If you are a football fan (and even if you're not), you are probably aware by now that the two teams vying in Super Bowl 50 are the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers (based in Charlotte, N.C.).
According to oddsmakers, the Panthers are favored to win this game. But that's not the line we care about. What's important is the BIG GAME challenge that Bishop Jim Gonia of the Rocky Mountain Synod (Team Denver) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) made to fellow Bishops Timothy Smith of the North Carolina Synod and Herman Yoos of the South Carolina Synod (together as Team Carolina) to raise funds for the ELCA World Hunger Program. (A similar challenge was made to the Northwest Synod, when the Broncos played the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48)..
Team ELCA campaign, which allows individuals and supporters of and advocates for ELCA ministries, to invite friends, family and connections to “join the team” in support of the ministries that they support.
Things didn't get off to a good start for Team Denver. "I just found out that as of 10 p.m. on January 28, TEAM CAROLINA has raised $3055 and TEAM DENVER has raised just $955!" said Coach Gonia.
Of course, QB Gonia did not mention that TEAM DENVER faces a numerical disadvantage to TEAM Carolina. There are 165 ELCA congregations in the Rocky Mountain Synod, including 22 in New Mexico. In contrast the combined North Carolina-South Carolina Synods together represent more than 300 churches. Hardly fair, right? But that's beside the point. The three synods are on the same team to raise a combined $50,000 during the Super Bowl season for the ELCA World Hunger program. The combined total of slightly more than $4,000 as of Jan. 28 was way short of the goal. [Update: as of Jan. 30, The Rocky Mountain Synod Broncos were closing in. The score was $3,910 for TEAM CAROLINA and $3,360 for TEAM DENVER (click here for the latest score)]
Here's where you can help:
Give an online gift for TEAM DENVER
Give an online gift for TEAM CAROLINA
Note: You don't have to be an ELCA member or a member of one of those synods to participate.
Enlist supporters on Twitter using the #ELCABigGame hashtag
The competition between #denver Lutherans and Carolina Lutherans is the only one I care about https://t.co/vo4yrovDTS @rmselca #elcabiggame— Nadia Bolz-Weber (@Sarcasticluther) January 30, 2016