Move over, longhorn steer and armadillo. In the Southwestern Texas Synod they're branching out.
Not wanting to take the ordinary Friday evening offering for the ELCA World Appeal at the last synod assembly, the folks in Texas put on their creative Stetsons.
They identified six animal-related hunger projects in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically those involving cows, goats, fish, chickens, bees and pigs. Each of the six conferences was assigned a particular animal, and their congregations were challenged to raise money to "buy an animal for Africa."
"The result was nothing short of miraculous, one that we feel is truly a loaves and fishes story," says Brian Peterson, chair of the synod's hunger task force. "Since the beginning of the ELCA, we have never raised more than $3,000 to $5,000 for an assembly offering."
In true Texas style, they dreamed big — hoping for $15,000. But not big enough, apparently. They raised more than $70,000 for Stand With Africa, with money still arriving well into the fall.
Peterson says disagreements that frequently infiltrate such gatherings were replaced "by a spirit of generosity for 'the least of these.' "
© 2016 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers