Cowboy Church: ‘It’s a church in the dirt’

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HARDIN COUNTY, Tenn. — People traded in their Sunday best for cowboy boots and hats in a special kind of service in Savannah. With banjos, basses and Bibles, the Sheltering Tree Ranch hosted a one-of-a-kind service Sunday for those who prefer their boots to their heels. “Cowboy Church, very non-traditional, you know it’s not ‘churchy’ feeling. It’s a church in the dirt — it’s different,” said Dave Boroughs, director of the Sheltering Tree Ranch. The weekend was full of activities, rodeos and fellowship with the Circle C. Cowboy Church based out of Morristown, Tenn. “Circle C Cowboy Church is church for the un-churched,” Circle C Pastor Kent Hightower said. “We want to develop an atmosphere where folks are comfortable and they can come as they are, because that’s how Christ accepts us — as we are.” The Sheltering Tree Ranch is a learning center and after school facility that helps children with autism and other learning challenges. Directors Dave and Bobbie Boroughs said one of their goals is to provide a place where people from all walks of life can come and have a support system. “Sometimes parents with special needs and even with just learning challenges that’s in school often feel like they’re on their own fighting a battle, and they’re really not. There’s a lot of other parents out there doing the same thing,” Bobbie said. Cowboy Church is another aspect of that goal. “It meets a need for some people that we have in our society today that won’t go to church anywhere else and they’re not going to go into a brick building or a block building. They’re ranch people. They’re farm people,” Dave said. “Sheltering Tree is a place of hope, one family at a time.” Dave and Bobbie said they hope to start a regular Cowboy Church service in the near future.

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