By Teresa Jagodzinski
Don’t be alarmed if you wake up some morning to a flock of sheep in your yard or if you see them in your neighbor’s yard.
St. John’s Lutheran Church in Howard Lake owns the sheep, and they are using them to help the youth of the church raise money.
The youth group from St. John’s has a new fundraiser, “sheeping.” Their flock of 24 wooden sheep have been popping up in people’s yards for the past few months.
To be “sheeped” means you wake up in the morning to a number of these wooden sheep in your front yard. The only reason for the sheeping is because someone was thinking of you.
For $25, anyone can contact the church and say they want to “sheep” someone. This sets the sheeping process in motion.
Groups of adults and youth from the church are contacted as to where and when the sheeping will take place. Then, around 10 to 11 p.m. on the designated day, the “sheeping” begins.
Three or four carloads full of people and the flock of sheep head to their destination. They park away from the house they intend to sheep. Everyone grabs a few sheep and places them in the yard.
All of this is done very quietly so the person isn’t aware of the sheep until the next morning.
The sheep have the message “You’ve been sheeped.”
One sheep has the church’s information on it. This one is put right by the door, so the people know as soon as they see it why the sheep are in their yard.
The group comes back later the next day and picks the sheep up for free. For $5 the recipient can request to find out who sheeped them, but if the person who requested the sheeping pays an additional $5, the group won’t reveal it to the recipient.
So, a total of $35 can be made on one sheeping.
The idea came from the church’s youth director, Karen Egeberg.
Her family had been sheeped when they lived in Annandale, and it’s something she’s wanted to do for many years at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
“I’ve wanted to get it up and running for a long time,” Egeberg added.
The first time they shared their idea with the congregation, eight families contacted them afterwards about wanting to sheep someone.
They’ve been doing it since May, and so far have sheeped 15 to 20 people.
“The people are so generous,” Egeberg added. “Many of the people write checks over the amount.”
The youth group has made $500 so far from their sheepings which they used for the mission trip that they just took to Denver, Colo.
Any money that is raised now they will use for their Backyard Missions, which does repairs and cleanup in the local area, and the money also will be used to help some of the youth attend activities that they might not be able to afford.
Along with it being a great and different fundraiser, it is also a very fun activity for the youth.
Egeberg added that the kids love doing it and can’t wait for the next sheeping. Many times she hears the same comments about it being “one of the best ones” after the sheeping is done.
Egeberg also added that it’s good for the kids because “it’s a little mischievous, but fun.”
They’ve had many interesting experiences while performing their fundraiser, from dogs barking, to motion detectors shedding light on them, to neighbors checking up on suspicious activity.
“There is a unique story to each one,” she added.
So far, they haven’t been caught while setting up their flock.
“We did contact the police to let them know we would be doing this,” Egeberg added.
Egeberg stated that she’s all for involving the young in church activities. She wants them to know church continues after confirmation.
Egeberg has gone on each of the sheepings and said they make her “feel youthful,” and many adults have expressed an interest in going on a sheeping to join in the fun.
Michelle Heuer of rural Howard Lake was a recipient of a sheeping in June.
She stated that it was a nice experience to have someone thinking of her in this way, and it made her laugh the entire day.
Volunteers helped to create the sheep. Greg Ahrens was able to get his employer, Fullerton Lumber, to donate the wood, AJ Fie cut out the wood and spray painted them white, the youth from the church painted the faces on them, and Egeberg’s husband, Rich, put the stakes on them.
Egeberg explained that the sheepings aren’t just in Howard Lake. They have gone to other towns, too. She also added that you don’t have to be a member of the congregation to request it or to be a recipient of a sheeping.
The sheepings will continue all throughout the summer and into the fall.
After that, they will be done every now and then, Egeberg explained.
Anyone interested in sheeping someone, can contact St. John’s Lutheran Church in Howard Lake at (320) 543-2227.