By Anne Nelson
Annual Christmas Marketplace for Local Missions
Every first Saturday in November for the past 26 years, Fayetteville First UMC has hosted an Annual Christmas Marketplace to benefit local missions.
Over the years the marketplace has evolved. Early on, the United Methodist Women’s (UMW) Circles would make handmade crafts to sell, more like a traditional church bazaar. Today, it’s a bustling local market. On behalf of the circles, Carol Key, a church and UMW member, coordinates booth rentals to a variety of local vendors. At the marketplace you’ll find everything from Avon to Mary Kay, 31 to many unique, handmade items. This year’s oldest vendor was Bill Slagle, a 92-year-old retired Baptist minister, who crafts wooden pens, crosses, benches, and clocks. Half of their overall proceeds come from these booth rental fees.
The remaining proceeds come from food sales (hot dogs, homemade soup, chili, and yummy grilled cheese sandwiches) and the “Timeless Treasures Sale,” which is an upscale yard sale of sorts. Because the food and yard sale items are donated, all proceeds go directly to missions.
In 2014, the UMW Circles of Fayetteville First, with the heavy-lifting help of the church men, raised $10,500. This year’s Marketplace, held on November 7, raised $11,000, enabling the UMW circles to give nine $1,000 gifts and three $500 gifts to various local organizations in Fayette County. These donations benefit a wide spectrum within the community including veterans, foster families, needy families, youth, those experiencing grief, and those affected by cancer.
The Fayetteville First UMC Annual Christmas Marketplace is in itself a win-win! Vendors have a reasonably-priced, safe, clean venue to sell their goods, and the church is able to act as a conduit of God’s love and grace by returning the proceeds to the local community via cash donations to organizations doing the most good.
Missions Market + The Dogwood Shop Support Global Missions
In November 2010, Peachtree Road UMC (PRUMC) in Atlanta held its first annual Missions Market, where goods purchased from the church’s global ministry focus countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, the country of Georgia, and Kenya were sold at fair trade prices. The market was such a huge success that Anne French, Director of Global Missions at PRUMC, decided to do more.
In a no-longer-used retail space on PRUMC’s campus, Anne partnered with a local boutique owner to create a pop-up shop in the spring of 2014, continuing to sell the fair trade goods from their partner countries and items from local artists and vendors. Selections at the shop included Nicaraguan wooden bowls, Kenyan paper beads, and Georgian Christmas decorations. The pop-up shop was also very successful, so The Dogwood Shop was re-born as a spring/fall seasonal, boutique-style shop, supporting local and global artists and providing global gifts and sustainable shopping right on Peachtree Road’s church campus.
Each year the November Missions Market and The Dogwood Shop continue to thrive. In 2014, The Dogwood Shop generated over $100,000 during their spring and fall seasons. And for Fall 2015, the Dogwood Shop hopes to generate another $100,000. With 100% of the proceeds going directly to Global Missions, much good can be done around the world. Life-saving clean water is being provided in Kenya. Shelter is being provided in Nicaragua. And orphans in the country of Georgia are receiving educational opportunities. The goal of PRUMC’s Global Missions is to serve and empower families in the poorest communities around the world. The Missions Market and the Dogwood Shop are both helping to make that goal a reality.
Whether it’s a one day Christmas Marketplace or a Missions Market turned seasonal shop, many of our UM churches are embracing the call to missions, both locally and globally. Jesus came at Christmas to show us the way to live missionally. And as we serve, we become Christ’s hands and feet in the world today.
If your United Methodist Church is offering opportunities this Christmas Season to help others, both locally and globally, through marketplaces, traditional church bazaars, bakes sales, car washes, or any other way, share your pictures and your stories using the hashtag #intentionalchristmasumc.
Anne Nelson is the editor of the Monday Morning in North Georgia e-newsletter and a writer. She lives in Atlanta with her Methodist minister husband and two awesome kids.