Held on Thursday, November 1, 2001 and Friday, November
2, 2001 at Shalom Hill Farm near Windom, Minnesota, this conference
hosted Lutheran pastors, farmers and community leaders working
together to define their identities and challenges.
Jan Louwagie from the Center for Rural and Regional
Center at Southwest Minnesota State University was one of the
featured speakers. Her presentation, "Agriculture and Rural Life,
a Study in Transitions" focused on the closing of small rural
churches and the need to preserve the history of these institutions.
She has completed an oral history project focusing on rural Renville
County with a similar focus. As coordinator of the Southwest Minnesota
Regional Research Center at Southwest State University, she archives
manuscripts and documents essential to preserving the history
of rural institutions, including churches.
Other speakers included: Paul G. Nielson, former
rural and regional fellow at Southwest Minnesota State University;
Rev. Mark Yackel-Juleen; George Nielson, Ph.D.; Stephanie Johnson,
Ph.D.; and Christine Olson, Ph.D. Conference organizers plan to
publish the proceedings of the conference in the near future.