57 Cents To Build A Bigger Church
Date Added: Oct. 19, 2003
A common theme in urban legendry is the thought that great things often come from meager beginnings - that those who seem to have little or no material wealth can build empires of gold. This is one of those tales, but unlike the others flying in and out of inboxes, this one is close to true.
A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it "was too crowded." "I can't go to Sunday School," she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.
Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so happy that they found room for her, that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kindhearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.
Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting which read, "This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School. For two years she had saved for this offering of love.
When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.
But the story does not end there!
A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents.
Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl's gift had increased to $250,000.00--a huge sum for that time (near the! turn of the century).
Her unselfish love had paid large dividend. When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300 and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained.
Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday Schoolers, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time. In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russel H. Conwell, author of the book, "Acres of Diamonds" A true story, which goes to show WHAT GOD, CAN DO WITH 57 cents.
Please send this back.- You'll see why. St. Theresa Prayer(cannot be deleted)
REMEMBER to make a wish before you read the prayer. That's all you have to do. There is nothing attached. This is a powerful novena. Just send this to four people and let me know what happens on the fourth day.... Do not break this, please. Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of reward. (This is true) (Did you make a wish?) If you don't make a wish, it won't come true. Last Chance to Make a wish. May today there be peace within. May you trust your highest power that you are exactly where you are meant to be....
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you....
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.... Let this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, and dance. It is there for each and every one of you....
Send this to 7 People within the next 5 mins and your wish will come True.
This story bears several similarities to earlier "humble beginnings" stories such at the origins of Stanford University or the price of a miracle. However, this story has been validated by officials at Temple University.
The text above about little Hattie May Wiatt and the origins of Temple Baptist Church and Temple University in Philadelphia first originated as a sermon delivered by Russell Conwell to his Grace Baptist (Temple) church congregation in 1912. The full text of that sermon can be found on the site referenced below.
Not surprisingly, the text that has been circulating via e-mail is altered considerably from Conwell's original, as Temple officials point out:
The so-called "St. Theresa Prayer" and empty promises to make you forward the story have been added as it circulates and actually detract from the meaningfulness of the tale. Break this chain.
References: Temple University