Ping Pong as Mission – 18 Hour Ping Pong Relay Marathon
By: Rev. Canon Philip Der
St. Christopher’s has a group of members who, for years, have loved playing ping pong. However, the ping pong ministry has flourished since November 2017. As the church went through a three-year missional transformation, we have built a close relationship with a local high school, Bayview Secondary. We discovered that many teens also love to play ping pong and yet they had no place to play. As a result, the church decided to start a Ping Pong/Board Game club on Thursday afternoons. The English Ministry Pastor Michele Taylor spearheaded this new outreach to the local students. In the meantime, we purchased 16 new ping pong rackets.
The Ping Pong/Board Game club started with 8 youth. It has steadily grown to 25 students in 4 month time. Every Thursday at 4:30 p.m., Pastor Michele would lead a discussion time with the teens about mental health issues or Christian teachings. In the meantime, a new couple, who started joining us in the spring of 2017, brought over 10 new people to play ping pong weekly. Therefore, St. Christopher’s now has ping pong sessions on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. There are dozens of people playing ping pong weekly at St Christopher’s!
So besides being a great outreach opportunity, we wondered how we could channel this excellent enthusiasm for an even greater good. We decided to use this momentum to both strengthen our church team spirit and to raise money for a great cause. We decided to have a fundraising event for FaithWorks! As there are 18 organizations under the FaithWorks umbrella, we made it our goal to try to have an 18-hour Ping Pong Relay Marathon. Once this idea was shared with the leaders, everyone got excited about making it happen. An organizing committee set two goals: raise $6000 for FaithWorks and have 60 people participate in the relay.
All players endeavoured to find individuals to sponsor them. In our church announcement, we urged all parishioners, “If you are not playing, please sponsoring someone to play.” The responses were extremely positive!
We started each of the two marathon relay days (March 22 and 24) with a prayer to remember the ministries of all 18 FaithWorks organizations. There was tremendous energy in the room. Then the games began! Some came to play for an hour, others played for 6 hours. By the end of Day 1, we raised $2950 with 53 players. Then on Day 2, by the 12th hour, we were edging close to our target of $6000. By the end of the 18th hour, we surpassed our target and reached $8812. Donations continued to flow and at the end, we raised $9002 for FaithWorks and over 60 players contributing to the project!
Parishioners not only had a great time in playing and raising money, but we also got opportunities to fellowship with new and potential church members from the community. One person has started to join our Thursday YEAH (Outreach) club. We thank God for all these blessings! As Paul says in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”