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Cowboys Rethink Church

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When a town of thirty people draws a church crowd nearly three times its size, you know it must be something unique. “Cowboy Church” brings people by horseback, pony cart and pick-up truck from forty miles around. Kim Riemland takes us to a service dishing out a new sense of community to people scattered in rural areas.

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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Near Equinunk, PA)

Sue Meyer, Co-Founder, Cowboy Church: “The first mouth you feed is not yours in the morning, it’s your animal’s mouth.”

Love of creatures and creation runs deep in the country. But for some, like Sue and Clarence Meyers, their lifestyle left them feeling out of sync with traditional church.

Sue Meyer, Co-Founder, Cowboy Church: “My clothes aren’t clean enough. My car isn’t clean enough. My kids aren’t spit-shined enough. I don’t feel like I belong.”

So the Meyers and neighbor Leon Eldred came up with the idea of cowboy church…where worship starts in the stalls and continues on the trails. The commute can be hours long.

One group brings miniature ponies and carts from 45 minutes away, to the delight of nine-year-old Lexy Eldred.

Lexy Eldred, 9-year-old: “I feel excited about Cowboy Church. I feel great to pet a horse and ride a horse.”

Single mom Kimberly Brennan wasn’t attending regular services, but she felt so accepted here she had her son baptized.

Kimberly Brennan: “You can relax and noise is okay. Just being a baby is okay. So that makes me feel good. And makes me feel good for him.”

Eggs served sunny side up, with easy conversation. It’s a time to catch up with old friends and to welcome new ones.

Leon Eldred, Co-founder, Cowboy Church: “Some people will be going by and they’ll stop and say, ‘What’s going on?’ So we tell ‘em and 9 chances out of 10 they’ll be over here.”

Pastor at pulpit: “Are we ready to come worship the Lord?”

Cowboy Church is held every third Sunday of the month with the Reverend Alice Pedone preaching. She also pastors five tiny United Methodist churches around Equinunk, in northeastern Pennsylvania. At its largest, this service draws nearly three times the town’s population of 30—especially if you count the horses.

The Rev. Alice Pedone, Pine Mill United Methodist Church: “We’re invitational to people. We want them to feel comfortable to come in and really enjoy worshipping God. We’re not all that stick-in-the-mud as some people might think.”

People clap and dance and enjoy the music.

Music: “It was good for our mothers…”

Sue Meyer, Co-Founder, Cowboy Church: “We’re getting more people to come that maybe have never gone to church. And hopefully we’ll all be better for it. ”

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Cowboy Church is held the third Sunday of every month. For more information, contact Leon Eldred at 570-224-4136 or Clarence Meyers at C and S Stables at 570-224-4842.

Posted: May 12, 2010