Greeting card ministry benefits sister churches in Cuba (Aug. 27, 2004)



e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service
      
 

Greeting card ministry benefits sister churches in Cuba

Aug. 27, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140   
mwacht@flumc.org     Orlando  {0151}

An e-Review Feature
By John M. De Marco**

 
BOCA GRANDE — Ever since the Florida Conference began forging deep bonds with its Cuban brothers and sisters through the Cuba/Florida Covenant, creative, out-of-the-box ideas have emerged to support these dynamic churches flourishing in a Communist country.

One of the latest opportunities for Florida Conference churches to grant tangible support to Cuban sister congregations is a greeting card ministry launched by members of Boca Grande Lighthouse United Methodist Church on Gasparilla Island. Churches and their members can purchase note cards illustrated with a selection of 14 reproductions of original art by a woman who belongs to a Methodist church in Mayari, Cuba.

"While our card ministry is just getting off the ground, we have great hopes that it will generate significant funds for our Cuban brothers and sisters," Boca Grande member Bob Young said.

Young says the idea for the Cuba/Florida Covenant Note Card Ministry emerged when a number of church members were on a caravan to Cuba last November and were shown hand-made Christmas cards created by members of Boca Grande's sister church in Mayari.

"At the same time, we were introduced to a talented young artist from whom we bought several original pieces of art," Young said. "It occurred to me that using that art to create note cards might be a way to raise money for our sister churches, something that every church in the Florida Conference could participate in."

The artist is a young woman named Danae Barzaga. She studied art at the Escuela Vocacional de Arte in Holguin.

After the group returned home, Young and two other church members, Jean Woods and Sharon McKenzie, met and selected 14 pieces of work by Barzaga. Young arranged to have some proofs printed, and about 1,200 cards went out as a first order.

Young also created a Web site, http://www.geocities.com/cubacards/, where all the cards can be viewed and ordered. He also e-mailed every church listed in the Florida Conference online directory to make them aware of the products.

"So, we're off and running. We charge 55 cents per card and envelope, including shipping. That covers our production cost and a small royalty for the artist. We are suggesting that the cards be sold within individual congregations for $1 each, and feel that it will be easy for most churches to sell them," Young said.

Young estimates that in the Fort Myers district alone, if only 10 percent of church-member households purchased one $10 set, the district would raise $15,000 for Cuba.

"That seems like a very reasonable objective to us," he said. "These cards are something that people will use, and they make very appropriate hostess gifts or stocking stuffers at Christmas time."

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This article relates to Missions.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**De Marco is a commissioned minister of the Florida Conference and a freelance writer, speaker and consultant.




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