Large contingency turns out for Steam Engine Days ecumenical church service

A portion of the crowd of about 200 people who attended the ecumenical church service on Sunday at Steam Engine Days. CHARLIE WARNER/NEWS LEADER

Musical minister Jeff Buege led those attending the ecumenical church service at the Steam Engine Grounds in Mabel Sunday morning. CHARLIE WARNER/NEWS LEADER
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About 200 people turned out for an old fashioned Sunday church service during Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days this past Sunday morning. The event was sponsored by 11 area churches and featured the musical ministry of Jeff Buege.

Buege, from Frost, Minn., has been singing professionally for the past 30 years. Four years ago he began a musical ministry, which has grown to 749 performances last year throughout the five-state area. Buege performed a number of spiritual songs himself and then led the audience through four well-known Christian hymns.

Churches that participated in the ecumenical service included Assumption Catholic (Canton), Burr Oak Lutheran (Burr Oak, Iowa), Canton Scotland Presbyterian (Canton), Garness Trinity Lutheran (rural Mabel), Henrytown Lutheran (rural Canton), Hesper Lutheran (Hesper, Iowa), Mabel First Lutheran (Mabel), Mabel United Methodist (Mabel), Newburg United Methodist (Newburg), St. Olaf Catholic (Mabel) and Scheie Lutheran (rural Mabel).

A free-will offering was collected during the service and will be donated to a number of organizations that provide hospice care for terminally ill patients and their families in southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa. They include Heartland Hospice, St. Croix Hospice, Winneshiek Hospice, Gundersen Lutheran Hospice and Mayo Hospice.