On a Mission! April 2020

News and Upcoming Events

25th Annual Mission Council Garage Sale: Another Victim of the Corona Virus

by Beth Hanson

The Garage Sale Committee recently met via conference call to discuss the possibility of postponing our beloved Garage Sale to a date later in the year due to the Corona Virus pandemic.  The next available week at the Franklin Co. Fairgrounds (FCF) would be August 23-29.  Unfortunately, after weighing all of our options and the many permutations, our final conclusion was that we will have to postpone the sale until next year.  It pains me to type those words!  We looked at the sale upside down and backwards and ultimately decided to err on the side of caution and not hold it.  Here are some of our reasons:

  • There are too many unknowns at this point in time, and the health and safety of volunteers and shoppers (and those they live with) are our primary concerns.  There is no guarantee that we will be out of the woods by Aug. 23.
  • If we did hold the sale in August or even September (at the FCF), we think the heat would be prohibitive, especially since most volunteers are over 60.  Also, the first concert with the new organ at North Campus is scheduled for the evenings of Aug. 28 & 29, the dates of a potential sale.
  • Even if we could secure a venue other than the FCF, we decided we are not willing to move to yet another location which would require us to reinvent the sale all over again.  The move to the Fairgrounds two years ago was extremely stressful, and only now are we working out the bugs.
  • The customary May sale dates have been carved into the lives of the volunteers and shoppers over many years, and we anticipate that we will lose both by rescheduling the sale for another time of the year.   An August sale would interfere with vacations, school starting back up, etc.
  • Even once life goes back to normal, we think volunteers and shoppers will continue to be reticent about being in groups and maybe even about being in contact with “pre-owned” merchandise.
  • Planning the GS requires a huge sustained momentum and enormous effort and has so many moving parts.  We don’t want to get all of the arrangements made, volunteers recruited, items collected, advertising distributed, deposits paid, and then have it be postponed again.  Plus, the planning would require us to really buckle down over the summer months when people aren’t as available.

Not wanting to leave the missions we support completely in a lurch, we discussed alternative ways to raise some money, albeit less than we are used to.  After all, the missions we help will still need funding…. probably now more than ever.  The ideas from our brainstorming session include:

  • Continuing to sell items on eBay and/or Etsy.
  • Selling furniture at consignment shops (when they reopen.)
  • Continuing to sell Garage Sale items (donated and gleaned) at the Trading Post (when it reopens) earmarked for Mission Council.
  • Holding “pop-up” sales throughout the year, for example, sell jewelry, antiques or books at a Farmers’ Market or street sale of some kind, or after church services.
  • Renting a booth at an Antique Mall to sell our antiques.
  • Holding a tag sale for someone moving.
  • Asking volunteers to give to First Community Missions the money they would have otherwise spent on things for the sale (food, supplies, gasoline, etc.)
  • Asking church members to donate online.

The decision to cancel “Garage Sale Camp” this year was difficult, but eventually it seemed like we were trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.  In this most unusual time, we want to err on the side of caution, protect everyone’s health, and be realistic about our options.  It is sad to think of missing out on our fun time of camaraderie, all working together toward such an important goal, but maybe we can re-channel our energies and raise some money by cobbling together some of the projects mentioned above.  I would love to hear any creative suggestions that you might have.  Thank you for your understanding and sorry about the pile in your basement!

Email Beth Hanson

Retirement of Executive Director, Dr. Alice Graham, Announced

by Crystal Allen

First Community Church has been a longtime supporter of Back Bay Mission, located on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Many of you will associate Back Bay Mission with delicious shrimp, red beans and rice, and fresh fruit cobblers – the menu our FCC Mission Council and Women’s Guilds provides at the annual Shrimp Boil.  And of course a smaller group of you have volunteered your time for an enriching volunteer work week at Back Bay, rehabbing houses, helping guests at the Micah Day Center or assisting at their food pantry.  The gifts of time and resources from our church to Back Bay Mission have been invaluable to the Biloxi community of veterans, families, and homeless individuals in that struggling community.

As a current board member, I want to thank you from my heart. I have learned so very much about humility, dignity, hard work and service from all the volunteers and staff at Back Bay Mission. And Reverend Dr. Alice Graham, the Director of Back Bay Mission has led the way forward for the mission of Strengthening Neighborhoods, Seeking Justice, and Transforming Lives

It is never easy to say goodbye but with a great sense of gratitude, the Board of Directors of Back Mission announces the retirement of Dr. Alice Graham as Executive Director effective December 31, 2020. Since joining the Mission in 2015, Dr. Graham has led a gallant effort in meeting the needs of the under-served and enhancing the value of the organization in the community. Her passion for serving others is exemplary.

The Board of Directors at Back Bay Mission is searching for an Executive Director to assume duties in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2021 or before. For more information about Back Bay Mission and to review the job description, visit www.thebackbaymission.org.  Inquiries and resumes should go to Fred Howell, Search Committee Advisor.

Upcoming Mission Trip

Our next trip to Biloxi is this October. The April 29 meeting at First Community South has been canceled.

The meeting will be rescheduled at the church as soon as we are able. In the meantime, if you have any interest in joining us, please sign up for the email list

More info at FCchurch.com/back-bay-mission

Contribution Acknowledgements

Contributions to Mission Council, Heart to Heart and other missions we support are now acknowledged in the digital firstnews monthly. 

As the church staff continues to work remotely, you will receive letters of thanks for your donations via email during this time.