Football not the only competition between Seattle and Denver

You will not have to look very far through the paper or scan the television to learn of some big game happening this weekend. What you might miss is the fierce competition between Washington state area and Colorado state area United Methodist Churches in a super big food drive.

Initiated shortly after the teams for the big game were decided Rev. Brad Laurvick, at Highlands United Methodist Church in Denver, started fishing for a Seattle based congregation for a friendly food drive competition. What has emerged most certainly has surpassed his idea.

Rev Brad Laurvik challenges Seattle based United Methodist's to a food challenge

Asked where the initial idea came from Rev. Laurvick shared “I am always looking for ways for us to be involved in our neighborhood. I knew that our city would have excitement around the game and I wondered what a United Methodist version of that excitement might look like”. The initial idea for the challenge was to be between two congregations according to Rev. Laurvick.

Picking up the challenge for the Seattle/Washington area churches was Rev. Dr. Monica Corsaro, of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church in Seattle.

United Methodist Reporter | United in Blue beginnings

“Brad and I know each other and we are both competitive people. So I asked a couple of folks if they were with me and they all said yes.”  Rev. Corsaro on initially jumping into the competition. Since this simple start the competition has grown and become something “bigger than all of us. That’s the beauty of it.” say Rev. Corsaro.

What happened was church after church and person after person starting sending in word that “they are in” to the competition. “We agreed” says Rev. Laurvick about conversation with Rev. Corsaro “that we do not say no to people who want to help” and thus the growth of the competition has grown beyond their two churches and areas to close to 150 participating churches, non-profits, and even private businesses. Rev. Corsaro and Laurvick both agree that this has been a total grassroots and organic effort. “People have just found us and say “We are in”” according to Rev. Laurvick.

Fast forward a few days and United In Orange (#UnitedinOrange) was born and currently has amassed 60 participating churches, a handful from outside the Colorado area, are pulling their resources under the color of the Denver Broncos. Not to be outdone, United in Blue (#UnitedinBlue) which has become the calling card for the Seattle Seahawks fan base, boast some 77 participating churches and non-profits. In some cases the participating churches are not even United Methodist. Both groups participating churches are continuing to grow. “This has been about folks engaging in their neighborhoods. Local grocery stories have drop off bins. People are calling in saying they are making food collections part of their parties. We are enabling people’s generosity and goodness” says Rev. Laurvick.

This competition in generosity has pulled together so much of their respective connections that conference staff has contributed the efforts. Bishop Hagiya, of the Pacific Northwest Conference, and Bishop Stanovsky, of the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area, have even gotten into the competition encouraging their congregations to become involved.

Bishop Grant Hagiya and Bishop Elaine Stanovsky #UnitedInBlue #UnitedInOrange

Bishop Grant Hagiya and Bishop Elaine Stanovsky #UnitedInBlue #UnitedInOrange photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest Conference Facebook Page

The food drives are aimed to benefit local food pantries and kitchens within their respective areas. “Jumping on the energy created in our areas by the game to do good for our communities is a simple and painless effort for good” says Rev. Corsaro “the food collected by the churches can distribute it locally to the places of need in their areas. That’s part of the beauty of this.”

Donation sites will be accepting food donations as well cash donations (every $1 donated will count as a non-perishable item) up until kick-off of the big game. Results of the competition will be reported during a simultaneous press conference noon of the Monday after the big game. Results revealed at the press conference will assuredly be shared over social media channels shortly after. Currently, according to Rev. Laurvick’s social media postings the #UnitedInOrange campaign has collected over 10,000 items from 1/3 of their donation sites reports. The #UnitedInBlue campaign is still gathering reports of their collection.

Asked what one of the great aspects to these two campaigns were Rev. Corsaro said “There was no meeting to get this going. It started with a question.” According to Rev. Laurvick “This demonstrates to the world the power of the United Methodist connection. I had someone tell me the other day that they drove by three churches who had this on their sign and wanted to get involved”.

You can visit the United In Orange or United In Blue websites to contribute to their efforts on behalf of a favorite team. You may also contribute to the other team if one of the two football teams is your hated rival. Both teams are happy to accept your contribution to their big competition in generosity.

No matter who wins the competition between #UnitedInOrange and #UnitedInBlue the real winners are the local food banks, missions and kitchens who will have a influx of goods to work from. All in thanks to the generosity of many, the connection of the church, an idea, and the asking of a question.

UMReporter Staff

This story was posted by a staff member of The United Methodist Reporter. For over 160 years The United Methodist Reporter has been helping the people called Methodist to tell their stories. If you have stories that you think need to be told, please let us know at editor@circuitwritermedia.com

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Nancy Boatright
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Manor UMC is having Souper Bowl Sunday on Feb 2. The Emmaus Group is providing lunch in lieu of our regular first Sunday Pot Luck dinner. We are serving soups, cornbread and dessert and asking for donations of canned goods and cash. The proceeds of the dinner will be donated to Manor ISD Child and Family Services for their Food Pantry. We did this same project last year and raised $300.00 for the East Travis County Rural Center Food Pantry.

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