Revs. Sandy Brown, Brad Laurvick, and Emma Donohew share words of congratulations after two different victories. Photo by Patrick Scriven.

By Patrick Scriven | Director of Communications and Young People’s Ministry

United Methodist football fans have been in a pitched battle for the past two weeks. It started when the Rev. Brad Laurvick, serving at Highlands United Methodist Church in Denver, offered a challenge to United Methodists in the greater Seattle area.

In response to that challenge, pastors Monica Corsaro (of Rainier Beach UMC) and Emma Donohew (of Crown Hill and Green Lake UMC) and young adult co-conspirator Amy Pazan quickly worked to connect and inspire Seattle Seahawks fans to respond to the competitive food drive which evolved after the AFC and NFC championship games concluded. You can read more about that part of the story here. In total, 94 drop sites, mostly local churches, identified with team Seattle while team Denver had 80 sites in play – each filled with “a whole lot of warmhearted people” according to Corsaro.

Seattle-area United Methodists gather. Rev. Brad Laurvick joins them via video chat.
Seattle-area United Methodists gather. Rev. Brad Laurvick joins them via video chat.

After the rousing defeat of Denver’s Broncos in the 2014 Super Bowl, several jubilant United Methodist pastors and lay folks gathered at Seattle’s First United Methodist Church on Monday morning to count and exchange numbers with Laurvick via a video conference. While Seattle’s football team easily demolished Denver’s on Sunday evening, Monday morning saw a reversal of fortunes.

While team Seattle, also known as #unitedinblue, collected a respectable 55,630 food items (approx.), team Denver, or #unitedinorange, nearly doubled this count raising 103,194 items! Individuals may disagree on how they feel about this ‘split decision’ but all can agree that a impromptu drive raising 158,824 food items is a cause to celebrate for food banks and agencies that often see supplies dry up after the generosity of the holidays pass.

When asked to reflect on the challenge, Rev. Corsaro shared, “The response to this campaign, in the words of Wesley, has “warmed my heart.” It shows me that we really want to be connected and we do care about our neighbor.” Rev. Donohew described it as “a real fishes and loaves kind of moment.” “It can be difficult to feel like you can make much of a difference as one person or even as one small church but together we were able to utilize our connectionalism and work together to make a bigger impact… I feel like everyone won today.”

Seattle's First United Methodist Church offers a view of the Space Needle and its 12th Man flag.
Seattle’s First United Methodist Church offers a view of the Space Needle and its 12th Man flag.

The Rev. Sandy Brown was offering a similar sentiment when he said “It’s just ’bout dat action, boss,” playing off a recent press conference by the Seahawks’s star running back Marshawn Lynch. Brown continued on to express that it really is all about serving the community.

Grant Hagiya, Bishop of the Greater Northwest Area which includes Seattle, offered these words: “It is with deep gratitude that I congratulate Rocky Mountain for winning the can food drive. Even though our Seahawks crushed your Broncos, we are grateful for you Rocky folks and your most generous spirit!”

The 2014 Super Bowl was recently recognized as the most watched television event in U.S. history clocking 115.5 million viewers. In comparison 158,824 may seem like a small number but for those who have cause to question where there next meal might come from, it is a number that represents real hope and a love that will continue on throughout the offseason.

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