On Pentecost last year, 850 gathered for worship beneath an enormous yellow-and-white tent on a church lawn in Falls Church, Virginia. Folding chairs were arranged in roughly the same configuration as pews in a planned sanctuary to be built on that site.
It was Celebration Sunday at The Falls Church (Episcopal), and for the first time in recent memory, the whole congregation worshiped as one. The co-chairs of the building fund campaign, John and Tucker Viccellio, announced pledges totaling $1.5 million, including a donation that day of five dollars and change delivered in a plastic sandwich bag by a kindergartner.
The congregation had finished a three-month fund drive, reaching (just barely) its minimum goal for going ahead with plans to build. In the glow of celebration, a question persisted: Will it all come together? The church faced the need to raise more money. Construction and design details had to be finished and approved, under the watchful eye of a city council that is fiercely ...1