The Mystery of Luke, The Bull

Early in July 2014, Vanessa Sandom, then-mayor of Hopewell Township, New Jersey, acting on behalf of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, contacted me as pastor of the Titusville United Methodist Church (TUMC). This council was not yet a year old and I had missed the buzz about its first fundraiser, called “The Stampede”. The mayor explained that 68 fiberglass oxen, painted by local artists, were to be placed throughout the area in an artistic homage to Hopewell Valley’s agrarian past. They would later be auctioned off to raise funds for local art programs. She asked if TUMC would host one of these nearly 8-foot long, 100-pound statues for viewing by the public on our church-lawn, beside NJ Route 29. I could see the project had community-building value, joining the area’s emerging arts culture to its history, shared by TUMC for over 200 years. It also meant publicity for the church. In talking with parishioners, I found support for the idea and, on Friday, July 18, our Board of Trustees approved it.

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