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Church issues talents

April 09, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

SOUTH MOUNTAIN, Pa. - Matthew 25:14-30 tells the parable of the king who, leaving on a long journey, gave money to three servants with orders to make it increase and report to him upon his return.

The first servant increased his five talents to 10 and was rewarded. The second servant increased his two talents to five and also was rewarded.

The third servant buried his one talent and was condemned, said The Rev. David Keener, pastor of the South Mountain Bible Church.

Keener, inspired by the parable and the need to raise money for a new gym for his church, will issue "talents" in the form of cash to church members on Sunday.

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Each adult will get a $20 bill, teens a $10 bill and children will get $5. Keener said he expects to hand out about $2,500 in the hopes that it too will increase like the talents in the parable.

The estimated cost for building the 80-by-80-foot gym is about $220,000.

Some church members have ideas on how to increase their money. Two men, one a pilot with his own plane, the other a photographer, will use their cash to buy fuel and film and photograph people's homes from the air for a fee. Others will spend their cash on supplies to make crafts or baked goods to sell, Keener said.

He said the church constitution forbids selling things to raise money.

"It's no way to fund God's work. We're limited by that, but we've done well. When you sell things to people they quit giving," said Keener, 54.

The church, which opened in 1915 in a log building, operates on offerings and gifts from its members.

Construction on the gym will begin in August with completion planned in November, Keener said. The new building will improve the church's ability to serve families and youth. "It's the coming thing as a way to reach out to kids and help to keep them out of trouble," he said.

The catalyst behind the gym project is Irene Minnick, 68, a church member who established a youth center in a house owned by the church in 1991.

"The children had no place to go. They were always in the roads. There is no theater, bowling alley, park or anyplace for them to go," Minnick said.

The center is equipped with basketball and volleyball courts, a pool table and other games.

Keener said the idea for the gym came up when Minnick began to push for more space for youth activities.

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