Living in the shadow of Disney’s Magic Kingdom has mostly been a happy experience for Community Presbyterian church in Celebration, Orlando. Its handsome white building, with storybook steeple, was part-funded by a pious niece of Walt. The nearby theme parks have supplied the church with many of its 800-odd members as well as a steady stream of visitors—in the winter, when tourists flock to Florida, the congregation often swells to 1,500. But when Walt Disney World closed in mid-March and the church did too, its fortunes took a dive.
Its income, which comes chiefly from weekly donations, plummeted. Several employees lost their jobs. Among them was Bill Vanderbush, one of two pastors at the church. “You know, as a pastor, that you are living on the generosity of those around you,” he says. “To lose your job when people are suffering is the nature of ministry.” …
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