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This Congregation Meets In A Barn
If a barn was good enough for the birth of Jesus, it should work just fine for Sunday worship. That's what a Randolph, Minn., congregation decided when they went looking for a temporary place of worship while a new church was being built.
"When the chairman of the church board asked if they could store the pews and altar in our barn, I suggested we sweep it out, bolt down the pews and hold services there," recalls Tom Otte who with his wife Pat, owns the barn.
The Lutheran congregation is in the process of building a new church. They had to sell off the old one and the buyer wanted to take over immediately.
Originally, the congregation planned to hold meetings at a nearby school. Instead, Otte cleaned out his barn, moving snowmobiles, boats and other items that he and family members stored in the loft. Church members moved in pews, altar, cross and wall hangings.
The barn sanctuary has had its highs and lows. As anyone who has ever stacked bales in a hayloft knows, it can get hot. And once autumn came, getting rid of heat wasn't a problem in the uninsulated barn. A noisy heater has been supplemented with extra layers of clothes by regular attendees. Members bring blankets and afghans for use by visitors.
Overall, spiritual warmth more than makes up for any physical cold, suggests Otte. "We've had lots of friends and neighbors who don't belong to the congregation come to services to see what's going on," he says, adding that the nicest thing was the continuity with familiar surroundings for older members. "Everything was here...the pews, the altar, everything. That's something we wouldn't have had meeting in a temporary site."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tom Otte, 28937 Northfield Blvd., Randolph, Minn. 55065 (ph 507 645-4816).

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2003 - Volume #27, Issue #1