A Delta, B.C., church has raised $30,000 for its community’s hospice over the last four years. Almost half of that sum was raised last December in a single, record-breaking event.
Cedar Park MB Church decided in 2007 to abandon their traditional Christmas banquet and do something new. This is a story of relatively small beginnings followed by year-by-year growth of an event that reaches out to community members and gives to a local cause.
The event that replaced the banquet is simple – with a few extras. Cedar Park offers an enjoyable evening of music and desserts just prior to Christmas. Ticket selling is intentionally targeted beyond Cedar Park members, and event proceeds are donated to a local charity.
One of the extras is a Christmas CD featuring the year’s banquet performer. Music production professional and Cedar Park member Roy Salmond supervises the recording project with a three-person committee. CD sales yield some $2,000 per year.
In its first year, the reworked event netted about $1,500, directed to a community program for single-parents, says original committee chair Brad Funk. In the second year, the evening raised $2,000 toward an inter-church fund for people in need.
Year three set the current pattern. That year, Delta’s new hospice opened, and Cedar Park was there financially: the music and dessert evening raised $4,000. The CD featured singer Ruth McGillvray and pianist Nelson Boschman (now pastor of downtown Vancouver’s Artisan MB church plant).
Funk says it now seems like a Cedar Park tradition to sell the CDs as an integral part of the December fundraising project, and to do it at the Ladner liquor store and supermarkets.
Associate pastor Dan Forest says it’s a great way to invite the community into church at Christmastime. He adds that ticket sales in local stores account for about half of the event’s annual audience, so there is outreach potential as well as financial support.
The amazing part of last December’s story started at such a ticket booth. A gentleman
asked about the event. Forest says the man was so touched by the project that he offered to match the proceeds, dollar for dollar. Word spread, so instead of selling just over 100 tickets, the church sold 220.
Proceeds of the event featuring pianist Carol Peters were $7,000. The donor was as good as his word, so the pre-Christmas dessert and music night provided $14,000 for the Delta Hospice Society – almost half of the $30,000 that Cedar Park has contributed to that society to date.
—Barrie McMaster, B.C. correspondent