Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
By Nancy Allen
Church service celebrating farming set
  Members of area churches will participate in a Service in Song in celebration of Farm City Week on Sunday at Bethany United Methodist Church in Celina.
As the weeklong observance implies, most of the musical selections - performed by area musicians from several local churches - will have a farm or earth theme. It is free and open to the public.
The idea for the service came from Celina farm couple Nita and Sam Hellwarth, who are parishioners at Bethany. Originally intended for last November, the event had to be postponed until this Sunday.
"I kept thinking our preacher likes to sing and other preachers and church members like to sing and I thought we could have a nice service with a lot of songs because we had a safe harvest," Nita Hellwarth said. "But everyone got busy and we couldn't do it. But we just had Earth Day and everyone is getting out in the fields, so it will still work."
The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a video presentation showing farm families from Clarke County through the course of their daily lives as farmers. The video, which the Hellwarths got from the OSU Extension, will be set to a recording of the Clarke County Symphony Orchestra.
Around 7 p.m. the Service in Song will feature area vocal soloists, vocal quartets and organists. There also will be a few hymns the audience can join in on.
There will be a farm, land and patriotic theme throughout, Nita Hellwarth said. The service will have no sermon and no offering, putting a focus on the music. Free Dannon yogurt, drinks and other refreshments will be available. Milk from the Hellwarth family dairy goes to Dannon to make yogurt, she said.
Richter said there will be prayer and a litany that deal with the earth and how we treat our fellow human beings and our abundance, he said.
"Hymns that talk about the earth and harvesting I think are pretty universal," Richter said. "We think it's a great idea. There is so much churches do that is about them. This is about the community."
Groups and individuals to perform include Bethany oganist June Bollenbacher, Bethany pastor, the Rev. Jim Richter playing banjo and singing, vocalist Ray Costello of St. Paul's United Church of Christ near Rockford; the vocal group of Jim, Michael and Gina Maurers from St. Paul Lutheran Church, Rockford; the Bethany United Methodist singing quartet of Paul Arnold, Gene Bollenbacher, Dave Chivington and Roland Hinton; and vocalist Jill Bradley from Landfair United Methodist Church, state Route 118.
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