POSTED: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 2:45pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 2:49pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A church in Flower Mound, Texas has adopted a pig as its weight-loss mascot.
The St. Nicholas Episcopal Church congregation is losing weight, inspired by its pet pig.
Avery may not be a picture-perfect model, but the potbelly pig is breaking the mold.
"Most of the time, if you think about a pig. You think, 'to market, to market, to buy a fat pig,'" church member Laurel Wright said.
But not when thinking about Avery, who is motivating church members with her weight loss.
"God spoke to us through Avery the pig," said the Rev. Mark Wright, St. Nicholas pastor. "It's just a unique way God always speaks to us."
Wright said Avery was put on a diet because she was unhealthy.
"She was so large that the fat was rolling over her eyes ... and her belly was dropping to the ground, and she couldn't get up on a sidewalk," Wright said.
The four-legged friend is now 100 pounds lighter, and church members have followed in her footsteps.
So far, the congregation as a whole has lost nearly 600 pounds.
"We are not finished. We are not finished," Wright said.
Church members are shedding pounds with the help of a program called Slimming World, but the pig is the catalyst for their challenge.
"If she could do it, I could do it, too -- believe me," church member Debbie Mancino said.
Members of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church are encouraging other churches in the area to take part in Avery's Challenge.