- Pen Braister-Sturgis
THE IMPACT OF OVERALLS: A Story of Support and Generosity
On a beautiful spring Sabbath morning, Pen Braister-Sturgis, the Arden Street Ministry leader, entered the foyer of the Arden Adventist Church and was surprised to see two men from
her Sabbath School class wearing overalls. Upon asking them about it, she found out that Paul M. recently had surgery and had to wear loose-fitting clothes, so he purchased brand new overalls to attend church. When Richard H. heard about Paul’s situation, he wanted to show his support by wearing similar clothes so Paul wouldn’t stand out in the congregation.
As the Sabbath School began, another friend, Mike H., entered the room and asked about the overalls. Once Paul explained the medical reason for wearing them and Richard’s show of solidarity, Mike sat down, but seemed to have something more to say about the subject. “I think it’s a cool idea,” Pen said to Mike. “It’s not every day that you see conservative men wear overalls to church.” Mike then challenged Pen to persuade Pastor Eric to wear overalls for the entire church service, including the sermon, and promised to donate $100 to the Arden Street Ministry.
Richard H. added to the challenge, offering to donate $200 to the ministry if Pen could get Pastor Eric to wear overalls for the entire church service. Three hundred dollars would buy a lot of food for the homeless, so Pen approached Pastor Eric and explained the situation. To her surprise, Pastor Eric agreed to wear overalls if more money was raised and spoke about the overalls challenge in the church announcements, encouraging the men in the church to participate and raise funds for the Arden Street Ministry.
Over the next few weeks, Pastor Eric continued to bring up the overalls challenge in his announcements, reminding the congregation of the increasing food prices and the challenges faced by the ministry. On Father’s Day, the overalls challenge Sabbath, Pen was shocked to
see the number of church members who participated, including Pastor Eric himself. During the announcements, Pastor Eric revealed that the challenge had raised more than $7,400 for the Arden Street Ministry.
Pen was thankful for a God who used a surgery and a pair of overalls to raise funds for a homeless ministry and for a church family that was supportive of those in need. She found herself wishing that the overalls challenge could become a yearly event at the Arden Adventist Church.