Peter looked up from the newspaper. “They’re selling the old Methodist church on Henry Street.”
He raised his eyebrows. “What do you mean ‘and’? It’s perfect
“Why is it?”
“Our congregation has outgrown the neighbourhood centre. We need something bigger.” He held up the page displaying a photo of the church in question. “And ...”
“And,” said Jan becoming animated. “It would be perfect!”
“I’ll call in and take some photos on the way to the factory.” He paused at the backdoor. “Can you phone Pastor Goodhew and ask him to come over tonight?”
Jan grimaced. “He hates coming out Monday nights – you know he likes to watch the Sunday football match.”
“Well, this is more important. Tell him it’s regarding the church’s future.” The door closed and he was gone.
“Jan Bygar here Pastor Goodhew. Peter was...” she paused. “Yes, we’re fine thanks. Peter wants to know...” she closed her eyes and mentally counted to ten. “Yes, your sermon was great,” and before he could say more, said: “Peter would like you to come around here tonight on a matter relating to the church’s future.”
Her best friend, Gina, came through the back door and Jan mimed bashing her head against the wall. “Yes, Pastor, I know it’s Monday, but Peter was quite insistent.”
Her friend grinned and poured two mugs of coffee.
“Thank you Pastor Goodhew, we’ll see you tonight at about 7:30.” She dropped gratefully into a chair.
“Here, you look as though you need this.”
A strong, black coffee was placed in front of her.
“Oh bless you my child.” Said Jan, giving her a hug.
“That sounded like a fun call first thing in the morning.”
“Honestly! He can be ...”
Gina blocked her ears. “Noooo, I can’t listen.”
“I was going to say, he can be a pain sometimes.”
“Well, forget about him. We’re going shopping. The market is having a 3-for-1 offer from 9:30 until 11:00.”
Jan gulped down the remainder of her coffee. “Come on then. What are we waiting for?
“So what do you think? The church is ideal. It’s in the CBD, has a parking lot opposite, and the asking price is only $125,000.”
Pastor Goodhew looked at the photos Peter had taken earlier in the day.
“If we ever outgrow it,” Peter continued, “we can always buy the block next door and extend.”
“I shall study these and call a meeting in a day or two.”
Peter and Jan looked at one another as their Pastor drove away.
“I think he liked it.” Jan said, giving Peter a hug.
Two days later, Pastor Goodhew called a deacons’ meeting. “I’ve considered the church in Henry Street.” He frowned and pursed his lips. “However, I don’t like the pulpit; it’s too plain. I’d like something a little more ornate as befitting a man of my position.”
“But it’s no worse than the one you use now.” Peter argued.
“Jesus never had a pulpit – ornate or otherwise.” Deacon Andrews muttered in disgust.
Pastor Goodhew picked up his jacket. “I’ve made my decision; we’re buying a block of land on Bringelly Road.”
Peter flopped onto the lounge and pulled off his shoes.
“Well?” Jan asked, massaging his shoulders.
“Harvey decided we’re not buying it.”
Peter yelped as Jan’s fingers dug into his shoulders. “Honey, I’d like to keep the shoulders for a few more years.”
“What? Oh Peter, I’m sorry.” She looped her arms around his shoulders and kissed him.
“It appears our good Pastor has already agreed to purchase a block of land on Bringelly Road.”
“But Peter, the only block of land for sale on Bringelly Road has an asking price of $220,000!”
Peter nodded. “And we have to build a church to go on it.”
Jan hugged him. “Forget about it tonight. Come on, let’s go to bed.”
Pastor Goodhew gnawed on his thumbnail as he reread the letter from the bank. The church was two months behind in payments for the new building... again. The bank pointed out it was the third time it had happened in the past eighteen months.
He put the letter aside and picked up the local newspaper. His jaw dropped and he turned four shades paler as he read the headline.
“The old Methodist Church on Henry Street, purchased two years ago for $125,000 by George Morris, was sold today for just over two million dollars. The new owners plan to turn it into a restaurant.”
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