Retired Lexington minister Wayne Smith, who set out to raise nearly $90,000 to finance a restoration of the church where he grew up, said the public response has far exceeded his goal.
As of Monday afternoon, Smith had received $130,237 in checks for the Delhi Church of Christ in Cincinnati.
"It's been a thrill to open the letters" said Smith, 85, who founded Southland Christian Church.
Smith said seven envelopes arrived in his mailbox Friday afternoon. In the last one was a nice note, accompanied by a check for $40,000. Smith didn't know the person who sent the money.
"I couldn't believe it," he said.
Smith was trying to raise $89,480 in two weeks to pay for a new heating and air-conditioning system, new paint and carpeting, water-damage repairs in the basement and in the walls of the sanctuary, removal of mold and asbestos, and work to prevent further water damage at the independent Christian church.
With some of the excess money, Smith said he would like to give a gift of appreciation to the minister who has worked with the small congregation for 18 years, and the rest is to be put in escrow for the church's use.