STURBRIDGE, MA – The Federated Church of Sturbridge & Fiskdale has canceled its 71st Annual Auction that was originally scheduled for August 8, 2020, bringing to an end its proud distinction of being the longest consecutive church auction in the United States.
Citing the many health considerations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in a recent letter to auction supporters, Auction Chair Tim Bardsley said it has been impossible for the committee to put together the many elements that have made the auction so special for the past seventy years. “The physical distancing required by this virus cut short our Monday Night furniture refinishing sessions and the craft workshops,” Bardsley said, “and the closure of so many area businesses has limited the donation of items and services for the silent auction. There are no guarantees our local board of health would even permit a food booth.”
With Massachusetts being one of the heaviest hit by the pandemic, the committee was also very concerned for the safety of attendees and the health and safety of Church Members and Volunteers who staff the auction according to Bardsley. “Add to all of that the substantial costs associated with auction services, food, tent rental, etc. and, while sad, we are confident that canceling the auction is the right decision,” he said.
They say every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, the silver lining is that next year, 2021, marks the 100th Anniversary of The Federated Church of Sturbridge and Fiskdale’s incorporation, and it will be a year of special events marking that celebration, according to executive board president, Leigh Darrin. As part of that anniversary, the Auction Committee is now planning what will be its FINAL Church Auction on Saturday, August 14, 2021.
Long-time supporters of Sturbridge Federated Church and its annual antique auction, may be wondering, “how may I help?” The auction committee has a few suggestions:
• To help ease the loss of revenue from canceling this year’s auction – funds that the Church depends upon for capital improvements — you may send a check in any amount, or visit the church website at http://sturfed.org/make-a-donation. Clicking on the “Donate” button will take you to a secure PayPal account where you may designate a donation to the capital improvement fund.
• Perhaps you would consider donating one item of value from your home for next year’s auction. One item, in excellent condition and ready to put on the auction block, from each person reading this would save us hours of refurbishing time and create a ready inventory for a sensational final auction! (Please contact the Church office at (508) 347-3915 with details and arrangements will be made to pick up your donated item.)
• You can start putting aside a little each month to spend at next year’s event, so you can walk away with one memorable item from this important final auction on August 14, 2021.
• Last, but certainly not least, if you are unable to attend next year’s auction in person, perhaps you would consider helping to underwrite the costs of putting that final auction together with a small contribution.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous past support of the Federated Church of Sturbridge and Fiskdale and the extraordinary tradition that has been our annual Church auction on the lovely Sturbridge Common,” said Bardsley. “We look forward to seeing everyone in 2021!”