The Rev. Dennis Ray had just completed a peculiar transaction at his bank: the withdrawal of $2,000 worth of $5 bills.

The bills were handed out Sunday to worshippers at York Christian Church in Springettsbury Township. Elders wanted to mark the church's fifth anniversary in its 2901 Pleasant Valley Road building by giving congregants a gift to pay forward.

"Why wait until Sunday?" Ray asked himself as he waited for his money last week. When the teller returned with his stack of bills, Ray handed her one. Then he gave the adjacent teller $5.

"By the time I got to the third teller, my hand was shaking," Ray told worshippers as he recounted the story Sunday.

Elder Gary Jenkins distributes $5 to congregation members Sunday at York Christian Church in Springettsbury Township.
Elder Gary Jenkins distributes $5 to congregation members Sunday at York Christian Church in Springettsbury Township. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Paul Kuehnel)
"God has been so good to us as a church."

The elder board came up with the $5 idea to celebrate the spirit of Easter along with the building anniversary, said Harold Schwartz, a board member.

"Easter is the resurrection of Christ, and serving others is what Christ was all about," he added.

The church is committed to outreach into the community and beyond, Schwartz said. Two mission trips to Guatemala are planned this year.

After services Sunday, the congregation took a full Easter dinner to York's Helping Hands for the Homeless and spent the afternoon feeding folks there.

Ray chose Romans 8:31-35 as the Scripture to accompany his sermon: "If God is with us, who can be against us?" the congregation repeated three times, each time louder than before.

"It was the design of God that Jesus would go to the cross for us," Ray reminded worshippers. "He took the punishment for all of us."

Although worshippers didn't know about the $5 giveaway, Brandon Busha of West York wasn't surprised.

"I've been coming here for four years and, ever since I started, I could just see how God's love just flows out of here," he said.

Mark Queitzsch of Hellam Township is familiar with the idea from other churches and said it's a good one.

"You want to bless somebody? Hand them some money," he said after the service. "I've done it before, and I know and I believe it speaks volumes."

@jhilton32; 771-2024

Growing fast

YCC has quadrupled in size since it moved into its new church on April 8, 2007, said the Rev. Dennis Ray, and counts about 400 members. The purchase and renovation of the 3.5-acre site, formerly a rehabilitation facility, cost the congregation about $1.5 million.

"We sit in this building today completely debt-free," Ray said to cheers and clapping from worshippers.