First United Methodist Church of Arroyo Grande

Thanks to Bill, Kevin, and Chuck for these photos.

Some links/resources

"Emmanuel" Chapel Car

Chapel Cars of America

God Rides The Rails: Chapel Cars On The Nations Railroads

A church on wheels; or, ten years on a chapel car

Chapel Car Everlasting (a for-profit wedding service on rails in Wisconsin)

Pictures of Chapel Car Grace

This Train Is Bound for Glory (if you want to buy one book, this is the one)

This Train is Bound for Glory

April 30, 2011

"Chapel Cars" once ran on the rails of the old west, bringing spirituality and morality "to an untamed world". This was a unique opportunity to learn about and experience this piece of church history from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Sunday services, Sunday Schools, weddings, funerals, and everything in between were held on chapel cars as they moved on the railroad from town to town. We met at 9:00am at the headquarters of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad (at the site of the old sugar mill in Betteravia) for a continental breakfast and slide show presentation by Jamie Foster called "This Train Is Bound for Glory". Following the presentation, we boarded the La Condesa, a vintage Pullman observation car, for a train ride along the SMVRR, including an en-route worship service led by Pastor David Burgeson and Rev. Bill Foster (Jamie's Dad).

See photos from 2009, too.

9:00am - 10:00am
At the headquarters of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad (Betteravia).
Continental breakfast.
Chapel car slide show and talk by Jamie Foster and Barry Hague.

10:15am - 12:30pm
Train Excursion aboard the La Condesa, a 1926 Pullman observation car, along the SMVRR including an on-board worship service.


Hymn for Chapel Car Evangel

Roll on thou bright "Evangel".
Be thine the glorious aim
To spread abroad the story.
The joyous news proclaim;
Tell of our Lord’s great mercy,
Tell how he longs to bring
The lost from sin’s dark thralldom,
To own him Lord and King.
Roll on thou bright "Evangel".
Go like the flying wind
Til all shall know of Jesus,
The Savior of mankind.
Across the great wide prairie,
By mountains sloping height
Sing songs of our Redeemer
The darkened worlds great light.
Seek out the weak, the erring.
Seek with an earnest hand
Guiding unto the glory.
Of our Immanuel’s land.
And thou, O great Jehovah,
Our own true leader be
Thou who hast led and
leadest To all eternity.

Scripture Reading:
II Corinthians 8:16-19
John 21:15-18

Sing: This Train Is Bound For Glory

"Wilderness to Promised Land"

Rev. Bill Foster

Scripture Reading:
Psalm 119:9-16

Message: "The Word"
Pastor David Burgeson

Hymn for Chapel Car Emmanuel

Sweep on oh car of light.
God bless thy holy flight.
On thy wheels bring Peace
to the troubled breast,
And to the weary rest;
Glad for thy mission blessed,
The angels sing.
Roll ore the mountains height,
Roll to the waters bright.
The distant sea;
Visit the lonely vale,
Outfly the wintry gale,
Thy errand will not fail,
God moves with thee.
Ride on triumphant Lord,
Thy spirit and thy word
Shall speed thy way;
Scatter the shades of night,
Command, "Let there be light",
Gird on thy sword of might
And win the day.
Salvation’s chariot, roll
On, till from pole to pole.
Christ reigns alone;
Till darkness turns to day,
Till earth shall choose his sway,
And all its trophies lay
Before his throne.

Invitation to "Get on Board" with Jesus the Christ

The Great Thanksgiving
(see insert)

Holy Communion