Hurricane relief efforts have prompted many unique fundraising tactics such as charity concerts, bake sales and movie drives. However, the United Methodist Church in Redkev, Ind., may have topped the list when they auctioned their old church building on eBay for the good cause.
"It was so much fun just watching the auction take place," said the Rev. Randy Davis, pastor of the church.
According to the United Methodist News Service, the money from the auction will be used for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief – the organization has already received more than $20 million in donations.
The building, located 50 miles south of Fort Wayne, is previously the home of North Madison United Methodist Church. The 7,000-foot chapel became vacant in 2007 after the North Madison congregation merged with another group from Main Street United Methodist Church. The new Redkey congregation has about 90 members.
"With two buildings, we had to decide which one we would use," Davis said, adding that they chose the Main Street facility because it had more parking.
The congregation had already thought of selling the building but the idea for auctioning, which first “surfaced as a joke” didn’t solidify until someone who had expressed interest in the building declined to buy.
After receiving permission from the district’s bishop, the church members listed the building on Oct. 17 with a $1 reserve.
"The $1 reserve meant that $2 could buy this place," Davis explained to UMNS. "We had the faith to believe that it would go for considerably more than that."
The listing became so popular, according to Davis, that it was one of the top 10 items viewed on eBay.
Douglas Fleck, a financial consultant and yacht broker in Stuart, Fla. had the $40,600 winning bid on Oct. 27. Fleck said he wants to make the building a summer home and that having weathered three hurricanes in the last 14 months, “I liked the idea of the money going for hurricane victims.”
According to Davis, the building would have gone for $5,000 to $15,000 if it were sold at a local auction.
"The building is worth every dime of the $40,000," said Davis. "It's worth more than that."