Last December the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran, Rockport, Ind., pitched an idea to the congregation that really got their goat. Richard W. Miller suggested teaming up with ELCA World Hunger for the season of Lent, and David Grose, congregational president, said his daughter, Katie Hess, accepted the challenge to be in charge of “Billies for Goats.”
Members were encouraged to “give up” something for Lent and then put a donation in the Billie Bucket, placed in the fellowship hall. If the congregation could raise $500 (enough for 10 goats), Hess said her husband Matt would kiss a goat on the lips. Her father thought the challenge wasn’t high enough, however, and told the congregation that if they could raise $1,000 surely his daughter would kiss the other end of the goat.
The congregation didn’t just collect money, they used the Lenten season as a goat-inspired learning experience. After each Sunday worship service Hess shared goat-related activities, giving goat facts, re-enacting a religious version of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” and even awarding an “old goat” prize to the congregation’s oldest members. Prizes included goat cheese, goat-enriched hand lotion and a stuffed goat.
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