This afternoon was Plumstead Methodist Church’s “Fete.” For my American friends who also come from churches who are not familiar with the idea, a Fete is a fundraising event, sort of like a Bazaar. For an entire year, people save up goods to be sold (cheaply) at the Fete. There are multiple stalls, and you can find almost anything: “like new” childrens' clothing and toys, handmade items from cards to clothes, used books, and an array of miscellaneous items that could only fit the category “white elephant.”. You know what they say: “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!”
Of course, the most popular booths, true to human nature, tend to be the ones with food. Homemade sweets (we took home a cake and banana loaf) and jams (got some of those, too!), or the food shop, where people have donated food to be “sold” at a price discounted from what you would pay at the shop. You can get a cup of tea or coffee (or cool drink) inclusive of sweets or biscuits to go with them, or you can stop in for breakfast or lunch: the breakfast of bacon and eggs with toast was such a hit it sold out. Then there are items worth waiting around for: a picnic set and the most decadent cake of chocolaty goodness I have ever seen was a “raffle” item. This cake that was donated was so amazing it raised R700 - that’s $100! For a cake! I didn’t win it, but I did get to try a piece later, and I have to say: it tasted as amazing as it looked!
This huge event, stretching from the front garden (with activities for the children) and all through the church, was a great fundraising success. But its more than that, too. Its a tradition worth celebrating.
I’ve been at PMC for a couple of months now, and this was the first time I’ve been to church and been able to spend time with the community purely for the sake of spending time with them. Sure, there were fun things to look at and everyone wanted to support the cause. But that alone wasn’t reason for anyone to come. Not really. If it were, everyone could have simply handed over the cash they intended to spend and skipped the day altogether.
But then we wouldn’t have had a day well spent in reminder of what it feels like to be in community. I wouldn’t have met the spouses or extended family of people I see in church on occasion, or share in Bible Study with. I wouldn’t have been surrounded by people from both the 07:45 and 09:30 morning services, the Sunday school children, AND the youth, all in one place at the same time. If it weren’t for the Fete, I wouldn’t have been able to catch up with so many people without worrying about time constraints or what order or worship is coming up next…
Sure, the Fete is a fundraiser, and to be honest, it is sadly necessary to help meet the fiscal needs of the church. But its so much more than that. And this year, I’m grateful for the reminder of how great it is to be part of such an incredible community.