This section is from the "How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt" book, by Rev. Sylvanus Stall. Amazon: How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt.
Father Maguire, of the Roman Catholic Church, gathered a congregation in North Albany, N. Y. In two years the little temporary chapel was no longer able to contain the audiences, until one Sunday, after presenting the necessities of the parish, Father Maguire said to his people: "We will build a plain, cheap edifice, in which we may have room for every necessity. Material is cheap, labor is cheap, while many poor men will be glad to get employment; and by doing what we can ourselves we may make the burden light. To-morrow evening we shall break ground. Let each man of this congregation come to the church lots on Pearl street, bringing his shovel, pick, wheelbarrow, or horse and cart, and we shall work together each night until nine o'clock. Thus beginning in the name of God, we shall soon have made the excavations, and throughout as far as our strength or money permits we shall push on the work to completion."
At the appointed time about three hundred members of the congregation assembled at the site of the new church, armed with pick and shovel, ready for work. The pastor, standing in their midst, uttered a blessing, and then, as he thrust his shovel into the ground, the scene became one of the greatest enthusiasm. Shout after shout arose from the assembled crowd, and the picks and shovels were plied most lively. Each evening from seven until nine o'clock this work was pushed forward, and when Saturday night came, that part of the work was complete, without any comparative cost. In a somewhat similar manner the remainder of the work was carried forward, until a church 124x64 stood complete. It surely was a sensible and successful method for a poor congregation to pursue.
In repairing and beautifying his church, Rev. J. H. Leeser very aptly made such a division of the work and expense as would most readily secure the co-operation of the different classes of people in the congregation. The young men and young women would be most likely to labor faithfully for the adorning of the church, so they were organized into a committee on frescoing. The younger members of the congregation were to secure the money for paying the plasterers. The ladies secured the money for the new carpets, and the older male members of the church paid the painters and built the new fence. Each of these classes had its own treasurer and an executive committee, of which the pastor was always chairman, and to secure harmony of action, there was also a general committee, composed of one of each of the separate committees. The effect was stimulating to each department, and the result most satisfactory. Among others, there is one most excellent feature in this method, and that is that it sets every one at work. If you want your people interested in the church, give them something to do.