First Church of Deerfield answers calling to ‘side with love’ through Ukrainian relief fundraiser

  • Members of the First Church of Deerfield use wax to design Easter eggs during a fundraising get-together at the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Members of the First Church of Deerfield use wax to design intricate patterns for painted eggs at the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Members of the First Church of Deerfield held a Ukrainian relief fundraiser at the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 4/11/2022 8:54:23 PM

DEERFIELD — Brushing her egg with freshly melted wax, the Rev. Liza Knapp considered the purpose of the First Church of Deerfield, whose members brought heavy hearts along with donations to their Ukrainian relief fundraiser on Sunday.

“As a church, I think there’s a calling to always side with love, to side with justice and to serve the neighbor in need, whether they’re next door or very far away,” said Knapp, who organized the event.

In partnership with South Deerfield’s Descent of the Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Church, the First Church of Deerfield took to the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA) building for an afternoon of egg decorating. Not only is this a timely Easter festivity, but it’s a traditional Ukrainian custom and a way for those across the Atlantic Ocean to connect with those suffering as a result of Russia’s invasion.

“As human beings, we’ve seen the images of homes destroyed and people injured and killed. … (Egg decorating) is a Ukrainian craft, so it seems kind of poignant to be doing it this year,” Knapp explained.

This year’s function was the rebirth of an Easter egg decorating event that “was just sort of for the fun of a community event” three years earlier, according to Knapp. While the small group of “very enthusiastic” attendees made it clear that this revival maintained the element of fun, they also understood its potential to be of service to those in need.

Before taking an egg from the neighboring table, members dropped checks and cash into a donation basket, adding to the church’s $1,750 tally of already collected contributions, which included “some donated goods.” The funds will be put toward food and medical supplies for people in Ukraine.

“We have a generous congregation and I think everyone’s been very moved and very concerned about the crisis unfolding,” Knapp said.

With members’ heads filled with such worry, Knapp said, coming together to relax and decorate eggs was, at the end of the day, “just a great community thing to do.”

“People have a chance to sit down, talk a little bit and just have a chance to slow down,” she said.


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