Spring and summer fairs, table top sales, cakes, jumble and all sorts have not been on sale for over 14 months. Covid restrictions didn’t want us gathering in halls or enclosed spaces whether we wore masks or not.
The Anglican Church in Palma and all other organisations who live from collections and donations, suffered hugely. The generous support of the community to all these events normally enable life to go on in them and the charities they support.
As the restrictions lift the Treasurers are examining their books and wondering what to do next. In the Church context the Anglican Churches in Mallorca are self supporting. They come under the Diocese of Europe and as such have slightly different funding from their colleagues in the UK.
Many older people living here will remember the excitement of the Anglican Church in Palma being built. It had existed on various sites in its history, including a Coca Cola factory. 50 years ago a hard working, generous congregation, raised the money to build a permanent building of its own. It has lived in the Son Armadans suburb of Palma ever since.
The Port of Pollensa has its own Anglican Church too, in the heart of the town. The Anglican Church in Mallorca is one chaplaincy with two churches and two vicars. Rev Ishanesu Gusha is the Vicar of Palma and soon, in Pollensa, a new vicar will arrive to fill the vacant post. This is a time of great change in the Anglican Church on the island and coincides with the emergence out of Covid lockdown.
Meanwhile down in Palma the energetic, enthusiastic fund raisers decided to be the first ‘fund raiser’ on the island. Complying with all Covid rules meant that little of the inside of the building was used and the Patio was our sales area. The skies were dark, it rained sand for awhile and then it stopped and the Bazaar began. Barbara, who is cake maker par excellence had enlisted her team and sausage rolls, pork pies and home made chutney were in evidence. This, with cakes of all descriptions made it a veritable feast.
The jewellery, the wine table and children’s games kept us busy and then the “Bric a Brac’ in the church, organised by Sandra and friends was a joy to behold. We all bought things we never knew we needed.
We had a great time watching the children enjoying socialising with their friends and playing. We loved seeing old friends greeting one another. We were sad that in actual fact the attending numbers were very low. The reasons for this are manifold, the weather, the lack of desire to mix in crowds, the feeling that all this is a little too soon, having no money to spend and a disappointing lack of interest.
We all know how we have been spending our time in the lockdown era. Many have not wanted to socialise at all and that coupled with being broke, means that a fund raiser is not high on their agenda.
This experience was a lesson for the Church and there was much analysis after the event. The happy faces of the participants told its own story so the feeling was very much to carry on, start slowly and build up to our larger fund raisers when there are more people on the island and more time has past.
The Anglican Church in Palma were a touchstone for others looking to start fund raising again. The complications are different now as they involve fear of illness and having no spare money. It is difficult to explain those two feelings away. The challenge for all fund raisers is the same and we will all learn from what each other is doing.
Many of the churches on the island are giving rather than collecting. They feed their congregations on a Sunday and operate jumble sales for a euro an item to help clothe the children. There is outstanding kindness and collective hard work in many of the communities of faith.
It is as if all the balls have been thrown in the air and the Church has to completely revise its game plan for the immediate future. The collection of money to enable the work is still fundamental to all its efforts.
The Anglican Church raised 560 euros on Saturday. They were grateful to all those who worked so hard and those who supported on the day.
The rule book for Mallorca and how it faces its financial dilemmas is being shared by all. To start with we will do all we can and hope that as things improve more cash might be available for churches and charities.
In spite of the thinking angst, it was a great morning and enjoyed hugely by all who attended and helped.