An offering in the saloon?
Texas history is full of interesting stories. Let me share one about the town of Pecos. It's about perseverance, vision, and determination. A real get-it-done success story.
In the early days of the Lone Star state, the ground was untilled and civilization was just forming. But West Texas, was behind the curve. It took a while for people to migrate out there, and to scratch out a living.
The town of Pecos is not a tourist destination. It is located 200 miles east of El Paso, on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. So, unless you are hungry for cantaloupes or have been sentenced to the worlds’ largest private prison, you probably will not be visiting Pecos soon.
And yet, many wonderful people live there. In 1890, 393 hardy souls called Pecos home. Even today, only about 9,000 people enjoy the desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. If they get 10 inches of rain in a year, they celebrate.
In 1893, several Pecosite ladies began meeting together to pray that an Episcopal church would be built in their little town. Eventually, they organized into the “St. Marks’s Guild,” and each member paid ten cents per month toward the building project. Each meeting followed the same order: Sing a hymn, read Scripture, and recite the Lord’s Prayer. Then there was a business session to plan fund raisers, and to reports on past events. After the business, the ladies had lunch and played table games into the late afternoon.
Their fundraising for the church was remarkable. From quilting bees to variety shows, they were always fulfilling their mission. But even with their valiant efforts, income was slow. In those days, it was the men who had the money, and they did not share the same enthusiasm about building a church.
Pecos was known for having many popular saloons where the menfolk caroused. It is not recorded which lady thought of operation saloon, but it quickly became a major fundraising tool. On selected evenings, the ladies would divide themselves into “bands,” and randomly visited the saloons. They would encourage the men to contribute to the building fund and then passed the hat. It worked!
By March 1894, they were able to purchase a corner lot for $200 and by the summer of 1896, a small wooden edifice was completed. The first service was held on August 9 of that year. Now, for over 122 years, St. Marks stands as a tribute to the vision and endurance of the women of St. Marks Guild.
It took people of vision to pursue Godly accomplishment. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The ladies of St. Marks Guild heard from the Lord, and made His vision their own.
Receiving a vision from God is good. But it is better to take the next step as found in Habakkuk 2:2, “Write the vision, and make it plain.” These ladies organized themselves and wrote down their goal, and prayed specifically for it.
But it is best to put feet to your faith and do the good work of the Lord. We are to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2), and be faithful to our calling. Today, I salute the women of St. Marks Guild, and all Believers who are building the Kingdom of God. Receive the vision, write it down, and walk in love as you pursue it. God bless!