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Toying with my coleslaw, I tuned in to the conversation at the other end of the table. (District Prayer Conference is a wonderful place to get inspiration and encouragement, as well as to get a feel for what lay people think about churches and pastors.)

A rotund and thickly bespectacled woman was clearly speaking to more than just her friends across the table. "I guess--for a new church--it's a good one, but … " Her voice trailed off, and her little audience leaned forward to get the real scoop. "They don't have an evening service."

Her listeners shook their heads.

"And you know what else?" She leaned forward, this time with even more graveness than before. "Pastor Marks doesn't even want one!"

Eyes rolled heavenward, mouths opened wide, they stared at each other in disbelief.

Not in the mood for dessert, I quickly made an exit. They were talking about a daughter church ours had begun, and Pastor Marks was a good friend. It was true. Wilsonville Alliance Church did not have an evening ...

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