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Heaven’s Herd of Holy Goats
at St. Michael's Episcopal Church

Bon Air, Virginia

 
by Anthony W. Creech

 


One goat lived on a parish family’s porch roof for several months,
rendered here in a watercolor image
of the Bon Air Victorian Day Parade

 
     
 

Goats?
Creative inspiration can arise in the oddest of places. For a parishioner at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in the Richmond neighborhood of Bon Air, Virginia, inspiration hit inside a Saks Fifth Avenue department store. Don Spriggs wandered into Saks looking for a hat one fall day in 2005 and came out with eighteen goats donated to the church. Goats? Yes, goats – in this case goat shaped mannequins that had been used by the store as part of a display of cashmere garments.

 
     
 

This of course begs the question, why goats? “Well,” explains Don, “there was just something charming about these little fiberglass things. When I saw them in the store, I had the strongest feeling that God was trying to tell me something. I just knew that there was some way we could put them to use at St. Michael’s.”

This was just the seed. Don’s first idea was a tip of his new Saks hat to a public art project that had occurred city-wide about five years previously.

 

image

The goats leaving Saks

 

 

     
 

That effort – called “Go Fish!” – involved various local artists decorating large fiberglass fish which were then displayed all over town. After months of public display, the fish were auctioned off to raise money for various charitable causes.

Similar projects had occurred in other cities (cows in Chicago, for example). Don thought, “Why not do the same thing at St. Michael’s with the eighteen goats?” This idea was immediately greeted with enthusiasm from the congregation.

 
 
Vincent Van Goat in the making
     
 

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2007 The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts