You might call it old-time religion. A local religious leader — with 12 of his followers in tow — took to an out-of-the-way location for prayer and a time of teaching. That’s what Chaplain Greg Asimakoupoulos and a dozen residents from Mercer Island’s Covenant Shores retirement community did recently, when they held a religious service in a 19th century railroad car at the Northwest Railway History Center in Snoqualmie on June 26.
In addition to his homily, in which he compared the elements of the Christian faith to the various cars of a train, Asimakoupoulos led the group in singing an original hymn that he composed to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” The end of the service was marked by the singing of “America the Beautiful,” written by Katherine Bates while traveling by train across the country.
The impromptu service took place on the “Messenger of Peace” chapel car built in 1898 and operated by American Baptist Home Missions. The wooden church-on-rails provided church services for rural communities on the west coast for the first half of the twentieth century. The restored chapel car at the Snoqualmie museum is only one of four such portable churches still in existence in North America.
The field trip was part of a month-long railroad theme at Covenant Shores, which featured a display of model trains of residents, special programs on the history of railroading in America and the screening of a documentary on chapel cars.
See www.covenantshores.org for more.