Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lower Stone Church, Rowan County, North Carolina

After visiting four churchyards in Davidson County to take pictures of the pierced gravestones, we continued south to Rowan County where two very rare stone churches stand.

The first church we went to was Grace Reformed and Evangelical Lutheran Church, known locally as Lower Stone Church because it sits lower on Second Creek than Organ (Zion) Church.


This church and its sister church, Zion Lutheran Church, were built by German settlers who came from Pennsylvania to Rowan County via the Great Trading Path. The land was acquired in 1775, but the church itself built in a style generally found in Pennsylvania and New Jersey wasn't built until 1795. The stone is granite, quarried nearby at the eponymously village of Granite Quarry.


The steeple was added in 1901 and the interior has been changed drastically since the church was originally built. I have to take that last one on faith as, like so many rural churches, the building is kept locked except when there are services being held.


Over the west door to the sanctuary is the following rhymed German inscription:

ST GEBAUT:
DIE KIRCH WELCHE IHR HIR AN SAUT
VON EINEM VOLCK SO GOTT ER KENDT:
UND SICH NACH IESUH CHRISTUM NENT:
DIE AUCH MIT IHM SIND EIN VERLEIBET:
UND SICH DIE REFORMRTEN SCHEIBET:
:1795:GNADEN:KIRCH:ENDE::

Translated to English:

“To the glory of God has been built, the Church which you behold, by a people who God confess, and name themselves after Jesus Christ, who are also incorporated with Him, and they call themselves The Reformed, 1795, Grace Church.”

4 comments:

Carolina said...

It just looks like a big, sturdy house. If it didn't have the steeple and a surrounding graveyard, you wouldn't have known it was a church. It would have been interesting to see what the inside looks like ;-)

Karen said...

Carolina: It does look just like the houses in the Pennsylvania/
Delaware area. If it didn't have that steeple and the churchyard, you'd be hard-pressed to think it was a church.

Carolina said...

I just noticed the ship's steering wheel in the steeple (I know that is probably attached to one or more bells) and have visions of someone taking place behind it and sailing the church away... Sorry, my imagination is taking over ;-)

Karen said...

Carolina: It is what the rope that rings the bell is attached to. I'm sure there is a technical name for it, but it does look like a ship's wheel.