TJ Remaley isn’t just yolking around

February 22, 2022 by Emily Enders Odom

Why did the pastor cross the road?

To draw attention to the Presbyterian Giving Catalog’s new Coop Club, of course.

It was while browsing the booths at the Marketplace and Bookstore in Chicago last week at the 2022 annual event of the Association of Partners in Christian Education (APCE) that the Rev. TJ Remaley, who frequently sports a bow tie, caught sight of something he couldn’t live without.

A bow tie bedecked with chickens.

“Over the years in my ministry, I’ve become known for my collection of bow ties, not to mention my collection of coordinating dress socks,” said Remaley, a lifelong Presbyterian who has served congregations in Greenville, South Carolina, and Cape Coral, Florida. “My interest in these accessories began as a way of introducing some more personality into an otherwise straightforward suit. I wear a bow tie virtually every time I lead worship, though I’ll occasionally slip in a regular necktie just to keep folks on their toes.”

When Remaley learned that the unique bow tie was one of the possible prizes for Marketplace visitors who had collected enough vendors’ signatures to complete a Marketplace bingo card, he vowed to lobby for the opportunity to claim the eggs-traordinary fashion accessory as his own.

Although already a faithful supporter of the Giving Catalog, Remaley was as yet unfamiliar with the Coop Club, an incentive available to those donors who give a family of chickens each month or an egg a day through the Giving Catalog.

Every new Coop Club member receives a welcome package with a delightful assortment of chicken-themed gift items and a follow-up package with even more fun, themed pieces. Although the bow tie, which was produced as a limited-edition giveaway, is not currently included in the membership packages, it may eventually be added.

Now in its eighth, record-breaking year, the 2021-2022 Presbyterian Giving Catalog — which is available both in print and online, in EnglishSpanish and Korean — is filled with a wide variety of gifts that provide real and positive impact around the world, including aid for refugees, access to clean water and help to end hunger.

“Because I am such a fan of our denominational mission efforts, I’m eager to support the projects that we connectional Presbyterians can easily accomplish together that are often a real stretch to do by ourselves,” he said. “The Presbyterian Giving Catalog is a great example of that connectional work. Individually, we may buy one family of chickens, or one fishing net, but when taken together with the donations and purchases of other Presbyterians, it makes a significant impact for families and communities in need, not unlike that of the loaves and fishes!”

Remaley, who said that he likes “to lift up the good news of what God is doing in and through our denomination” wherever he serves, will continue to support such PC(USA) mission initiatives as the Special Offerings and the Giving Catalog in his new call as pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Boise, Idaho, where he and his family look forward to relocating next month.

A Coop Club Welcome Package (Photo by Emily Enders Odom)

“While I lift up the Giving Catalog in my ministry as a pastor, I’ve also used it for my own gift-giving purposes, too,” he added. “Because lots of my extended family seem to have everything they need already, giving a life-saving gift through the Giving Catalog is far more meaningful and long-lasting than most any other knick-knack collecting dust on a shelf. It’s a win-win, and all for the glory of God and the betterment of the world God so loves.”

On Feb. 11, when APCE Marketplace co-chairs Christina Cosby and Kat Green-Ross announced the bingo winners and awarded the prizes, to no one’s surprise, Remaley walked off — crowing — with the bow tie and a bonus pair of Coop Club socks in hand.

“My new Coop Club tie brings my collection to 49 bow ties in total,” he clucked. “Just three more, and I’ll be able to have one for every Sunday of the year! I hope the bow tie and socks can serve as a conversation starter with the people I meet. The way I see it, if they work to transform me into a walking billboard for the programs, they will have done their job!”

This was published for Presbyterian News Service on February 18, 2022.

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