Park Avenue UMC bazaar raises money for local missions


On a recent cool November morning in Valdosta, long lines began to form in front of Park Avenue United Methodist Church. Persons were waiting for the doors to be opened at 9 a.m. For more than 40 years, the church’s United Methodist Women have sponsored fall bazaars. Visitors found one-of-a-kind knitted Afghans, quilts, embroidered pillow cases, Christmas decorations, and all varieties of wreaths and ornaments. Special attention was given to quality, low-priced items to be used for special Christmas gifts. Cakes, pies, smoked meats, casseroles, and candies were a big hit as were handmade doll clothes. 

Continuing the tradition, a group of women and one man had met weekly all year to prepare items for sale. However, the bazaar, over time, has grown to include the entire church. Sunday school classes that are committed to missions have booths. The American Heritage Girls sponsored games and activities for children, and varieties of bargains were discovered in the Trash and Treasure Room. The one requirement that has never changed over the years is the commitment that all proceeds will be given to support missions. These earnings are in addition to the local unit’s annual pledge to missions. 

More than $9,000 was designated to support local and South Georgia Conference mission projects. These include, but are not limited to, the Methodist Children’s Home, an Advocacy Center that works with abused children, the Wesley Foundation at nearby Valdosta State University, the annual conference homes that serve mentally challenged adults, “snack packs” providing weekend food for hungry children who are enrolled in a local school, and three UMW projects located within the South Georgia Conference. These are Vashti, located in Thomasville, Georgia; Wesley Community Center in Savannah, Georgia; and Open Door in Columbus, Georgia.