In the old days, farmers in remote areas of Finland had to row to get to church. Communities would get together to build a boat, each person contributing either money or work to hire a boatbuilder, fell a load of spruce, pine and larch and get the boat together in the spring for use in the summer.
The average church boat was 12m long with 14 rowers, but some were monsters and carried 40 rowers.
On the return trip, boats would race, a tradition still carried on today. Mind you, I have read that the women would row on the way back, because the men would be too drunk to swing an oar.
This picture of an old Finnish church boat at Lappajarvi comes from Barbara Yarusso's Flickr photostream.
There is an excellent history of church boats here.