Round’em up for Cowboy Church

Different people have different ways of worshiping. Some share scripture, raise their hands, sing, pray, dance in praise, meditate. Some fellowship together over a meal, sometimes a potluck, sometimes the Lord’s Supper. Some go to a church building, a temple, a mosque, sit by a lake or in a tree-stand. And those who deliver the message may wear a suit or a robe or business casual. But

God’s message through Dennis is one from a transformed man with a renewed mind.

have you ever heard of someone giving a sermon atop a horse, wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat? I hadn’t either, until last year when I was invited to sing at just such an event … Cowboy Church!

Joyce Morrison is a member of MJM Electric Cooperative and wife of long-time MJM board member and AIEC board director, Gary Morrison, who passed away, June 20, 2012. She says, “A few years ago, Cowboy Church was added to the festivities (Olden Days Festival) on Sunday morning by the inspiration of Tom and Donna Turpin of Chesterfield, Ill. People loved Cowboy Church from

Joyce with Donna Turpin, one of the originators of the Cowboy Church event.

the beginning so when Tom and Donna moved to Wisconsin, Gary and I continued the church service. Dennis and Cindy Cappel, from Hope Giver’s Ranch in Silex, Mo., have become the annual ministry team adding a traditional cowboy touch to an increasingly larger attendance each year. Dennis shares his message from horseback. Last year we added AIEC’s Lisa Rigoni to the program to sing. We are very excited to have the Cappel’s and Lisa joining us again at this year’s service.”

Dennis and Cindy Cappel will bring their horse and ministry to Tri-County Antique Club’s Olden Days in Jerseyville, Sunday, Aug. 26, at 9 a.m. The message will be delivered with a western flair from a cowboy’s heart …Dennis’ heart, to be exact. God’s message through Dennis is one from a transformed man with a renewed mind. You will leave encouraged and equipped to face the giants in your world. “Ride in victory,” the horse whisperer says, with an easy smile. Dennis is an ordained minister and also the president and founder of Hope Givers for troubled young men. Cindy, his wife, leads a Heart for Horsewomen ministry, where she works with women to help them lead joyful, stable lives. Together, they offer training for marriage, through the horse ministry.

“This is the plan of how, and actually wanting, to stay together in marriage,” says Cindy. “It truly can happen! We are living proof that the principles we will share with you really work. Regardless of what stage your relationship is at, whether preparing for marriage, in a good marriage, separated or even divorced you will leave hope filled.” Their life, marriage and ministry are celebrations.
Come hear for yourself.

Olden Days is held by the Tri-County Antique Club in Jersey County and open to the public. Every year on the last week-end in August homemade pies, quilts, rugs and other goods are among the great finds there.

“This year on August 25-26 there will be music and all types of antique tractors, tractor pulls and exhibits of antique items on display to bring back memories – but some were not so good. Electricity wasn’t around during a lot of that time, and when the REA came through with power lines, it was the greatest thing that ever happened to rural America,” says Morrison.

“While it is fun to look at how our parents and grandparents accomplished their work, it is doubtful many of us would want to go back to those days. And this year, we are carrying on the Cowboy Church tradition in memory of Gary. It will be something to remember!”

Tribute to Gary Morrison – September 13, 1935 – June 20, 2012

If you ever saw Gary Morrison at Cowboy Church, you might have seen him wearing the cap that read, “Christian by Grace, Cowboy by Choice.” And he certainly was both and not afraid to share his faith.

I’ve known Gary and Joyce nearly five years and really connected to them through the Cowboy Church event. Gary heard me sing the National Anthem at our AIEC Annual Meeting, told Joyce, and she didn’t hesitate to sign me up to sing at last year’s event. While they did most everything together, ministering to others about their faith was right at the top of the list. That was easy to see as I waited in line for 1 ½ hours at Gary’s visitation. More than 1000 people paid their respects and told Joyce and others how important Gary’s living out his faith and leading by example was to them.

He has left a great legacy and is already missed by many, including those of us in the electric cooperative industry. As for Joyce, “I am going to continue to carry out his mission and ministry, loving others for Christ. That’s what he would want, and I feel him with me everyday. It’s all going to be ok.”

Gary, Rest in Peace!