St. Paul's Autumn Bazaar benefits people near and far

November 10, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

FUNKSTOWN - The Women of ELCA group at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Funkstown wants to extend a helping hand to its own back yard and all the way across the world.

Toward that end, locally made baked goods and craft items sat alongside handmade crafts from countries such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Ghana and Sri Lanka at the Women of ELCA's Autumn Bazaar on Saturday, Nov. 6, at St. Paul's social hall.

Betty Mongan, chairwoman of the Autumn Bazaar, is a member of St. Paul's Women of ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).


Mongan, 80, of Funkstown, said proceeds from sales of lunches and locally made items will be used for projects such as sending holiday fruit baskets to people with developmental disabilities who live in a home by St. Paul's. Meanwhile, money raised from items crafted in developing countries will be sent to SERRV International to promote social and economic progress of people in developing regions of the world.

"We sell for (SERRV), and they get the monies, while we benefit locally from the lunch, baked goods and other items donated by people in congregation," Mongan said.

Mongan said the bazaar raised $600 for SERRV and $1,100 for the projects of St. Paul's Women of ELCA.

SERRV- formerly called Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocations - is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for people in developing areas of the world to learn marketable skills and develop sustainable incomes.

Mongan said St. Paul's Women of ELCA became aware of the SERRV ministry through the congregation's monthly trips to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., arranged by Pastor Darrell Layman.

Layman said he became familiar with the Brethren Service Center while serving in a former position in New Windsor. Upon relocating to Funkstown, he encouraged members of St. Paul's to volunteer at the center, which works among a nationwide network of more than 3,000 churches to distribute SERRV products.

Mongan said visits to the center inspired members of St. Paul's congregation to sell SERRV products through catalog orders. Last year, the Women of ELCA extended the idea through establishment of the Autumn Bazaar.

Layman said working through SERRV has provided an opportunity for the Women of ELCA to minister for economic development in countries that need support and to get involved without taking a political stance.

"It's marvelous to see the evolution of the women's group's perspective beyond Funkstown," Layman said. "They've clearly developed a larger world view because of this. It's exciting for them."

Mayetta Roby, 66, of Hagerstown, a member of St. Paul's and of the Women of ELCA, said it's great to have a fund-raiser that serves both local and international causes.

"I enjoy working with people, knowing I'm helping others and the church," she said.

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