NOLANVILLE — The Nolanville First United Methodist Church rang in the Christmas season at its 51st Lord’s Acre Chili Day & Bazaar on Sunday.

The church is located at 300 W. Avenue I, and its fellowship hall filled up quickly with shoppers browsing tables of handmade gifts, like wooden bird houses and knitted sweaters, while others looked over homemade fudge, pecan pie and jellies​ and more​

For a $10 donation, people enjoyed a bowl of homemade chili or vegetable soup and cornbread along with a dessert and drink. Raffle tickets cost $1 each​,​ or 6 for $5​,​ for a chance to win gift cards and other prizes.

Senior Pastor Patrica Warden said it is the church’s biggest fundraiser that pays for ​many things from building maintenance, community events​ to youth programs.

“This bazaar keeps the church active in our growing community by bringing people together,​ and giving the church some revenue​, ” Warden said.

Last year’s bazaar raised almost $3,000, said Jay Glazner, chairman of the church’s Board of Directors.

“A big improvement was getting a new sewer line connection to the city’s system replacing the church’s septic tank,”​ ​Glazner said.

A variety of crafts from crotchet blankets and jewelry to Christmas wreaths caught the eyes of many shoppers.

Rows of food, like jalapeno cornbread, jars of apricot jelly, brownies and blackberry cobbler and much more lined tables.

Besides the chili meal, which was delicious because it had no beans, ​said​ Teresa Romero​, she also​ bought homemade candies and small crafts. “I always like the bazaar because I find lovely items,” Romero said.

One of the best sellers were the hand-painted rocks decorated by children during the FROG Friday afterschool event.

Many of the designs included Bible verses and quotes.

Longtime church member Marie Reis hoped to sell out before the day ended.

“I enjoy the fellowship, nice lunch but especially helping the youth group raise money for next year’s summer camp,” Reis said.

Showing off her painted rock with the saying, God is Love, Savannah Johnson, 6, has a special place waiting for it in her bedroom.

Her mom, Nicole Johnson, bought a coffee mug for herself.

“Everyone treats you like family​ here, and you couldn’t ask for more than that,” she said.​

A church member for two years, Randy Ruhl wouldn’t miss the bazaar. He chatted with friends while enjoying the vegetable soup, but likes the close-knit church feeling even more.

“They all work together to support the church and the community, and the bazaar is a great example of that,” he said.

The public is invited to attend other holiday events, including:

Nativity a-MAZE-ment

Dec. 10 & 17, at 4 p.m., Nolanville First United Methodist Church, 300 W. Avenue I

Stroll through 80 Nativity scenes on display inside the Fellowship Hall.

Churches of Nolanville

Dec. 13 & 20 at 6:30 p.m., Sims Community Center, 408 N. 10th St.

Local churches come together to offer free food, music, fellowship and children’s’ story time.

Caroling

Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m., Nolanville First United Methodist Church, 300 W. Avenue I

Several ​trailers will ​pull carolers around town​.

Enjoy a free meal before the ride​ and hot chocolate after​ward.

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