Sunday was Drive Your Tractor to Church Day at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Logan, Iowa.

The event included a 17-mile tractor ride, lunch, children’s games and a short hayrack ride.

“We decided that this would be a good community event,” said Justin Gochenour, a church trustee. “We thought it would be a great way to get more kids involved with the church, which is something that a lot of parishes are struggling with right now.”

There were plenty of kids in attendance Sunday. They ran around, rode toy tractors and threw footballs.

Parish officials were pleased with the number of children who attended, but their biggest surprise was the turnout from other parishes.

“We had 50 or 60 nonregulars come to Mass this morning,” Gochenour said. “We don’t know the exact number yet, but it was big enough to be substantial.”

The street was filled with all kinds of tractors, including vintage red models that showed years of wear and tear, as well as brand-new John Deeres that looked fresh from the dealership.

The idea of Tractor Ride Sunday was embraced by the church board, Gochenour said. Officials realized it was a way to distinguish Immanuel Lutheran from other churches and get people involved.

“I thought it was a great idea,” said the Rev. Jerald Firby, pastor of the church. “Anything that we can do to get people, especially kids, more involved” is good.

Firby said organizers weren’t sure whether the event would appeal to nonmembers. “Most farmers have their own churches they go to,” he said.

So the turnout was a pleasant surprise, Firby said.

“We definitely plan on doing this again next year.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1304, dan.blenkush@owh.com

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