Scroll Top

Annual heritage sunday service
JOIN WITH US IN HARMONY!

Music led by The Cornerstone Ensemble under the direction of Lynwood Petre

}}
Sunday, September 8th @ 2:00 p.m.
4730 Oxford Rd., York Springs, PA 17372
Historic Rock Chapel is the oldest Methodist church west of the Susquehanna River.

A congregation had developed in the area around 1770, worshipping on the Peter Group farm, half a mile east of the current building. In 1773, the cornerstone was laid for a new building. Construction was abandoned for a time due to financial issues, but the building was completed in 1776.

Circuit-riding preachers came from great distances to serve the growing congregation from time to time and local laymen served as “Class Leaders” who looked after the spiritual welfare of their charges between those visits. One such Class Leader walked from his home near Idaville to the Chapel for class, went to the Group’s home for dinner, and then to Bendersville for another class and then to his own home, completing a circuit of some 20 miles. Other members rode on horseback from East Berlin to attend class at the Chapel. Wagons frequently came with loads of twenty or more for class or for worship. Truly, Rock Chapel was an important destination for people from all over the county.

There seems to be no record of whether the building was in need of repair or was just too small for its growing membership, but in 1848 a committee was formed to investigate the cost of reconstructing the chapel. The double-doored chapel was completed in 1849 by Jacob A. Myers at a cost of $800.00. In later years, the doors were closed up and the central windows became the single door at the entrance of the chapel.

Dr. Peck, who later became Bishop, preached at the laying of the new cornerstone. The graveyard was established in connection with the Chapel after its rebuilding.

During the Civil War, woolen blankets from Heikes’ woolen mill were hidden in the attic of Rock Chapel to protect them from confiscation by General Ewell’s Confederate troop encamped at Starrytown (now Heidlersburg).

Rock Chapel continued to thrive for several decades, but as population shifted and families moved away from the area, the decision was made to close the chapel and its members joined with the congregation in nearby York Springs. Through the ensuing years, hundreds of Adams County families counted Rock Chapel as a significant place in their lives, from the cradle roll to their final resting place in its burying ground.

A Heritage Service is held the second Sunday of September each year and a traditional candlelight worship service is held each year on Christmas Eve.

Historic Rock Chapel is the oldest Methodist church west of the Susquehanna River.

A congregation had developed in the area around 1770, worshipping on the Peter Group farm, half a mile east of the current building. In 1773, the cornerstone was laid for a new building. Construction was abandoned for a time due to financial issues, but the building was completed in 1776.

Circuit-riding preachers came from great distances to serve the growing congregation from time to time and local laymen served as “Class Leaders” who looked after the spiritual welfare of their charges between those visits. One such Class Leader walked from his home near Idaville to the Chapel for class, went to the Group’s home for dinner, and then to Bendersville for another class and then to his own home, completing a circuit of some 20 miles. Other members rode on horseback from East Berlin to attend class at the Chapel. Wagons frequently came with loads of twenty or more for class or for worship. Truly, Rock Chapel was an important destination for people from all over the county.

There seems to be no record of whether the building was in need of repair or was just too small for its growing membership, but in 1848 a committee was formed to investigate the cost of reconstructing the chapel. The double-doored chapel was completed in 1849 by Jacob A. Myers at a cost of $800.00. In later years, the doors were closed up and the central windows became the single door at the entrance of the chapel.

Dr. Peck, who later became Bishop, preached at the laying of the new cornerstone. The graveyard was established in connection with the Chapel after its rebuilding.

During the Civil War, woolen blankets from Heikes’ woolen mill were hidden in the attic of Rock Chapel to protect them from confiscation by General Ewell’s Confederate troop encamped at Starrytown (now Heidlersburg).

Rock Chapel continued to thrive for several decades, but as population shifted and families moved away from the area, the decision was made to close the chapel and its members joined with the congregation in nearby York Springs. Through the ensuing years, hundreds of Adams County families counted Rock Chapel as a significant place in their lives, from the cradle roll to their final resting place in its burying ground.

A Heritage Service is held the second Sunday of September each year and a traditional candlelight worship service is held each year on Christmas Eve.

OUR MISSION

Rock Chapel is a historic site of the Susquehanna Conference UMC, administered by the Conference Commission on Archives and History and in agreement with the local Historic Rock Chapel Society.  The Society is made up of a group of local individuals with a desire to preserve and maintain this historic property.  More information about the use of the church and the Society may be obtained by email at rockchapelys@gmail.com.