Zion celebrated our past, present and future as the Red Rose Church in a festive outdoor service of worship on June 13, 2021. Since we were unable to "pay the rent" owed to descendants of benefactor Henry William Stiegel in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, we paid two red roses as our rent this year.
Stephanie Stover Carroll from Media Pennsylvania received the rose rent for 2020, and sister Stacy Stover Prince from Kensington Maryland received the rose rent for 2021. Both are 9th generation descendants of Henry William and Elizabeth Holz Stiegel. 8th, 9th, and 10th generation descendants were in attendance!
2020 Festival of the Red Rose
On June 14, 2020, Zion celebrated a drive in version of the Festival of the Red Rose. We give thanks to the generations who have gone before us in faith at Zion, and for God's faithfulness today. Amidst the cornavirus pandemic, we found a creative way to remember the past and to pray for God's future. On June 13, 2021 Zion will "pay rent" for two years to the Stiegel heirs.
Story behind the Festival of the Red Rose
In 1772 at a time when Henry William Stiegel was at the zenith of his career, he, with his wife, conveyed to their fellow Lutherans in Manheim a plot of ground on which to build a church - for five shillings and "in the month of June yearly forever hereafter the rent of One Red Rose if the same shall be lawfully demanded."
Whether the rent of a red rose was actually ever paid to Stiegel is in doubt although persistent tradition is that twice the token payment was made. Certain it is that this sentimental and lovely red rose payment was virtually forgotten until 1892, one hundred twenty years after the deed containing the red rose clause was written. In that year, a local physician, J. H. Sieling, conceived the unique idea that a churchly all-day festival might well be built around a revival of the payment of one red rose to a descendant of Stiegel, if such a one could be found. Thus the Festival of the Red Rose was instituted and a Stiegel descendant in the person of John C. Stiegel of Harrisonburg, VA came to Manheim in 1892 to receive one red rose from Zion Lutheran congregation. Since that year, on each selected Sunday in June, the congregation of Zion Lutheran Church pays the debt of one red rose to a selected Stiegel descendant in the ancient deed of seventeen hundred seventy-two.
Henry William Stiegel is one of the most celebrated characters in Lancaster County history; and as long as the Festival of the Red Rose is annually observed and as long as the major museums of our land continue to honor Stiegel by exhibiting the lovely glassware which came from his Manheim glassworks, the story of Stiegel and his town of Manheim will continue to illuminate the ages of history.