This week's Saturday Collection features innovative outreach fundraising, a congregation that discovered that it has an architectural treasure, another one celebrating an important milestone and a congregation in California that has invested enough in green energy technology that its energy systems are going to be a source of income for the congregation.
Trinity Episcopal Church in Florence Alabama was featured in the news this week for its innovative outreach fundraising work that they are calling the St. Francis Project. The goal of the project according to an article posted on WAAYTV.com's website is to raise a $100,000/yr for the next 10 years (for a total of one million dollars) to be given away to various groups in the local region.
"'We have sold sponsorships for these cows and a number of individuals and businesses and different community groups have literally bought a cow,sponsored a cow, decorated it and put it out with the holy herd,' said Mary White, director of the St. Francis Project.
Each participant was then able come up with a story about their cow. There's everything from Moo-ses and Moo-la to Jimmy Beefet and Cowbell-la.
'One of the things we said from the start was to give away a million dollars over ten years is very transforming, and it can be a lot of fun. It's a lot of hard work but at the same time it feels good to give back to a community that gives so much to us,' said Reverend Andy Keyse of Trinity Episcopal Church.
This year, the St. Francis project handed out more than $100,000 in grants to other ministries, social service agencies and organizations in the area."
Christ Church in Sparkill NY had a lovely surprise this year when they discovered that the church's building was one of the last known to have been designed by Charles Babcock, a renowned architect of sacred spaces. Apparently the plans to Christ Church were donated about six years after Babcock left the full time practice of architecture to begin his studies for Holy Orders.
Speaking of historic buildings, St. John's in Bangor Maine is celebrating its 175 anniversary this year, which makes it only 15 years younger than the State of Maine. The building wasn't designed by Babcock, though Richard Upjohn, Babcock's mentor, certainly did a fine job. The article linked above lists quite an impressive collection of accomplishments over its lifetime.
And finally, Christ Church in Portola Valley CA installed a new set of solar panels:
The recently installed roof-mounted 20 kilowatt solar panel system is expected to produce each year more electricity than the church uses and reduce annual emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, by the equivalent of a mid-sized car not driving 818,000 miles, according to a statement by church spokesman Matthew Burt.
The church community worked for several years to arrange for the purchase and installation of the 92 solar panels, which were blessed on Sunday, Sept. 12, by the rector, the Rev. Mitch Lindeman, during a ribbon cutting, system turn-on and barbecue.
A group of 12 parishioners, led by church board member Tim McAdam, founded "Powered by the Son," a limited liability corporation used to win federal and state incentives and the right to depreciate the cost of the panels, Mr. Burt said. Upon recouping the return on its investment, the corporation plans to donate the panels to the church.