Lord's Acre Sale at Hardins Chapel provides wall-to-wall fun

Lord's Acre Sale at Hardins Chapel provides wall-to-wall fun

Richard Guy is concerned about his homemade corn hole game. He painted it six times, he says, but it still doesn't look right to him.

"See how it looks kind of milky?" He points down to the white surface, emblazoned with a United Methodist cross and flame. "It's not supposed to be like that. I wanted this to be 100 percent."

In fact, most of the people here seem to be giving 100 percent -- and more. They've knocked themselves out to provide a wall-to-wall dinner, assemble an impressive auction, and finally, to give the highest sums of money for their own goods.

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It's all for a good cause: The 28th annual Lord's Acre Sale at Hardins Chapel United Methodist Church in Greeneville, Tenn. Like others in Holston Conference, this Morristown District church keeps the tradition of selling homemade foods, fresh produce, and handmade crafts on a fall weekend. The purpose is to turn a profit for the Lord's work. About 350 have come here on Oct. 17, including many from sister United Methodist churches who return each year.

"Now preacher, you haven't bid on anything yet."

The auction is as much comedy show as fundraiser. The auctioneer teases laughter from the crowd while the dollar signs roll. $90 for a pecan pie. $35 for a basket of pickles. $275 for a quilt. $115 for a Wizard of Oz lunchbox that reportedly was bought at a flea market for 50 cents.

When matching yellow baby quilts are presented, the young pastor and his wife are heckled into bidding because they're expecting twins. The Rev. Lew Kizer goodnaturedly plays along until the price becomes so inflated, he's forced to drop out of the game.

When the bidding finally stops, the winning total for both quilts is $282. The quilts are promptly tossed to a red-faced pastor and his wife, Ashlee, who apparently were designated to take the quilts home all along. A church member paid the $282.

By evening's end, Hardins Chapel had raised $11,700, while having more fun than ought to be allowed. The funds will help send children to summer camp, purchase playground and sound equipment, and fortify the church outreach fund, according to Kizer and this year's Lord's Acre organizers, Bob and Carolyn Hylton.