In 1970, 1-year-old Scott Griffin slipped on the tile floor in the nursery at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church and knocked out his brand new front teeth.
The women of the church decided the nursery needed carpet to provide traction and cushioning to protect other children from the same fate. But there was no money in the budget. So they came up with a plan.
They would make crafts and sell them to raise money for the nursery. They also decided to make a quilt and raffle it off for extra funds. But first, they needed permission.
Scott's mom, Becky Griffin, was head of the Presbyterian Women at the time. She went to the church Session, the ruling body of the church at that time. At the time, it was made up only of men.
“It was a huge deal. They were concerned about selling things in the church and ‘being moneychangers in the temple.' But after they heard about Scott's teeth, they knew we needed carpet and we needed money. And they knew this was something that the women could do,” said Becky Griffin.
The Session voted to allow a “bazaar” if the women would agree to also provide chicken and dumplings that day. The quilt raffle was nixed for gambling reasons, however, and wasn't approved until the following year.
That first bazaar brought in just enough to buy carpet. But it set the stage for many bazaars to come.
For 38 years, the women have banded together to sew, paint, glue, stamp, bead, stuff, arrange and create for the yearly bazaar held the first weekend each November.
In that time, the women have raised thousands of dollars and contributed to many different areas of the church and the community.
Now Scott Griffin's wife, Susan Griffin, supervises the affair. She, like many others, has found the annual event does more than raise money. It promotes fellowship and friendship among the women.
“This is a way of giving my time and talent for the good of the church and, in doing so, I have learned a lot about teamwork and friendship. I love the friends that I've made and I love the good work we're doing with the money we've raised,” Griffin said.
Jill Linscheid and her daughter, Kaitlyn, 10, have worked with the bazaar for years.
“It's a great fundraiser and a great way to get to know people,” Linscheid said. “Plus, it's a place where all ages can come and be together. You get to work with people you would normally never be around.”
Jeannine Mayberry has worked with the bazaar from the beginning and has no plans to stop anytime soon.
“It's just a wonderful opportunity for fellowship and a way to help out the church,” Mayberry said. Once it gets in your blood, you just can't quit.”