Preaching from Above
It's everything you'd expect to see in church on a Sunday; the church organ, greeting friends and the opening hymnal. What you don't expect to see on a Sunday is the entire congregation sitting outside the church. That's because the sermon is literally coming down from above.
"I said to the congregation, the day that we have 120 in worship, not counting Christmas or Easter, those don't count, the next time I preach, I'll preach from the roof," Rev. John Ray of United Methodist Presbyterian Church said.
Vivian Strank-Updyke has played piano at the Wellsville Church for almost 75 years. In all her years on the bench, she's never seen a stunt like this.
"Of course we didn't know what he was thinking about. Of course he's such a dynamic person you know. And so we thought, well, and then we thought, well we'll never have more than a hundred and twenty," Strank-Updyke said.
More than a year after Ray issued his challenge, the church rose to the occasion and doubled its attendance.
"All of it was just an effort to get people to start thinking about the future and quit worrying as much about the past," Ray said.
One hundred and thirty-four people were in attendance. Ray used the same challenge while pastoring a church in O'Fallon.