Illinois: Of God and Mammon

Like many other rural congregations, the Kinmundy United Methodist Church (congregation: 170) in southern Illinois has long relied on the collection plate for its modest income. But all that changed this year when a tract of farm land, which had been willed to the church nearly 30 years ago, began spewing oil at the rate of 165 bbl. a day and producing $10,000 royalty checks for the church every month. Since then the membership has been arguing over God's intentions for the money.

Some say it should be plowed into good works, including a few improvements at the 80-year-old red...

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