Gifts of the spirit

The Holiday rush is on the horizon and that has many church doors across the state preparing to swing wide open to welcome shoppers because it is church bazaar season.

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
Martha Brinn Gray

The giving of time and talent are abuzz all around you when you enter the new addition at Christ Church in downtown Raleigh. The annual greenery sale is less than a month away and volunteers can be seen in the kitchen and the halls.But the preparation and planning poured into these events by the teams of people organizing them began far ahead of fall. “We started our planning in late summer,” said Elizabeth Wallace, Christ Church Greenery Sale Co-Chair. “That’s the only way to organize for an event like this because it is our main fundraiser.”According to David Hood’s, “To the Glory of God: Christ Church: 1821-1996” the fall bazaar became a yearly tradition in the 1930’s where women sold crafts, baked goods, and their famous artichoke pickles. “The recipe for the pickles and of course our famous Brunswick stew would be in one of our cookbooks,” said 92-year-old parishioner Mary Ellen Harris. “That is one of the best things that comes out of the now greenery sale — the food, new recipes, and being together.”The Episcopal Church Women run the Christ Church sale and they restructured the event into its current form — an annual greenery sale offering North Carolina Christmas trees, garland, wreaths, bows, and of course the food. Groups gather ahead of time to prepare and package perfect portions for parishioners and shoppers to stock their pantries or freezers for those post-holiday weeks where you would really rather not cook.This year there is a distinct excitement in the air because recent renovations have parishioners at Christ Church settling into new space. “This is definitely a celebration because we’re getting to host the sale in this beautiful space,” said Nancy Church, Christ Church Greenery Sale Co-Chair. “It’s a bit of a homecoming and we hope that will entice people to want to come because the more people that shop and the more people who buy — the broader the outreach is for the ECW.”The modern day bazaar and greenery sale is even online now. “We went online last year with shopify,” said Wallace. “Yep, the old-timey bake sale goes modern, but we do still provide parishioners that don’t use computers the option of ordering with a paper form,” chimed in Church.They may have streamlined the order process but tradition holds strong within this community. Ellen and Michael Jackson have treasured Christmas ornaments hand-crafted by fellow parishioner Jinny Haywood that they’ve collected over the years from the greenery sale. “I used to get up and go early to make sure I got two of them — one for each of our girls,” said Ellen Jackson. “My favorite story about our collection is that Jinny found out I was collecting her ornaments and one day she just placed a grocery bag full of them in my mailbox — I thought I had won the lottery when I found that!” Greenery sale treasures waiting to be passed on to the next generation.The pre-orders for the greenery are running online now at: and the on-site event is scheduled for Saturday, December 3 from 9:00 a.m.-Noon at 120 East Edenton Street in RaleighFrom Macramé Angels 
to Corporate deliveryAccording to Hayes Barton United Methodist Church member Mary Douglass their bazaar began in the 1950’s in their fellowship hall with lunch and crafts when their community was still called the “Chapel in the Pines.”In 2015 HBUMC raised $40,000 for local non-profits. This year their Humble Hearts Bazaar kicked off on November 9 with a silent auction, followed by a corporate lunch delivery service November 15, and evening shopping that same day — you can sign up for the corporate lunch delivery at: and shop at the Christian Marketplace with lunch on November 16 from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. “There is joy and laughter in the kitchen as we meet new friends and reconnect with old ones,” said Laura Kirby, HBUMC Bazaar Co-Chair “We all work together for a common cause of serving our neighbors in need.”All event details for HBUMC’s Humble Hearts Bazaar can be found at: and the location for shopping is: Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, 2209 Fairview Road in Raleigh.When you’re out and about this time of year and see those banners beckoning you to come inside and shop at a local church bazaar, take a minute and pop inside — there’s no telling the fellowship, craftsmanship, and community of people you will find waiting to welcome you.