Local church to hold International Craft Market

Special to The Log
Martha Novinger, a member of the Joy Circle, lives in Destin. She is holding a bag of the fairly traded coffee and a gorgeous stringed instrument from Indonesia at last year's market.

The Joy Circle of First Presbyterian Church, Fort Walton Beach, will hold its 15th Annual SERRV Market of fairly traded International Crafts on five different days in February at the church, 134 Beal Parkway, in the Fellowship Hall.

The dates it will be held are:

• Feb. 6: Grand opening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Feb. 7: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Feb. 9: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Feb. 13: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Feb. 14: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

SERRV International, founded by the Church of the Brethren 66 years ago, has been offering fairly traded craft and food items for sale often through markets held by local churches since its inception, The previous Markets held by the church were each an overwhelming success. Those who attended appreciated attending a showcase of international craftsmanship where they got the "feeling" of the culture in the various countries that have items on display.

The items don't look like items you see at local craft shows. For instance Baby Jesus in a nativity from South America might very well be wearing a knit hat with ear flaps and Mary might be wearing a fedora. The Joy Circle will have handmade products from at least 26 different countries around the world at this year's Market, all displaying some of the culture where they were created.

This is NOT a fund raiser for the church; any funds left after SERRV has been paid are donated to charities that help others, often internationally. For over 60 years SERRV has been the direct link between those who attend markets and thousands of poor, but highly skilled, craftspeople who are working with local co-ops around the world and are providing for themselves and their families and their communities with the work of their hands.

Those who buy at a SERRV Market will immediately become part of a global partnership to bring justice and hope through their purchases. Customers value traditional artwork over mass-produced goods and appreciate that they promote social and economic progress with their purchase. Guests appreciate being able to see and examine these beautiful products here at home without needing to travel to where they are created. It has truly been said that the best way to fight poverty in the world is to pay people fairly for their work.

A few of the items available will be some old favorites from previous markets, for example a large assortment of fairly traded coffee and tea, and anyone who has purchased the chocolate before will be looking for it again. This year we have even more flavors like the orange ginger dark chocolate bar which won't make you feel guilty because all the ingredients are healthy.

There are many stunning new decorative items including a wide assortment of baskets, musical instruments, bookends, covered containers, games and puzzles, candle holders, vases, trivets and decorator items. There is an incredible array of jewelry items from around the world which are stunning, fun, and unique. There are scarves in many different fabrics and colors and designs, as well as the widest assortment of Nativities which display the culture of the artisans that created them. The display of nativities is a little exhibit of the cultures around the world in that they are representative of the cultures that created them and each is beautiful in it's own special way. Nepal does wonderful work with paper and their nativity is made from sturdy hand made paper in blue and is decorated ornately with gold highlighting the royalty of the Holy Family.

Attending the SERRV Market at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Walton Beach, will be like visiting a museum of native and indigenous crafts and all will enjoy the visit even if they only want to look. Those who purchase will have the satisfaction of knowing that they helped to alleviate poverty in the world by making a difference in the lives of artisans who are striving to support their families with their creations and are being paid fairly for their efforts.

For more information call the church at 243-3732 or Carol Davis at 243-4777.