Church using eBay to fund building project
Appeal Staff Writer
First Presbyterian Church is realizing just how profitable selling items on eBay can be and are using the Web site to raise money for their new sanctuary.
“Tom (Streenan) gave me this great idea to sell stuff that had been donated,” said Rev. Bruce Kochsmeier. “And after listening to him, I said, ‘Hey, let’s try this.'”
The money is going into a fund to pay for the construction of the new sanctuary, which is about $2.2 million, all-inclusive. Kochsmeier hopes to hold the first service in the sanctuary by Christmas 2008.
The bids started with a La Vern vase. It had been appraised for $3,200 and sold for $1,500.
“It’s French and made in the 1920s,” said Streenan, who does the research on each item being sold, takes pictures of each item, lists them and then answers questions about the item from potential buyers via e-mail.
Kochsmeier said the person donating the item to the church will receive a slip identifying the item as a tax donation to keep for their records.
“People have stuff they just don’t know the value of,” Kochsmeier said. “For me, it’s most exciting seeing the congregation get involved and we’re making good money. It matters for something good.”
Streenan, 59, and his wife, Isobel, have been users of eBay for quite some time. Kochsmeier likens Tom’s work to that of a historian. “And Isobel, she’s good at this,” he added.
Kochsmeier said 99 percent of the money needed for the new sanctuary has come from commitment of the congregation, and some who have bequeathed to the church in their will.
“There have been some sacrificial gifts, as well, that are just amazing,” Kochsmeier said.
Other items donated for sale include: a mink coat, Harley Snap-On tool plaque, Rainbow vacuum cleaner, Folbot, Serger, Kodak folding camera, Paragon figurine and others.
“We’ve raised about $3,000 so far. We have about $700,000 to go on the building.
“Once this house is built, maybe we’ll build one in Ethiopia – that would only be $25,000,” Kochsmeier said. “We need to do something for God’s glory.”
Kochsmeier recited Acts Chapter 2, verses 44-45.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
“We’re not just doing it for ourselves, we’re doing it as a statement and outreach, to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Kochsmeier also gives credit to parishioner Carole Carlson and religious education director Nancy Kochsmeier. Nancy Kochsmeier has a contest for each Sunday school class to see who can bring in the most aluminum cans.
“The community has been behind us on this, too,” Bruce Kochsmeier said. “What’s in your attic? And what items we don’t put on eBay will be placed in our annual rummage sale. It will be either Sept. 22 or 29.”
“This has been fun for me,” Streenan said. “It’s really exciting to see if a bid’s gone up.”
Kochsmeier said they will welcome items donated to the church by the community to sell on eBay. Proceeds from all eBay sales will help pay for the new sanctuary. Items not sold on eBay will be sold at the church’s annual rummage sale.
For information, call 882-1032.
• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.