About a dozen children sat around a campfire at the United Methodist Church of Evergreen on Sunday morning to talk about Father’s Day and how important dads are.
Inside the sanctuary.
Surrounded by cowboy hats, saddles, tack and horse statues.
While the campfire itself wasn’t real, it kept with the theme of the church’s second annual Cowboy Sunday service in which the congregation celebrated Western heritage and everything cowboy. The songs and poetry didn’t always have a religious bent, but the service had a fun undertone as members and guests sang rousing versions of “Git Along, Little Dogies” and “Sweet Betsy from Pike.” They were accompanied by a cowboy band playing harmonica, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo in addition to piano and organ.
Many who attended the service were dressed in Western wear, cowboy hats and boots.
The service was dedicated to both the Evergreen Rodeo and to dads. In addition, it was a farewell to the Rev. Todd Everhart, the church’s pastor for the last four years, who has taken a position at a church in Windsor.
During the children’s campfire, the kids told stories about the nice surprises they had in store for their dads as they sat on saddle blankets in front of the altar. Everhart reminded them of how important it is to honor their dads.
Before and after the service, Evergreen resident and cowboy poet Susie Knight taught youngsters how to twirl lassos.
“It’s like stirring a cup of soup. You use your wrist, not your arm,” Knight told the children. “We have cowpokes all over the place.”
Five-year-old Madeleine Barnes, wearing pink cowboy boots and a pink cowboy hat, practiced roping an orange cone but lassoed her 2-year-old brother, Haden, instead. Madeleine had been practicing roping for days in anticipation of the Evergreen Rodeo Parade. She marched in the parade with a MOPS group from Church of the Hills.
“We have fun,” said Terry Vogt, who helped organize the service. “It brings out the cowboy in every one of us.”
Linda Castle, the liturgist for the service, said the special event let the church contribute to the Evergreen Rodeo weekend events.
“We just want to have fun and celebrate Western heritage,” Castle said, “and something we can involve the community in. We’re going to do it again next year.”
After the service, everyone was invited to a chuckwagon lunch featuring fried chicken, potato salad, chili, deviled eggs and watermelon.
Church members Gail Facciolo and Randy Hayson, who live south of Idaho Springs, said they enjoyed the service and the camaraderie it generates.
“The cowboy service allows us to let out our inner selves,” Hayson said. “We’re a lot closer to the mountains and to cowboys than you’d think. Singing these types of songs fits in with the community.”