We realized that, in our own congregation, there were many artists and crafters with no outlet for their art. They produced beautiful things but since art wasn’t their full time job they couldn’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars for a booth at any of the larger arts and crafts shows around the Birmingham area. The Women's Ministry leader personally wanted to support them and found it difficult to get a comprehensive picture of what was available.
We, as a church, believe that creativity is one of the characteristics of man that displays God’s image. Creativity is something to be celebrated and enjoyed. By Hand Boutique is designed for that purpose.
Another purpose for By Hand is to provide people in the community, who may or may not have gifts of creativity, the opportunity to support their local artists. We believe that, as a church body, we are called to cultivate the arts in a manner that displays the glory of God, even if we, as individuals, do not possess artistic tendencies.
The Women’s Ministry also saw the emptiness of sending hard earned money into the pockets of massive retail stores where most of the items were made in third world countries. There had to be a way to be wiser with our resources. There was also the desire to give loved ones beautiful, hand-made gifts.
The two desires came together wonderfully by hosting a Christmas Bazaar. Here was an opportunity to accomplish both desires at once. We started with less than fifteen vendors. After three years we had 30 vendors and a waiting list.
We were able to give artisans and artists a safe, inexpensive place to sell (last year we had three vendors sell out). We have also seen more and more community involvement. The first year we saw mostly church members at the bazaar. The next few years, our attendance was up, with only half of the attendees being known to the church.
The response to the Christmas Bazaar/By Hand Boutique, on the whole, has been extremely positive.
Purpose: To glorify God and enjoy Him
Vision: We long to glorify God and enjoy him by celebrating the creative and artistic abilities given by Him. We seek to cultivate the arts in our local community and support the artists with our time, talent and gifts.
Mission: We seek to use the venue of a Christmas Arts and Crafts Bazaar (By Hand Boutique) as a means to: involve the women of the church in ministry to one another and the community; celebrate the beauty and creativity given by God; provide a quality venue for artists to use to display and sell their art; give the local church and community an opportunity to support artists; and provide a marketplace where money can stay in the local community where it can benefit the most people.
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