Seymour Christ Temple, an Apostolic Pentecostal church at 607 Euclid Ave. in Seymour, recently decided to conduct a penny war to raise funds for travel and activity costs for its youth group.
Little did Pastor Dennis Allman II and his wife, Michelle, know that this competition would gain major interest within the church and community.
“It has really exceeded our expectations, and not only that, but the visibility this little fundraiser has gained is amazing,” Allman said.
He was born and raised in Seymour with his father, Dennis Allman Sr., starting Seymour Christ Temple in 1940. Allman’s father bought the property that was once an old junkyard known as Jarvis’ Junkyard for around $125.
Allman met Michelle of Indianapolis when they were 16 and they married when they turned 19. Throughout the years, the couple helped out in the church as pastor-elect and treasurer.
After the passing of Allman’s mother, his father decided to step down from his position as pastor at the time. Allman stepped into the position shortly afterwards. He has been the pastor for 13 years now.
“Since that time frame, we have built a new facility, and we have a Christian school. It has been a great ministry, and it’s our mission to provide young people the best education we can offer in a Christian environment,” Allman said.
Cups are filling up with change as the penny war continues at Seymour Christ Temple. The nominated people for the penny war are Dennis Allman Sr., Dennis Allman II, Brian Luckey and Chris Everhart.
Erika Malone | The Tribune
With this mission in mind, he said they take the church youth group to many events and provide activities for that group to become involved in. One event the church likes to take the group to is a national youth conference known as Peak in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With travel and lodging costs, the church tries to defer those costs as much as possible.
“Some kids may be a little less fortunate than others, and we don’t want to exclude them, so we sponsor them. We try to find ways to recoup the funds and plan for future events,” Allman said.
This is where the idea for a penny war came in, and once the contestants were decided, the battle was on.
For this penny war, pennies are considered positive points, and silver coins are negative points. The community will donate change in designated containers for who they want to lose. Whoever has the most negative points by the end of the penny war, the loser has to wear a bathrobe and slippers to Sunday service.
The contestants for the penny war are Bishop Dennis Allman Sr., Pastor Dennis Allman II, Sunday School Superintendent Brian Luckey and Jackson County Jail Commander Chris Everhart.
“Right now, it’s contested between my husband and brother Everhart. We’ve had a lot of fun with it,” Michelle said.
The penny war is a four-week fundraiser with a collection halfway through to take to the bank. The youth group’s goal was to raise around $400 to $500, and halfway through, $488 has been raised, and it hasn’t stopped there.
“Since then, I have had a $500 donation. The competition is getting pretty serious, and I’ve seen people come in with a whole box of pennies to get themselves some positive points,” Michelle said, laughing.
With exceeding expectations, the church has added paper money to the contest, making pennies and paper bills positive points.
As the competition grows fierce, the penny war has not only gained attention from the church community but from others outside the church who want to get involved.
Allman holds multiple classes for male residents at the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown and has told them about the contest.
“It has gained attention in the jail, as well, and I think it’s good because it’s something they can all have some fun with,” Allman said.
Allman and his wife put on a skit for the male residents, bringing out pieces of different colored cloth for the contestants’ robes, calling themselves the “Royal Robe Tailors.” Using measuring tape and cloth swatches, Michelle pretended to be a tailor.
“The residents got a kick out of that interaction, and it helps keep the idea alive,” Allman said.
He said they are thankful for the continued fundraising, but the added benefit is the possibility of more people coming to their church.
“This is somewhat of a teachable moment for these young people. It’s a penny war, but look at how much we gained when we put in a little effort,” Allman said. “The lesson shows that all of us have something to give and to not let something you don’t have hinder you from what you can give. This penny war is a great example of that.”
The collections will end Sunday, and the lucky contestant to wear the bathrobe and slippers will be announced during Sunday service March 5.