By Robert Lemoine, Regional Reporter
KEITHVILLE – The building housing Redeemer Community Church might have become so much a part of the landscape that townspeople don’t even notice it anymore, but church members have come up with a way to change that.
They’ve started a Farmers Market!
Farmer’s markets draw people from all walks of life. Some visit them to save money. Others are looking for healthier food choices. Redeemer Community Church in Keithville is using its Farmers Market to witness to those who would never visit a church, or who have forgotten there is a church at the intersection of Jersey Gold Road and state Highway 525.
“People pass by the church without even seeing it,” said Pastor Billy Sutton Jr. “This is a way to get the word out about the church, reach the community, and serve the community.”
Since Redeemer’s Farmers Market is located on church property, it comes with low cost and high exposure.
“This is another avenue to break down barriers,” Sutton said. “We can hand out literature on Christianity like at a community night. But, community nights are a lot of work for one night. This is something that offers us a prolonged contact.”
Redeemer’s Farmer’s Market uses tents borrowed from the local association office and is operated by five to ten people from the congregation.
“I don’t use my personal money for a one-time-use item,” the pastor said. “This is God’s money, so why waste His?”
Depending on the success seen this year, Redeemer Keithville is looking into buying tents for next year.
So far, there are between six and nine regular vendors. As a result of a late frost in April and a couple of hail storms, produce was just starting to arrive in mid-June.
The Farmers Market also is open to anyone with handmade crafts and anything home-grown.
Redeemer’s Farmers Market, which opened on May 25 this year, is free to the public. It is free to the vendors to set up and free admission to the customers. It is a pure cost (or investment) for the church as it continues to operate until at least July 13.
“We’re devoted to not be just a place for people to gather,” Sutton said about Redeemer Keithville. “We’re not focused on attracting a crowd, but feeding the people who are there.”
Depending on demand, the Redeemer’s Farmers Market may continue through the summer. For more information about how to do something similar at your church, contact Pastor Billy Sutton Jr. on his cell: 318.617.2827.