This week’s story was written using details provided by Jeanne Heggen of Calvary Lutheran Church in Richland Hills, Texas.
Jeanne Heggen started coordinating Calvary Lutheran’s monthly noisy offering five years ago. As Calvary’s council chair to Social Ministries, she wanted to build a well in Sierra Leone through the Water to Thrive program. When the Finance Committee told her there was no money in the budget to do that, she decided she would raise the money by establishing a noisy offering. To ensure the offering would fill the sanctuary with a joyful noise, Heggen tied bells to the paint cans that are passed for the collection. Noisy offering money has been used to build two wells in Africa, support the ELCA Malaria Campaign, and fund the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod Ebola Campaign. Moving forward, the offering will be used for programs that combat human trafficking.
When Calvary’s Social Ministries Committee committed the monthly noisy offering to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, the committee heeded the suggested donation of $4 per member and set a fundraising goal of $4,000. To educate the congregation and community about malaria, Heggen used ELCA Malaria Campaign resources, such as posters and bulletin inserts, and seized every opportunity she had to share stories about malaria. She even used facts from the ELCA Malaria Blog to help her talk about malaria during ministry fairs and temple talks. Malaria education drove fundraising efforts, as Jeanne writes, "The more my church family learned, the bigger their passion and generosity grew! It took us just a year to exceed our $4,000 goal for a total of $4,400!"
Calvary has not stopped there, though. Recently, Bishop Kevin Kanouse of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod sent an appeal telling congregations that the synod was only $8,000 away from reaching its $160,000 malaria goal. To raise the remaining $8,000, Bishop Kanouse called on congregations to have a Malaria Sunday. Calvary once again heeded the call, and on Aug. 9, collected $420 via a noisy offering.