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"Drive A Tractor To Church"
Last September 25 farmers who are members of the rural Elk Creek Lutheran Church of Hale, near Osseo, Wis., drove their tractors to church.
  It was part of the church's first-ever "drive a tractor to church" harvest worship service.
  "It allowed us to celebrate the agricultural heritage of the church, which over the years has changed a great deal with the disappearance of dairy farms," says the Reverend Terry Lorenz, the church's pastor. "At one time there were up to 57 families in our church who were dairy farmers. That has decreased to one dairy farming family and a handful of small, diversified farms."
  "During the service, people talked about farming and shared stories about tractors and their farming memories. Afterward, one farmer even gave folks rides on his hay wagon."
  Most of the 25 tractors were older models, passed down to sons and grandsons by fathers and grandfathers in the congregation. However, there were some newer models, too, some of them quite large. One farmer drove 16 miles to get to church. It took him 70 minutes to make the trip.
  Reverend Lorenz asked a couple of parishioners who farm, Henry Filla and Kellen Nelson, to speak during the service.
  "It turned out to be sort of an appreciation day for farmers and a way to talk about farming with some of the people who are getting farther removed from farming," Filla told a reporter from The Country Today newspaper. He raises buffalo on his farm near the church. "It gave people who don't get to be around tractors a chance to feel them, look at them and think about them."
  By the end of the day, another "drive a tractor to church" event had been planned for next year.
  "This year, the farmers congregated at several neighbors' farms and anywhere from one to eight tractors drove together to church at a time. Next year they plan to meet at one central point and then all drive together like in a parade," says Reverend Lorenz.  
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Elk Creek Lutheran Church, RR 3, Osseo, Wis. 54758 (ph 715 694-2187; elkcreek lutheran@tcc.coop).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #6