TLDR: After fifty years of successful S.O.S. craft festivals, technological and organizational advances will make “the next fifty” years exceptional in terms of evangelism, fellowship, and outreach.
By far, one of the greatest highlights of my ministry among you was the 2021 Street of Shoppes festival. The fifty-year anniversary craft festival took many months for the organizers and their teams to plan, but the end result was so successful that it has inspired me and others to dream about what this event can become. Now that we have reached our jubilee year, (fifty years of blessing our community with needed funds,) we celebrate the hard work, the fellowship, and the life this festival has brought to our church. I could not think of a more successful way of closing the first chapter of this craft festival than with the amazing event we hosted last year. I am grateful to all of those who have made this event so successful for all these years.
In 2021, I knew I had to observe and remain in the support category for my first experience with this festival because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But now that I have some experience under my belt, I would like to propose some ways to improve the festival:
- Increase the amount of co-chairs from two to three to spread leadership wider and to add additional human resources needed at the top.
- Create a Street of Shoppes Planning Committee: The committee will support the chairs and chairs-in-training during the planning and execution phase of the festival. This committee will meet monthly to provide the chairs any support they might need, including taking care of delegated responsibilities to alleviate burdens on the chairs (creating event maps, securing licenses, assisting with logistics as requested by chairs, etc.) This committee can also work with our current treasurer to decide how to allocate the proceeds from the festival to various outreach organizations in our community and Diocese. This will be a small committee of no more than ten people with wide representation from across our parish. We will announce the roster for this 2022 committee very soon.
- Create a Street of Shoppes Training Academy: Every year, the three co-chairs will select three people in the congregation to train under them during an entire planning cycle, shadowing them at meetings and learning the ropes. The following year, the trainees will lead the festival, selecting their own people to train under them. This training academy will spread the responsibility for the festival among a wide group of people, will create space for new members to become involved, will bring new and creative ideas to the events, and most importantly, will raise involved leaders who can be assigned to other ministries after their term as chairs has ended.
- Create a Team of Captains: One of the jobs of the chairs is to gather around them a team of captains who will be asked to oversee all volunteers. These teams will manage entire portions of the festival: Crafts, galas, dinners, vendors, facilities, silent auction, entertainment for dinners, family events during the festival, etc. (The names of these committees may change in the future.)
- Create a Communications and Technology Subcommittee: Now that we have fiber-cable internet throughout all our buildings and sanctuary, the time has come to invest time and resources to ensure that all vendors accept credit and debit cards, and pay-by-phone. The S.O.S. Planning Committee will create a small sub-committee of capable, “techy,” parishioners who will help all of our members download and learn these technologies. We will also be requiring that all outside vendors have a card and/or telephone payment mechanism of their choice, and will disqualify vendors who choose not to do so. The sub-committee will also have a comprehensive communications plan to reach an even wider demographic. More information about this will come out soon.
- Prayer Teams and I-W-C: We have done a number of highly successful “Invite” events since our Invite-Welcome-Connect program started. My goal is to include some of these activities into our Street of Shops festival. I envision at least one event at some point during the festival, which will be specifically planned by the I-W-C team. (This could be as simple as a “God’s Megaphone” or an organ (and/or Choir) concert of favorite Anglican hymns and anthems during one of the afternoons of the festival.) More information about this “Invite” event will come out soon. Additionally, we had a prayer station at our “Holy Smokes” event and I thought this was a genius idea. I would like to have prayer teams assigned to specific locations during the festival. This is an evolving idea and more clarity will be given soon.
- Finally, I welcome ideas on how we might improve our silent auction to include a wider selection of attention-grabbing experiences or items. I want this auction to continue to be the focal point of our fair, but I would love to increase the amount and quality of items. Please submit your ideas to me via email and I will share with the committee once it has been formed.
Please start praying for the success of our 2022 festival. I can’t wait to see what God will do with and for us in the next fifty years.
Blessings to all,