St. Martin’s Episcopal Church hosted its first Christmas in July Bazaar on Saturday with members setting up crafts and vintage nativity sets in the parish hall at 1602 S. Farm-to-Market 116.

Ladies from the Thursday Fun Group, St. Martin’s craft fellowship, helped customers from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All proceeds went toward the new emergency fund. Recent emergency repairs used most of the church’s building fund. A drainage ditch flooded Parish Hall, the air conditioning system died and a hail storm damaged the building.

“Now, we are going to have an emergency fund and a building fund,” Gwendolyn Gray said. “Today is about starting the emergency fund. The rummage sale and Christmas sale in the fall will be about feeding families in the community.”

In spite of their goal, prices were negotiable.

“We understand that sometimes for a child we are selling something at a loss, but we are OK with that. We are a church,” Gray said.

The group accepts and seeks out leftover materials from home improvement and incomplete do-it-yourself projects, excess craft material and more. The church ensures donations are used to their fullest potential.

“We try to upcycle recycle so we can have more affordable prices. We don’t go out and buy things,” Gray said. “We are not going to a lumber store to buy new lumber. We are recycling.”

Many crafts came with backstories.

“Our military wreaths are made from real uniforms. They are a keepsake for some people, because those uniforms were actually in Iraq or Afghanistan,” Gray said. “For some people it makes a nice memento.”

Thursday Fun group members used their creativity to give discarded items a new purpose. St. Martin’s craft fellowship meets from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday.

The group is open to the public and weekly attendance is not mandatory. Their crafts were sold at the bazaar.

“Our crafts this year are dictated by what we had, our knowledge and ideas,” Gray said. “As customers walk through, we ask them what they are looking for, so we can be more on point next year.”

Community contributions reduced craft costs and allowed the church to sell items below market value.

“We know we are under selling, but we also feel that it is a bit of a service to the community,” Gray said. “We believe keeping our process low is a part of our mission to serve God.”

Unsold crafts are used for door prizes at church dinners, special occasions and future fundraisers.

“In the fall we have a rummage sale. We will have Christmas on one side and the rummage sale on the other,” Gray said.

Not all crafts were for sale. Some projects are used for gift baskets. Vicar Paulette Williams Magnuson brings them to members in the hospital. Quilts are given to newborns as well.

For more information on St. Martin’s church and community outreach, go to www.stmartinscove.com.

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