On Dec. 1 and 2, Fredonia Presbyterian Church will hold its sixth annual Alternative Christmas Festival. The festival includes a display of more than 175 nativities from all over the world as well as an Alternative Christmas Market.
For the past five years, Fredonia Presbyterian has welcomed hundreds of members of the community to this special event. While sharing the story of Christmas through the nativities, the church is also witnessing the religious message of Christmas through its alternative market. Over the previous five years, through the support of the community and church members who have participated in the market, more than $11,500 dollars have been raised to benefit others.
Those who have purchased fair trade food gift baskets are supporting coffee farmers, and others, by ensuring that they get a fair share of the purchase price of their product. These farmers also maintain the environmentally sound farming practices. Those who purchase a craft item from the SERRV international organization not only receive a beautifully crafted item but know that the craftsperson is receiving a fair portion of the sale. SERRV also works through cooperatives that enable the craftspeople to receive support in organizing and marketing their work. People can support COMPEER through the purchase of a beach glass angel, or Northern Chautauqua Rural Ministry through an alternative gift (they give a contribution in the name of a loved one and receive a card to give to that person to notify them of the gift). Heifer Project International is another organization that can be supported by an alternative gift.
In a time when Christmas is becoming increasingly commercialized, Fredonia Presbyterian Church is thankful for this opportunity to offer an "alternative" understanding of the season. They are thankful as well for the generous support of the community which has made the nativity display and alternative market what they are. This year, the congregation is looking forward to continuing to make a difference as it hosts the festival on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Dec. 2 from noon to 2 p.m.