Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pony Express rides again in stewardship campaign

Presbyterians in Pendleton took a Wild West approach to their stewardship campaign in November of 1986, adopting a Pony Express theme to contact each of its 400 members for their annual tithe to support the church’s operations budget. And in the process, church leaders hoped to promote new fellowship amongst the families attending the First Presbyterian Church.

A group of hand-picked “station agents,” including Bob Caster, Dale Wilkins, Wally McCrae, Hugh Whitbread and Ewald Turner, chose a group of “trail bosses” to hand-deliver Estimate of Giving cards via a saddlebag to families on their list. Each boss sat down with families to discuss their annual giving, placing sealed envelopes with their promised tithe amount inside the saddlebag. The first family contacted then hand-carried the saddlebag to the next family on a list attached to the bag’s strap.

The campaign had a two-fold purpose: get a good estimate of the church’s budget for the coming year, and touch base with each congregant of the church. Passing the saddlebag off hand-to-hand gave parishioners a chance to visit with each other, deepening friendships and offering fellowship to those unable to attend services regularly.
Brent Fife of Pendleton accepts the "Estimate of Giving" saddlebag from Bill Griffith at the start of the annual tithing campaign for Pendleton's Presbyterian church in November 1986. (EO file photo)

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