Elim Lutheran Church

Organized March 22, 1884, in the log house of Ambrosius Hokanson. Built in 1893.
Dedicated in 1899.

“And they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water
and three score and ten palm trees, and they encamped
there by the waters.” Exodus 15:27

Charter Members of Elim

Pastor L. O. Lindh and family
Ambrosius Hokanson and family
Alex Mattson and family
John Miller and family
John Coleman and family
Sven Bloom and family
August Johnson and family
S. S. Freeberg and family
Andrew Hongel and family
Claus Bloom and family
Christopher Olson

Prior to 1880, the area now known as Hockinson was a virtual wilderness. Drawn by the fertile valley, mild climate and cheap land, men and women in search of land and homes began to arrive.  Many of these first pioneers were sailors from northern Europe:  Finns from the mainland and Swedish-speaking Finns from the Aland Islands, Swedes and Norwegians from the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as Germans, English and other nationalities. Unafraid of the dangers or hardships, they began to cut roads through the forests and clearing land.  The first roads were narrow and crooked, and, in the rainy season, practically impassable, except for horseback riders.

Ambrosius Hokanson, who later changed to Ambrose Hockinson (the anglicized version), was an early pioneer to Washington Territory, who helped to start the town of Hockinson, which was known as Eureka in its early days.  Mr. Hokanson was a leader among the Swedes and was assisted in the betterment of the community by Charles (Junell) Brown, a leader among the Finns, who spoke Swedish, Finnish and English and often served as an interpreter in the three languages.  Ambrose opened a store and petitioned for a post office and the request was granted.  This lead to the area being officially named Hockinson.

In 1884 Reverend L.O. Lindh, in search of a home in the mild climate of western Washington, left Minnesota and settled in Hockinson. He began to gather the Swedes and the Swedish speaking Finns in homes and school houses for Christian worship. In this work he received much help from the two leaders of the community, Ambrose Hockinson and Charles Brown. On March 22, 1884, a congregation was organized at a gathering in the log house of Ambrose Hockinson.  Mr. Hokanson donated a half acre for a church lot and the church building was begun in 1889, the same year the state of Washington was admitted into the union. Completed 1893, the church was dedicated six years later in 1899.  In 1905, Mr. John Johnson and his wife Sophie deeded approximately one and one half acres to the Elim congregation for cemetery purposes.  A trust fund for the cemetery was started in 1944 with a donation from Mr. Robert Fuegy, with the hope that the fund would eventually become large enough to finance perpetual care for the cemetery.

In 1907, a tower was added to the church and a bell installed, which could be heard for miles in the valley. To this day, the bell is rung at the start of every Sunday Service.

In the sanctuary, there is a painting, “The Risen Christ”.  Mr. Olof Grafstrom, an artist professor back East, and long-time friend of past Elim families, painted “The Risen Christ” for the congregation.  It has graced Elim’s sanctuary since 1922.

In 1928, a social hall and Sunday School room was added to the rear of the church.  A Sunday School bus  was purchased in 1947.  As Elim grew, a new church building was planned and built on the hillside overlooking the village of Hockinson.  The corner stone was laid on September 17, 1951 and the new sanctuary was dedicated in May, 1952.  Many minds and hands worked together to make the new building a reality.  In 1955, the Parish Hall was started and dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1956.  In 2012, the Pathfinders Men’s Group remodeled the kitchen, yet another remarkable improvement at the hands of dedicated and generous men of the congregation.  In 2014, a new covered walkway was constructed, providing a dry path for parishioners leaving church service to join friends for refreshment and lively conversation.  This covered walkway was financed in part by the Boy Scout Troop 359 and dedicated in the memory of Nathaniel Corigliano, former Troop 359 Eagle Scout and beloved son of Mark and Barbara Corigliano and brother of Matthew and “Little Sis” Alissa.