By: Pam Murray, Member and Publicity for the Countryside Church
Six years ago, four members of Countryside Presbyterian Church met to discuss how we could raise funds for much-needed projects and items that were not in the church’s budget. It was decided that we would host a rummage sale. Our first sale netted $5,705. It has become an early-February tradition, increasing each year in size and success. This year we were lucky enough to make $13,680.
Through the years we have purchased our LED sign, handrails for the choir, ultra-violet film on sanctuary windows, sanctuary blinds (which saved money on air-conditioning), office computers, new landscaping for our front entrance and the Memorial Garden, and new fencing. This year we are planning on saving 40% for capital improvements, purchasing a defibrillator, an outside handrail, more bookcases for our library, a new sanctuary camera and updating our sound system.
Each year we have elected two people to chair the event for two years. They appoint the chairs for White Elephant, Men’s and Women’s Clothing (including shoes), Jewelry, Purses, Linen, Tools, Books/Videos & CDs, Toys/ Games/Puzzles, Books, Holiday Decorations, Boutique Clothing and a Bake Sale (only homemade). In addition, we have a Cafe and offered delicious chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, coffee and soda. In the early morning we served coffee and doughnuts.
We have been extremely lucky in that we seem to keep the same chair people each year who choose their own helpers. Three weeks before the event, we ask the congregation to bring their “stuff” to our Fellowship Hall where we have a team to help bring it in and sort it into the designated areas. The last week is kept for displaying and pricing the items.
We advertised on our LED sign, took a week’s worth of classified ads in the local paper, on Craig’s List and placed flyers in area stores. This certainly brought the people in. When we arrived at 7:00 a.m., there was already a huge line of shoppers and a parking area full of cars. We opened at 8:00 a.m. with a prayer by Pastor Gary Marshall (below) and it took almost two hours to get the crowd into the building.
By 12:30 p.m. we marked everything down 50% and had so many clothes left over that we offered brown paper bags to be filled for $10.00–it was amazing to see how much was squeezed in!
We finished at 2:00 p.m. and had arranged for the Sheriff’s Youth Ranch to come with a truck and pick up the unsold articles, except for books which were given to the local library and Boutique items which we took to a consignment store.
When it was all over we were tired but felt a wonderful sense of achievement that we had pulled it off and I was again struck by the wonderful camaraderie and fun we had all working together. We all got to know each other a little better. We had over eighty people working and this included many of our newer members and even regular visitors. We were grateful to our congregation too who came out and really supported us.
Pastor Gary’s Rummage Sale Prayer
“Gracious Heavenly Father, Redeemer of the rubbish,
Saviour of the scraps. Deliverer of the debris.
King of the cast-offs. And Lord of the lost…and found.
Thank you for this litter-loving legion of volunteers.
Thank you for their dedication to divesting and their passion for purging,
knowing that these sacrifices of scraps will advance your kingdom and support this church.
We ask your blessing on each person who will give up their time –
or their treasure, or their trash – for our annual Countryside Faire.
And we pray for the projects that will be furthered by this rummage sale.
At this time especially, we are reminded of your love
for the tossed-out, the cast-off, and the flung aside.
Give us this same heart for the rejected.
And, finally Lord, bless the food, and may its nourishment
ready us for rummaging, in your holy name and for your kingdom. Amen.”