153 Fishes

by | Jul 10, 2017 | News | 0 comments

Daryle-Lynn-Cornelison-artCapital campaigns are rarely ‘exciting’ in the life of the church – especially not when they are for needed repairs, maintenance and upgrades. But don’t tell that to Gus Altuzarra and the other members of Laguna Presbyterian Church.

“We’d been on this capital campaign to refurbish the sanctuary since about 2010,” Gus explained. The church took out a ten-year mortgage to pay off the construction loan, and was about seven years in.

“We decided that we wanted to pay off the loan by the church’s 100th year anniversary, which we will celebrate this year in September,” Gus continued. They sought help from members of the congregation, as well as a grant from the presbytery and raised almost all of the needed funds.

Around the same time, some of the members of the congregation were preparing for a trip to the Holy Land led by pastor Jerry Tankersly. As part of that preparation they participated in a Bible study, studying the gospels.


Duccio 14th C

“In John 21 it talks about the disciples being out fishing after Jesus had been crucified and they don’t catch anything,” Gus continued. “They see him on the shore and he tells them to go back out and throw the nets on the other side – they caught 153 large fish.”

It just so happened that the financial administrator, who was not a part of the Bible study, came to them shortly thereafter and let them know that the balance that was needed in order to pay off the loan before the anniversary was $153,000.

“Some would say it is coincidental, but for me, that is the way God works!” Gus shared.

Gus then stood up in front of the congregation and told them the story of the 153 fish and the $153,000. “I’m up here fishing today and I need 153 fish to burn our mortgage!”

Within a matter of two or three Sundays the congregation raised the $153,000 and paid off the mortgage.

“The coolest part was that the church office kept sending me emails and saying, ‘We’ve got more checks coming in ‘for Gus’s fishing trip’ or ‘for a few more fish.”

“The best part is, we did it together – everyone participated, those who could give $5 and those who could give $1000,” continued Gus. “As you can imagine, everyone is overjoyed – now we can get back to doing the work of ministry and mission, the things we should be doing.”

“Laguna Beach Community Presbyterian Church, 1928” by Daryle Lynn Cornelison
A Fine Art Giclée Print, Limited Edition of 100
Printed on Archival Paper
Unframed: $150 Limited number Framed: $495
Cards: $8 / each (or) $35 for a pack of 5
Painted on oil in 2017 in homage to Anna A. Hills by Daryle Lynn Cornelison to celebrate the first 100 years of Laguna Presbyterian Church.
Each 9″ x 12″ print will be numbered and identified with a certificate of authenticity.

To purchase this fine art print (CLICK HERE!)