After long-time St. Louis icon, Albert Pujols, signed his 10-year $254 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, some fans began tearing off their St. Louis Cardinal jerseys and setting them ablaze.
While it may seem as though it was just a few passionate fans expressing their discontent, for some Christians it was an opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one for many people who are facing hard times this holiday season.
Members of The Gathering United Methodist Church, based in St. Louis, felt they had a responsibility to make sure the situation did end negatively and took the opportunity to instead spread love over the Christmas season.
The pastor of The Gathering, Matt Miofsky said, “So much of faith is about perspective.”
He continued, “There’s collective disappointment and anger among some in the community, and part of our job as a church is to help people funnel those feelings into a making a positive difference,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
When reports around town began telling about disgruntled fans setting their jerseys on fire, members of The Gathering decided to take action. The Gathering decided to collect all the jerseys and then donate them to charities in the Anaheim area, that is when “Recycle the five drive” in honor of Pujols’ number was created.
“Don’t burn those Pujols jerseys!” The church’s Facebook status stated. “Bring them to The Gathering United Methodist Church - during business hours and on Sunday.”
On Friday, a tweet sent from The Gathering stated: “Don’t burn that Pujols T-shirt or jersey! Bring it to 2105 McCausland. We’ll donate it to a charity in Anaheim. Seriously.”
Church member Elaine Kidwell, 74, a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, first heard about The Gathering’s jersey recycling effort on Facebook and thought it was a very good idea.
“It’s a great way to put a positive spin on something that’s been very painful for all of us,” Kidwell said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think Pujols really sold St. Louis out, and people are really feeling down about it. The Recycle Five Drive is a way to have fun, put a positive spin on the whole thing, and get people laughing about it.”