This Week’s Message from Father Dave… 

I still remember the very first day I came to Divine Word as the new pastor in the summer of 2004. I had the chance to meet many in the parish that day because the Rummage Sale was in full swing. I was somewhat amazed at the number of people who were giving their time to this endeavor.  However, what truly impressed me was the amount of “stuff” that was being sold in Hanson Hall. There was not one place in the Hall that did not have items to be sold. The Rummage Sale has been going on for many years and many people from the parish have given their time to make this event successful. We have over the past five to seven years expanded the Rummage Sale through the full use of Hanson Hall and other areas on the property outside.

I have had my concerns about the Rummage Sale especially the last couple of years. We could not do the Sale without the items that people drop off for us. However, we’ve noticed that the volume of quality goods has diminished. We believe people are often selling quality items on eBay or Craigslist.  This has become a problem to the point we have had to rent two large dumpsters to discard non-saleable items. Unsold items become a burden to pack up and make ready for the various non-profit organizations to pick up after the Sale. It takes many hours to pack unsold items, and the multitude of bags and boxes of unsold materials takes space needed by the parish while awaiting pickup.

What most concerns me is that we are creating a health hazard. The odor in Hanson Hall this past year was very noticeable and  commented on by both workers and buyers.

The workers we have for the Rummage Sale are devoted and loyal to this parish event. Workers labor from April to July to plan, set up, and clean up from the two-day sale. We have an aging group of people who are dedicating too many hours, lifting things they should not be lifting, and at times you can see the stress of this event taking its toll. I am worried that someone will get hurt or sick with the way this event has transpired over the past couple of years. These are concerns to me that far outweigh the profit that is brought in from the sale.

Again, I want to thank all those devoted people who for years or just the last couple of years have made this event possible in our parish. After much thought, consultation with the Parish Staff, Finance Committee, the leaders of the Rummage Sale, and prayer we will no longer have the Rummage Sale at our parish. Honestly, I am not even a bit reluctant to come to this decision.

Just last week, Shari Allwood, our Business Manager, and I met with the leaders of the Rummage Sale and together we talked about the future of the sale. In the end there was an agreement not to continue the Rummage Sale. I am most grateful for their input and concern about the Sale and what needs to replace it.

The immediate question is how we make up for the revenue we gain from the Rummage Sale. As of now, in talking with our Finance Council and others, we will seek out a new event that is less strenuous for us all. If you have any suggestions let me know. If we do not have an event then it becomes the task for our Finance Council, Parish Staff, and I to put our best efforts forward in terms of this budget issue. With the best interest of everyone involved we will not continue the Rummage Sale.

Advent is here. I hope you enjoy it because these next twenty-two days will go by very quickly. My hope is that the counter-cultural message of this season hits its mark in our own spiritual lives. The season of Advent calls us to patience and waiting. You know how quickly our time is filled and that we do not like to be bored, yet the power of ritual is to patiently ponder the meaning of what God is about to do. He will out of his intense love for us take on human flesh and display through his entire life how we can renew the face of the earth. What that means is to be willing beyond the most difficult obstacles to reach out and serve others. This requires a letting go of oneself for the sake of the other.

Please remember that next Sunday, December 9th is Breakfast with Santa Claus. I hope you can attend and have breakfast either after the 8:30AM or 11AM Mass. Our Holy Name Society does great work in making this event happen for us. Come and enjoy some pancakes and fellowship with the rest of our community. I also hear that Our Lady’s Guild will be selling cookies after Mass and will have their raffle at the end of the breakfast. Come and see what transpires!

My prayer for us all is to allow the Spirit of Advent to penetrate our hearts and make a difference as to how we celebrate Christmas this year. Have a great week!

This week’s message from Father Dave….
Father Dave