By Vivian Vahlberg

The Reverend Dr. Jo Forrest loves the way the elegant, immaculately maintained Kenilworth Union Church buildings are given over every summer for such a humble purpose as the Church’s annual Rummage Sale.

For the next six weeks, almost all of the Church’s many rooms—from Sunday School classrooms to the Warwick Manse to the music room—will become crammed with Rummage volunteers and with thousands of gently used (and sometimes completely new) items, as cars pull up with trunks full of donations.  And then, on Thursday, July 12, and Saturday, July 14, the Church will open its doors to hundreds of shoppers from all over Chicagoland.

In the process of “opening up our precious church to be a sales venue, the Church truly becomes the body of Christ,” Jo said. “We don’t do it offsite in some warehouse. We give the best we have. ”

Many good things happen as a result, she believes.

Along the way,  “a community of caring” always develops among Rummage volunteers as they work, she said.  “Everyone ministers to each other. It is by working together that we develop bonds that last for decades. Those who work together can really grow together. It’s not the same as being together just in social settings.”

And the caring extends to the sale’s shoppers, many of whom can’t afford to clothe or equip their families without the sale’s bargains, and to the beneficiaries of the Church’s Outreach agencies, which receive all the proceeds from the sale.

Jo said she is struck by how often Rummage comes up when she meets to plan memorial services with families who have lost a loved one. Families often reminisce about “the way kids witnessed their mother’s giving” of time and talents to Rummage.  And they share “the memories of doing things together” at Rummage, she said. That’s why she’s particularly pleased with Rummage’s renewed push to involve young families in the work and fun of the sale.

The Rummage season began today, as volunteers started setting up the rooms in the Church where they will sort, price, and display all the donated merchandise.

Here is the countdown:

  • It’s just one week until June 7, when Rummage starts accepting donations.
  • It’s just ten days until June 11, when volunteers start sorting.
  • It’s just five weeks until July 5, the last day Rummage accepts donations.
  • And it’s just six weeks until July 12, the Premium Presale, and July 14, the Grand Rummage Sale.

We hope you’ll join our Rummage community this year! To participate, see the Church website for more information on how you can volunteer or donate to the sale.