|Oak Grove Presbyterian Church Alternative Christmas Marketplace in December 2019. Source: Presbyterian Mission|
After a year of being unable to hold one of its favorite events, the members of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church are determined that no Grinch or pandemic was going to steal this congregation’s Christmas program known as the Alternative Christmas Marketplace.
Held the first Sunday of December every year in the church’s fellowship hall, the event provides a respite for families to be able to come fellowship, relax and purchase items for the holidays that benefit the church and Presbyterian missionaries around the world.
According to long-time church member Sue Powers, “Sponsoring a Christmas Marketplace was an opportunity for our members to support organizations that were not necessarily part of the Mission Committee’s budget.”
Reflecting her time at Oak Grove Powers remarked that “mission” was the principal reason she joined Oak Grove more than 13 years ago.
“Thanks to my parents, I’ve always had that compassion and interest in mission,” she said. “Whenever people visit our church, mission is one of the first things they hear about. If we were back to worshiping in person, they would immediately be handed a mission brochure as they walked in.”
Using the Presbyterian Giving Catalog, members are able to purchase a wide variety of gifts that provide real and positive impact around the world, including aid for refugees, access to clean water and helping to end hunger.
“Because Oak Grove has such a strong commitment to racial justice, the Giving Catalog gave us an opportunity to select gifts that give people dignity, such as a Mzuzu drill and a sewing machine,” said Powers. “Not only can gifts like these be put to good use, but they also take away the idea of ‘white saviors.’ Having taught in inner city schools, I have a special place in my heart for the poor, the struggling and the disenfranchised.”
Due to the risks associated with delta variant COVID-19, Oak Grove has not yet resumed in-person services. This year’s Christmas Marketplace will be conducted by mail.
Powers is optimistic that this year will be the most successful program to date.
Source: Presbyterian Mission