One of the questions first asked at TPC is, “What’s with the birthday chicken?” At the beginning of nearly every worship service, whoever is leading worship that day will ask if there have been any birthdays. Anyone who has had a birthday in the previous week (and no, we do not ask for a license or birth certificate) may come forward. Then, one by one, a wicker chicken, affectionately known as the “birthday chicken” will be held in front of the lucky individual, and folks will count out change for every year of life. After that, every birthday celebrant from 2 to 102, receives a blessing.
Where does all the money go? It all goes to Heifer Project, one of TPC’s favorite missions. You know the old adage “Feed a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach them how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime?” Well, Heifer Project folks took that lesson to heart. Heifer Project doesn’t simply send cows and other animals into impoverished areas and hope that something good will happen. They pair animals with families willing to undergo training and who agree to share that training with others, and village by village Heifer Project has created lasting value in every country they have served.
Around Christmas time Pastor Ken has been known to remind the congregation that “Christmas isn’t your birthday.” It’s easy to think of Christmastime as a time to think about what we want, but when we remember it’s Christ’s birthday and not ours, it’s a great time to think about how we might honor this season by blessing others. And hey, what could be more fun than donating a water buffalo in your mother-in-law’s name?