While "Spirituality" is one of Heifer's 12 Cornerstones, we're not a church organization. And in our halls, you'll find people who exercise spirituality in any number of ways. And of course, the project participants we work with around the world practice many different forms of spirituality. But a common theme among all these forms seems to be that of giving.

I was reminded of the power of giving this morning when I got an e-mail from Jan Schrock, daughter of Heifer founder Dan West. She was looking for some photos to illustrate a talk she's giving in the little town of Denmark, ME. She sent me the following link to the Portland (ME) Press Herald.

http://www.pressherald.com/news/after-church-theft-kids-lead-the-way_2011-12-12.html

The story is about a group of children at a church in Denmark who were saving their Sunday collections to buy a Heifer Ark (15 pairs of Heifer animals: cost, $5,000). Just before Christmas, someone kicked in the door of the church and stole their money, totaling about $1,000. I know-- sucks, right? That's Chapter One.
Chapter Two was written this morning (Jan. 23) when Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz ran the following footnote to the original story:

Three weeks ago, I wrote about the theft of a large glass bottle containing almost $1,000 in nickels, dimes and quarters from the tiny Denmark Congregational Church.

The kids in the congregation were devastated because the money, which they'd collected each Sunday for months, was to go to the Heifer Project -- a charity that provides needy villages around the world with $5,000 "arks" that include cows, pigs and a dozen other species of livestock.

Not long after the column ran, the Rev. John Patrick got a call from the local post office to please come down and clean out the church's mailbox.

"It was stuffed to overflowing," Patrick reported. "There was no room for the large pile of letters that were still coming in."

Tucked inside those letters were checks, cash, even piles of change. At last count, the donations from all over Maine and beyond totaled just over $10,000.

That, noted Patrick, is enough for two arks.

Happy New Year.

I don't know about you, but for me, that restored a little faith after a gloomy weekend.

Author

Bill Fitzgerald