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The summer of 2018, or as I like to call it, the summer of cow.  I thought the idea of collecting money for a cow would be fun and embraced by our Vacation Bible School students.  I had hoped that we would collect about $250 during that week.  I must say that when I found out that we collected $460, I was quite surprised and impressed.  I was also impressed by the fact that our congregation has embraced the cow as well.  Money has come in each week since I announced it on July 15th.  As of this writing we have collected over $1,000, enough to purchase two cows.

At our last council meeting, we decided that we would continue to collect for the cow(s).  The Bishop's Challenge began in May 2018 and will end in May of 2019.  We even decided to dedicate some of our outreach funds toward the cow(s) in our 2019 budget.  I attended the August Sunday School meeting and the teachers wanted to know how long we would be collecting for the cow.  Some of our students have been bringing extra money each week for the cow.  At the meeting the Sunday School staff decided to purchase special banks for each classroom.  The banks are shaped like cows and whenever money is put in the slot, they moo.  From this excitement about cows and helping people become healthier and more independent by supplying them with sustainable food sources, I am reminded how our congregation, including our children realize how blessed we are through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Below is an excerpt from the "Cow Challenge" appeal from our Synod:

"Did you know that one dairy cow can produce as many as three gallons of milk each day? That nutritious, calcium-packed milk from a cow helps ensure that children in a family or a community can grow up healthy and strong. Extra milk can also be used to make cheese, yogurt, butter and other dairy products to eat and sell for a steady source of income. With food and funds—not to mention fertilizer for fields—a cow is a total package for a family which would otherwise face hunger. Between now and the 2019 Synod Assembly, each congregation in the New Jersey Synod is invited to raise $500, which is what the ELCA World Hunger Appeal spends to provide one cow through their Good Gifts program. Read on to learn more about the ELCA World Hunger and this special opportunity for your congregation to get involved!

 The World Hunger Appeal of the ELCA traces its history back to 1974. Currently, the Hunger Appeal supports programs in 83 countries, including the United States. Over 90 percent of money given to the Hunger Appeal goes directly to programs that feed people and provide resources that help communities become more self-sufficient, making it one of the most cost-effective relief programs in the nation.

The congregations of the New Jersey Synod are being invited to increase support for the ELCA World Hunger Appeal. The aim is that every synod congregation will participate in the appeal in the coming year. This includes using educational resources to learn about hunger and this vital ministry of the church. It also means using Hunger Appeal resources to engage in local, national and global efforts to alleviate hunger, including advocacy for policies that assist those in need. And we hope to increase financial giving to the appeal: the goal is for every synod congregation to contribute financially over the next year. For some of our congregation this will mean a “first time” gift: for others, perhaps re-engagement or an increase in support."

Let's do our best this year to help those in need and see how many "cows" we can raise to help alleviate world hunger.

            Our Bible Study will resume on Wednesday, September 4 at 1:00 and 7:30pm.  We usually don't resume until the second week of September, however, there is Pastors' meeting on September 19th that I need to attend and I though it would be confusing to start the Bible Study and then skip the following week, so we will start a week earlier. We will be studying the book of Job.

I write this article a day before I begin a two-week vacation.  I have an impressive list of things I would like to accomplish such as, some concrete work on my sidewalk, finish painting the entranceway into our home, clean out our shed, plus a bunch of other little projects.  I also intend to get to the gym every day and spend some time each morning drinking my morning coffee on my deck while simply enjoying life.  I also look forward to spending a little more time with Amy and the boys as well.  I will back in church on Sunday, September 2nd.  Remember that this is our next unity service.  That means one service at 10:00am, followed by donuts and coffee.  I hope you all enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

Grace and Peace,