Three years ago, a major construction project at First Presbyterian Church was coming to an end. As the architect put it, we were more than doubling “our footprint” on the property. Membership growth through the 1990s had made the building expansion necessary, and our members—bless ’em—had stepped up generously to support the cost, which was substantial—more, in fact, than I ever dreamed we could raise.
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Last Ash Wednesday I pulled out all the stops. My congregation had participated in Ash Wednesday services before, but nothing like this one. Since I was relatively new to the church and still enjoying a honeymoon with the members, I remember feeling particularly brave and adventurous—probably too adventurous.