14 February, 2009

Church Passes Offertory Paper Plate to Avoid Lavish Appearance

Las Vegas, NV -- Self Control Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada has announced that they will begin using offertory paper plates beginning Sunday, February 15, 2009.

"During these economic times, we need to be a bit more sensitive to appearances," said Pastor Jack Blossman. "It's a matter of perception. Do we want to appear extravagant? No. The offertory paper plate symbolizes this desire."

The church receives tithes and offerings from all walks of life-- the newly rich as well as the newly poor. "For the most part, those who attend 0ur church services are those who have recently acquired their new-found poorness," said church clerk Kate Wiengarter. "We do not want the more humble givers to feel uncomfortable tossing a quarter into a traditional offertory plate with a brass rim, soft green felt in the bowl, and a thin wooden layer underneath."

The traditional offertory plate has a price tag of $50, a non-issue for treasurer Glenn Carter. "It's completely normal to have a sturdy plate for our clients. The old plates were a non-issue. They were a legitimate expense-- a normal and appropriate part of our business," an upset Carter explains.

But the big question raised by some is, for a church whose members will eventually benefit from a big government bailout, pumping trillions of dollars into the economy, "were the $50 plates too lavish?"

"When our deacon board met, we were faced with this very question," said head deacon Marvin Willis. "Our decision in the end was to choose a offertory plate whose value would be less than the minimum offering we were likely to encounter."


jennie said...

the headline alone made me laugh. =)

fresnel said...

Well, I dunno. I think you gotta be careful passing paper plates around as anyone knows who's ever dumped an overloaded hot dog right in your lap. I remeber this one time, I was trying to be real careful with a paper plate and a loaded hot dog and, I dunno, I guess I got distracted because when that potato salad scoop hit the plate it just bent to whoops and woo, did I look like I'd killed a cat in my lap the rest of the day!

Anyway, if you want to use paper plates in church, just make sure they're not fished out of the kitchen trash 'cause while that would be really economically tempting to do, DON'T DO IT 'cause one of them's gonna have ketchup on it somewhere's and then you're gonna end up with one sorry mess.

Darrin said...

I heard some churches are toning it down by switching to paper cups at the latte bar in the foyer.

fresnel said...

You know, Darrin, you may be onto something there. I don't know what a latty bar is, but if this church in Las Vegas switched to styrofoam cups for communion, they could rewash them and save squirrels at the same time.

Also, I think they really need to look at moving away from paper plates at the offering time and going with plastic milk jugs (you know, the gallon size). If they cut the heads off of 'em, they'll hold plenty and if they leave the grocery store labels on 'em, they might just get a an advertising donation from the store. Come to that, I bet Kroger's and Napa Auto Parts and who knows who else would be pretty spiffed to do a little ad making on the sides of those offering jugs. Could turn a pretty penny, you know; a word to the wise.

Darrin said...

Good thoughts, fresnel. I always suspected styrofoam had some squirrel in it!
The milk jug thing has lots of possibilities: The churches that offer free oil changes to first-time visitors could use those for old oil after they've been emptied of change! Of course you might want to leave the tops on for this dual-use. (Just makes it more challenging to push your offering envelopes through.)
New church slogan: "Paper or plastic?"

Clay said...

As a Christian taxpayer in a very non-Christian community, I'm grateful to see the Church setting such a high standard in its use of funds received due to the government bailout. At that same time, I think perhaps we should replace all the nice, cushy chairs with the old pews, or even plain wooden benches. Not only would it be a shining witness to the world, the padded seats could probably be sold and the proceeds given to the poor in this time of economic distress.

Jeff said...

@ clay -

We are going to be discussing similar proposals at our next deacon meeting.

Right now I am leaning toward replacing the charis with bleachers. Two-fold winner:
1. Everybody shows more enthusiasm in teh bleachers than they do in a church setting.
2. The painted numbers (reserved seating) would allow visitors to avoid teh accidental occupatino of someone else's seat.

Potential downside - Hecklers who forget they are not yelling at the referee may disrupt the worship/preaching flow.

Jim Pemberton said...

I think we should dirty up the place a bit and give the appearance that we can't afford to give a hoot. maybe pull some of the gutters out of place, chip some paint, tear and stain the carpet, mark up the walls a little and, plant some weeds in the yard and tear the pavement out of the parking lot. We could even pound some dents into the church van and make the engine nearly unable to pass inspection. Finally, we should make sure to wear old casual clothes to church. It's things like this that help people people know that we are really spiritual people who care about the poor.