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Canvas & Clay

Fundraiser to include wine pairing, silent auction

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Canvas & Clay

Canvas & Clay organizers say the event on Thursday will be a night of good food, expertly paired by a sommelier with different wines, and will feature a silent auction with more than 40 handcrafted items.

“It’s going to be unique and different,” said Charlotte Dale, the event’s chair. “It’s going to be a night of fun for a good cause.”

Canvas & Clay will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Grand Boulevard home of Dr. and Mrs. Ward Stuckey. Tickets are $25 each.

The event will benefit the Greenwood non-profit Locus Benedictus Retreat and Spiritually Center, which is kept alive by fundraising efforts and volunteers.

“Locus Benedictus is supported solely by donations,” said Magdalene Abraham, who serves as the center’s spiritual director and retreat facilitator. “No one in the ministry gets paid. All donations go directly to the ministries.”

Canvas & Clay will feature food and wine pairings by sommelier Dana Guest, a Jackson resident who grew up in Minter City.

“Dana is going to give a little wine talk and tell us a little bit about choosing a wine and choosing food to go with it,” said Dale.

Guest, who holds a culinary arts degree, is a sales representative for the vintage division of Republic National Distributing. She uses her skills as a sommelier to work with charitable organizations to hold wine pairing fundraisers.

Canvas & Clay will feature six stations, each offering a different selection of hors d’oeuvres and wine samples.

“The food is going to be delicious,” said Dale.

For those who would like to attend the event but are not wine drinkers, bottled water will also be served at the food stations.

Canvas & Clay’s silent auction will feature a variety of more than 40 pieces of artwork, pottery and handmade crafts, all created by Mississippi artists, including some from the Greenwood area.

Dr. Michael Whelan, a Greenwood psychologist, will be at the event signing copies of his new book “The Sacred Nexus: Psychological Links to the Image of God.”

“The book is brilliant in making the connection with the spiritual and the psychological,” said Abraham. “It’s a culmination of his extensive experience in the field of psychology and his deep spirituality.”

All proceeds from Canvas & Clay will go toward the operational costs of the retreat center.

“Locus Benedictus is a place for all people,” said Abraham. “It is a place of renewal. Its main focus is the inner healing ministry, seeking freedom from painful wounds of the past.”

Locus Benedictus is a 67-acre retreat area, which is home to the Chapel of Mercy, Mary Mother of the Delta shrine, a retreat center and the residence of three Redemptorists priests, who are available to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The site is located on a former Civil War battleground — Fort Pemberton.

Abraham said, “Only an awesome God can take such destruction and turn it into a ‘place of blessing,’” which is what the retreat center’s name, Locus Benedictus, means in Latin.

The center offers three “Grace for the Journey” support groups:

• At 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, for those who are grieving the loss of a child, grandchild or spouse.

• At 10 a.m. on Thursdays, for caregivers.

• At 6 p.m. on Thursdays, for those who are suffering from depression, life’s hurts or addictions.

“The people who come for ministry are seeking to be set free, to live the abundant life promised in John 10:10,” said Abraham. “We deal with the core wounds of all people, which we feel is the only way to be free from addictions and that which prevents us from living a full life.”

Also a Locus Benedictus ministry is Special Blessings of the Delta, which is a group for special needs children, young adults and families in the Greenwood area.

Special Blessings holds different events and activities — such as a petting zoo, a Christmas celebration, a family “hoedown” and more — for its participants to enjoy.

“Every Special Blessings event we have, they have so much fun,” said Dale, who also chairs the group. “You can just tell it (by) how they’re engaged and they’re smiling. We have a blast.”

On the first Saturday of each month, Locus Benedictus partners with Greenwood Leflore Hospital to hold Health Chats, where guest speakers provide health care information and give attendees an opportunity to ask questions related to the Health Chat topic.

Locus Benedictus also offers employment training, retreats and spiritual direction.

The support groups, Health Chats, spiritual direction and Special Blessings are all offered free of charge. Most of the center’s retreats are free to attend with the option of giving a love offering.

Locus Benedictus is also growing.

“We are trying to complete the building of our administration/conference center,” said Abraham.

When completed, the administration/conference center will include a Christian book and gift store, a venue for event rentals, a room designated for Special Blessings, spiritual direction rooms and meeting rooms.

There are also plans for the construction of a playground for special needs children.

While the Canvas & Clay fundraiser will help with operational expenses, Locus Benedictus is also accepting donations toward both projects.

Locus Benedictus states it “exists for the sole purpose of offering programs, services and ministry to allow each individual or group to experience the abundant life as described in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“It’s also a place for our community to come together as one,” said Abraham.

For more information about Locus Benedictus, call 299-1232 or visit www.locusbenedictus.org.

A limited number of Canvas & Clay tickets are being sold. To purchase a ticket, call 515-3340.

• Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7235 or rrobison@gwcommonwealth.com.

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