The Super Bowl, in all of its excitement, is over for another year.
It was a Super Bowl like none other, with two brothers coaching against each other, the lights going out and the excitement of the last half.
We will be talking about and hearing about this Super Bowl for a long time.
On Super Bowl Sunday, there was another bowl going on-the Souper Bowl of Caring.
Many of you and your church congregations participated in this Souper Bowl by collecting canned goods and money for feeding folks in need of food. Some might have turned it into a contest, just to put some fun into the event.
As a pastor, I have often challenged my congregations to bring a can of soup for each point their teams might score. Some of those numbers became outrageous, such as the year one of my parishioners expected the Steelers to score 62 or so points! It is all in fun and for a good cause. Jesus asked us to make sure that our neighbors have enough to eat.
I remember thinking the first year or so that I participated that a few cans of soup were not a lot when so many people live in food insecurity.
I also thought that year that if the 150 or so people in church that Sunday each brought a can of soup, then we would have 150 or so cans of soup. That's a lot of soup. Maybe a few cans could make a difference, after all.
The Souper Bowl of Caring began in 1990 with a simple prayer led by a seminary intern, Brad Smith, at a Presbyterian church in South Carolina.
His prayer was "Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat." His idea that weekend was to use Super Bowl weekend to help youth become more aware of hunger issues and to mobilize around the Super Bowl to raise money and collect food.
That first year, 22 churches participated and collected $5,700 for food banks in their area.By 1993 Souper Bowl of Caring had spread to 36 states. Soon after, the movement became nationwide.
Many, many people have become supporters of the Souper Bowl of Caring, including former presidents, NFL coaches, owners, staff, and players and thousands of churches across the country including many right here in Upshur County.
This year, almost $4 million has been reported as being collected this past Sunday to help fight hunger in this country. More collections will be reported as this week goes on.
Thank you to all the churches and individuals who participated this past Sunday. And thank you for all that you do, not just on Super Bowl Sunday, but all year round. Thank you for your caring, your compassion and your faith.
To God alone be the glory!
On the Parish calendar:
Valentine Dinner, Sunday, Feb. 10, First UMC. Catered by A Roamin' Feast. $15 per person. Seating at 5:30 p.m., Dinner at 6 p.m. Reservations required: 304-472-9494, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds support youth program.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Feb. 12, 57 p.m., First UMC. Adults, $8, Children under 12, $4. Proceeds support the repair of stained glass dome in sanctuary.
Ash Wednesday Service, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m., First UMC. Preacher: District Superintendent Mary Ellen Finegan. Holy Communion and imposition of ashes.
Spaghetti Dinner, Sunday, Feb. 17, 11:30 a.m.5 p.m., Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Adults, $7; Children 312, $3.50; under 3, free.