This past March in Manorville, Long Island; Jesus was literally de-faced. Seeing the mistreated Savior up close inspired several locals to use Pokémon to address the problem. After removing the garbage bag that Jesus had been wrapped in, the desired intention was to resurrect the Christ.
Such revitalization was sought after because, according to ABC News, vandals had smashed the face of a Jesus statue at the local Shrine of Our Lady of the Island Church. Initially, Suffolk County Police were investigating to see whether the incident constituted a hate crime. Soon after, Newsday reported that the Suffolk County Crime Stoppers were offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
The statue, located just outside of the church, is also the stomping grounds for another local crowd – a faithful group of Pokémon Go gamers. David Ringhiser, 37, is one such regular who visits the Shrine’s several PokéStops - places where players of the game collect virtual items. After hearing about the vandalism he decided to do something about it.
“A lot of us play Pokémon Go there to load up on items. I think they are great to let us drive around or walk around there with no issues,” Ringhiser wrote in the description of the GoFundMe page. “I’m not really a religious person, but because the place is so nice and the Pokémon Go community is pretty into keeping the community safe and clean, I thought I’d give something… It’s a beautiful place and right now they have a garbage bag covering the statue. They shouldn’t have something like that there,” Ringhiser said. “We’re just trying to help.”
Seeking to do good, Ringhiser and his fellow Pokémon Goers raised over $2,200 initially to help the church. Eventually over $5,000 was raised for the full repair.
The Statesman reported that the Reverend who is an administrator for the Shine hadn’t noticed the players who regularly walk the grounds, phones in hand, or drive slowly through the parking lot so he was pleasantly surprised by the gamers' generosity.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. How might churches better serve as community gathering spaces for people actively using technology?
Q2. How might technologists collaborate with churches to develop better-augmented reality community spaces?
Q3. What ideas for generosity in your community does the gamers example bring to mind for you?