The Guild Shop of St. John the Divine was founded in September 1962 by a group of dedicated Episcopal women in the weekly sewing group who wanted to use their talents to serve the Lord, their church and the community.
Their enthusiastic nature and can-do spirit were catching and after they put out a call to the entire church their plans began to come to fruition with an actual store on Fairview.
“There was never ever a thought of failure” Alice Wheless, a founding member was fond of saying. They were caught up in the success from the beginning.
The Shop is still as warm and welcoming 57 years later as it was at the beginning. Over 170 wonderful volunteers and 10 employees fulfill the mission which was set out at the beginning.
That mission is “To enrich the community as a Christian ministry and resale shop dedicated to awarding financial support to organizations that serve the elderly in need.” In the early days, the number one benefactor is St. James House. Since 1982, the retirement home has received over $5 million to help the Financial Assistance Fund. More recently, the opportunity has arisen to enrich more groups that do wonderful work with the elderly.
The Gathering, Amazing Place, Holly Hall, The Turning Point, Vita Living and senior programs at St. John the Divine and the David Weekley YMCA have all benefited from the good works of The Guild Shop. Named as Executive Director in 2017, Debbie Willingham is only the fifth person to lead the Shop.
The future looks bright with new volunteers joining us monthly and new consignors, donors, and customers that we value so much.
The Guild Shop is even more relevant today. As the aging population increases, the Shop will continue to serve our community by directly contributing to organizations that enrich the lives of the elderly in need. There are opportunities for each and everyone to help. Please consider donating, consigning and/or volunteering at this special Guild Shop, a ministry of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church.
Need Help? Come Say Hello?
The Guild Shop has two parking lots: one on the south side of the Shop on Dunlavy Street and one on the north side of the Shop, across the street on Welch.