Wreaths and ribbons


An industrious team of elves has been busy this past week constructing one-of-a-kind Vineyard wreaths for a sale and holiday party happening tonight at the Federated Church in Edgartown. The wreaths will be available by bid at a silent auction to be held in the meetinghouse. Refreshments will be served in the parish house.

“It should be festive and fun and social and, with the church filled with 75 wreaths, it will be really pretty and smell great,” event organizer Alice Goyert says.

This is a first-time fundraiser for the church. Money raised will go towards restoration of the historic Sara Mayhew Parsonage, which houses the church’s minister, Jerry Fritz, and his family. Sara Mayhew bequeathed the 1820 building to the church in the early 80s, along with an endowment. According to church secretary Mary Jean Miner, the interest from the endowment is not enough to cover some major structural work that needs to be done.

Ms. Goyert has always had an interest in historic buildings. Eager to hold a fundraiser to help out with the preservation of the parsonage, she came upon the idea of the wreath sale. She is a member of the Back Bay Garden Club, which has made and sold Christmas wreaths for Boston businesses and individuals for many years. Each year they make 400 wreaths, which they sell for $75 each. The minimum bid at tonight’s auction will be $45.

Ms. Goyert has previously been a member of gardening and flower clubs in Chicago and all over Latin America. She presented the idea of the wreath workshop to the church members last December. She brought an example of a wreath she had made for the Back Bay club. Two months, ago a member of that organization gave a demonstration on bow-making to a group of church members who fashioned the wreaths earlier this week. The bows — constructed from five yards of ribbon — are very elaborate and time-consuming affairs.

The wreaths are decorated with all-natural local foliage. The members had a gathering day back in October and they will use milkweed pods, butterfly weed, acorns, pinecones, magnolia leaves, and other dried plant materials to adorn the individually decorated juniper wreaths.

Ms. Miner notes that the Federated Church donates annually to at least a dozen charities. They hold fundraisers each year for the Cancer Support Group and the Island Food Pantry, and donate to two overseas missions, among other charitable undertakings.

Other income has been allocated for upkeep on the other two buildings owned by the church — the meetinghouse and the parish hall. Ms. Miner adds that maintenance of the church’s historic Hook and Hastings organ is also an ongoing project. She notes that with other expenses taking precedence, the historic parsonage hasn’t undergone any major renovations in a very long time. Ms. Goyert hopes that the wreath sale will generate enough to jump-start a renovation project that has been put on the back-burner for some time.

Tickets for tonight’s reception from 6 to 9 pm are $10, and include hors d’oeuvres and two glasses of wine. Those not interested in attending the party but who would like to view or bid on the wreaths are welcome to visit the display at the meetinghouse at no charge.