Archive for Thursday, September 26, 2002

Methodist bazaar as traditional as Halloween pumpkins

September 26, 2002

Amid the Christmas and Halloween crafts crowding the lobby of the De Soto United Methodist Church are several smaller red, white and blue items.

All the objects were prepared for the United Methodist Women's 66th annual crafts bazaar Oct. 5 at the church, 8760 Kill Creek Road. The bazaar's timing makes it an obvious place to pick up items for the Halloween and Christmas seasons, but Boots Linden, bazaar co-chairwoman with Rosie Inman, said those patriotic items were appropriate because it links the annual event to its early history.

A 66-year tradition is impressive, but that doesn't represent the entire history of the bazaar, Linden said. The Methodist women inherited the bazaar from the now-defunct De Soto Christian Church when that congregation's downtown church, ironically located at the site that is now home of the De Soto fire station, burned.

In its early days, the Methodist Church continued the tradition of conducting the bazaar on election Tuesday each November, even on non-election years, Linden said. The church's annual dinner was also conducted with the election-day bazaar. A lunch would begin at noon and a turkey dinner was served in the evening.

The Methodist Women eventually realized putting on the popular bazaar and annual dinner on the same day was too much work.

But as some traditions dropped away, others developed. One new tradition was started to give everyone an equal chance at the craft items offered for sale.

"You can view things Friday evening or you can see them at 8 o'clock Saturday morning, but you can't buy or pick up anything until 9," she said. "Nobody can pickup anything until Mary Plummer beats a pot with a wooden spoon."

Linden said she didn't know exactly how that tradition got started, but it was needed because of the bazaar's popularity.

"We send out postcards and flyers," she said. "We have many of the same customers year after year."

On the day of the bazaar, the Methodist Church's basement will be decorated to resemble the interior of a barn, Linden said. Free coffee and cinnamon rolls are available starting at 9 a.m. and a chili, soup and pie lunch starts at 10 a.m.

The bazaar is a year-round effort, Linden said, as church members look for and experiment with new craft ideas. The United Methodist Women start going into Santa's workshop mode nine months before the bazaar. Linden said a craft group, Koinonia, the Greek word for fellowship, starts its twice-monthly meetings in January to prepare craft items for the bazaar.

Linden and Rosie Inman inspect all items with a critical eye before accepting them for the bazaar. Linden admitted they weren't too popular with the Koinonia women when they send items back for more work.

Other church women who prepare quilts, delicate embroidery and other handcrafted items at home help fill the bazaar's shelves, Linden said.

Still other church women donate baked goods, jellies, chutneys and other homemade goodies for the event, she said.

Husbands are also drafted into the effort, Linden said. Her husband, Bob, cuts much of the wood the Koinonias women later paint.

"He said recently he thought he had more time invested in this than the women," she said. "We said, 'We kind of hoped you didn't figure that out.'"

The bazaar hasn't completely shaken its election day roots. The church's dinner is still on that day, she said. That is also the date of a drawing for a quilt made by Mike Frehe's mother, who donates items despite living in Seneca, and an afghan made by Dixie Skaggs, Linden said.

Money raised from the bazaar and drawing supports battered women shelters, inner city outreach centers, the De Soto Multi-Service Center, and a ministry for families of incarcerated felons and other worthy causes, Linden said.

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