Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bras in Church!


Our head trustee making an
announcement with the pink bra
We’ve all done food drives and sock drives and collected school supplies for under-privileged kids, and all those are well and good. Once a great parishioner came to me asking if we could be involved in a mission project her friend was involved with.  Free The Girls (www.freethegirls.org) collects gently used bras and sends them to Africa where they have established shops that are run by women rescued by sex trafficking. They learn job skills and earn money for their families while working in a safe, women only business. Could we collect bras? 

After I finished laughing (because it was one of the most awesome ideas for church I'd ever heard), I said yes, but she had to head it up. A few Sundays later she paraded down the center aisle waving a hot pink bra over her head, which she hung on the microphone after explaining the project. People went nuts. Women cleaned out their collections, we made fliers that men hung up on their work bulletin boards (women just talked to their co-workers, but men felt more comfortable with this approach), and one woman went door to door in her neighborhood ‘trick-or-treating’ for bras. As we collected them, we hung them along the windows that separated the narthex from the sanctuary and put them on the altar. We ended up with nearly 200 bras, repeated it yearly, and talked about it all the time. 

The best ideas come from parishioners, who are bringing you a peek at where their heart is. A few people (mostly clergy) questioned me about the appropriateness of bras in church or talking about something as distasteful as sex trafficking in worship. Women have breasts and most women wears bras. Sex trafficking is sadly a reality in our world. Should we ignore the realities because some people might be uncomfortable? And what makes them more uncomfortable: the bras or the sex trafficking? (Hint: the bras)

Church should not be sanitized for anyones protection. Mission work should not be limited to projects that make everyone comfortable. If an idea is brought to you and your first thought is “what will be people think if we do this?” maybe you should ask yourself “what will God think if we don’t?”. 

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