Church hopes auction will boost expansion CENTRAL--Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

March 22, 1993|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

Spring is here -- officially -- but if you're still suffering from cabin fever left over from the Blizzard of '93, the First United Presbyterian Church of Westminster may have a cure.

The church's Community Auction is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at the Agricultural Center on Smith Avenue in Westminster. It offers these remedies to chase away the blues:

* A day on the bay with Captain Ray on the 39-foot Bristol sloop Theofis, including lunch.

* A weekend cruise for two on the 38-foot houseboat Holiday Routine with a captain and mate to serve you.

* A ride in a race car at the 75-80 Speedway with professional race driver Roger Jorss.

* Four box seats to a 1993 Orioles game.

* A canoe trip for two down the Potomac.

Or maybe you just need a few hours out of the house to have dinner in a nearby restaurant.

Or a basket of pretty springtime silk flowers.

Or a relaxing massage.

These are just a few of the 120 items the church's Solicitation Committee has found to help raise money for its $1.5 million building and renovation project.

"We're building a new 350-seat sanctuary with a Moller pipe organ and a full basement for expansion," said the Rev. Steven R. Fleming, First United's pastor. "We're building an addition with a gymnasium and kitchen because we have a number of outside groups that use the church.

"We'll also have offices, a choir suite, handicapped restroom and enlarged parking area."

The pastor said renovations to the preschool, kindergarten and Sunday school already are complete.

A three-year pledge campaign for the building project has netted about $550,000. The auction was designed to help with the overall cost, Mr. Fleming said.

"The Forward in Faith Committee came up with the idea of the auction as a way to get the community involved and make people aware of what the church is doing," said Ginny Story, publicity chairwoman for the auction.

She said it seemed the perfect way for the Presbyterian congregation to raise money.

Auctioneer Mike Whitson, a church member, has advised the committee on setting up the auction and will make the calls Friday night. Many other members, such as Mr. Jorss, donated unusual items.

Other items on the block will include a California juniper bonsai plant, autographed baseballs, an illustrated James A. Michener book signed by both author and artist, an antique candy counter and gift certificates for everything from carwashes to golf lessons and make-overs.

"We're real pleased that we got a lot of unique things," Mrs. Story said. "The businesses have been really generous, and that shows how good a community we live in."

The items to be auctioned are estimated to be worth more than $10,000.

"People come to auctions hoping to get a bargain, but if we could get the full $10,000, we'd be thrilled," Mr. Fleming said.

So far, the only real cost to the church is the rental of the Agricultural Center and maybe some extra food if more people than expected show up.

Admission is free.

"The doors open at 5 p.m. for people to preview the items, and we have a silent auction of 48 smaller items," Mrs. Story said. "We'll have food for sale -- hot dogs, barbecue, desserts."

The live auction begins at 7, but people don't have to wait till then to start bidding. The church will take call-in bids until 5 p.m. Friday.

A catalog of all 120 items gives a brief description and the estimated value.

To obtain a catalog and make early bids, or for additional information, call Bob Jones, 876-8073, or Nancy McCord, 857-5280.

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