congregation purchased the lot on which the new church stood for $38.31
when the property was sold at sheriff's sale, January 16, 1878, to help
pay J. W. Arnold's debts.
building was dismantled in 1910 to make way for a new church. Although
also costing about $3,000, the 32- by 54-foot building was more elegant,
featuring a bell tower. When electricity became available in Rockton in
1927, the church was electrified.
On May 24,
1932, a fire started in the chimney of the house on the west side,
destroying all three buildings before being brought under control. Ken
Dressler and his dad carried the piano out of the church. The only other
items saved were the pulpit Bible and (of course) the offering plates. At
the invitation of Rev. Jason Hollopeter, services and Sunday School were
held at the Rockton Church of the Brethren.
September 11, 1932, the cornerstone was laid for the present building.
This was an ambitious undertaking, a little gem of a church with stone
walls, slate roof, and stained glass windows. William Overdorf was the
architect; John F. Carr, Jr., contractor; and LeRoy Orner was in charge of
construction. The stone for the building was all cut from a huge boulder
on the Anderson Creek side of town. John Peterson of Home Camp, his sons,
and a few others, did the stonemasonry.
didn't come cheaply. The completed church cost some $8,700, of which the
fire insurance provided $3,760. While the building was being erected, the
women of the church held chicken and noodle suppers to help with the
costs. It was dedicated February 26, 1933, and various improvements have
been made over the years. In 1965, Alice Pollock deeded the grove behind
the church to the congregation.
over a century, St. John's has been part of a Vacation Bible School which
is a wonderful joint ministry shared with our Church of the Brethren,
Baptists, and United Methodist neighboring churches.
faith community this is St. John's. Buildings have come and gone, but the
beautiful ministry of Jesus Christ and His love is the one foundation on
which St. John's looks to the future.
Any questions or comments about our
please e-mail Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org