By Mary O’KEEFE
The foundation of the legend of the American Cowboy is to be fair to others, to honor and respect your country and to do what is right. That is not far from the teachings of the Gospel. Those common bonds were highlighted and celebrated on Sunday at the Center for Spiritual Living’s annual Cowboy Church.
Skeeter Mann and The Lost Canyon Rangers performed classic Western songs as church members tapped their cowboy boots and tennis shoes to the beat.
Before the service really got into the country swing the congregation honored those who have served and are serving in the military.
“Most of you here today were in the area when we had the fires. I was devastated when I looked at our mountains. It was like a moonscape,” recalled Rev. Beverly Craig, known to most as Rev. Bev. “But now the [vegetation] on the mountains is growing again. I am so grateful for the beauty of nature.”
She introduced a song that dealt with a man visiting New York and then came back to the open prairie of Texas.
The message of the music and scripture worked hand-in-hand throughout the service. At one point the children were brought forward to be made official cowboys and cowgirls. They received a hat and a handkerchief.
One of the most entertaining segments was when the collection plate was passed around. Normally this is not the most spiritual or favorite time during a service but that is probably because most church’s don’t play “When Payday Comes Around” as the plate is passed by cowboy, and girl, boot scooting ushers.
The service never waivered from honoring those who have served and the patriotic theme of American pride.
“I lived in southeast Asia
for a couple of years in the
early 1980s. They said they had a democratic society but I didn’t think so because from time to time trucks of soldiers drove through the streets as a sign of force,” said Rev. Bev. “Then when I was coming home and was in the airport in the Philippines there were more soldiers. This [service] is just an invitation for you to appreciate the freedom we have here.”
After the service there was the smell of grilled steak and barbecue beans. The congregation and guests sat down to a filling country barbecue of steak, chicken, corn, beans
and because they were all California cowboys, crab salad.
For information on Skeeter Mann and the Lost Canyon Rangers visit their Facebook page and click “Band.”