Westminster Presbyterian Church is giving Nacogdoches neighbors the chance to exchange more than gifts this holiday season. Purchases create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to improve their quality of life by earning a fair income.

Westminster Hall, at 903 North Street, will be transformed into Ten Thousand Villages International Market. Shopping hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, November 18, and 9 a.m. to noon., Saturday, November 19.

Visitors will discover a distinctive collection of handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art,  sculpture and personal accessories made by artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Texas. Fair trade coffees, teas, chocolates and olive oil will also be sold at the event.

"It is a joy to be asked by members of the community, 'When is Ten Thousand Villages?'" said organizing committee member Bobbie Ann Anderson.

The annual shopping event showcases handcrafted items sourced through Ten Thousand Villages, a nonprofit fair trade organization and a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization. Works sold through Ten Thousand Villages benefit tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 35 countries. Product sales help pay for food, education, health care and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.

Gifts purchased at the Ten Thousand Villages International Market arrive wrapped up in greater meaning than disposable bows and paper.

"Members of our community are looking forward to the opportunity to shop for gifts they feel good about giving," Anderson said.

The 2016 Ten Thousand Villages International Market includes items made by members of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Sales of these items will benefit local, regional and global mission work of the church. Handmade reusable gift bags will be sold and gift wrapping will be available for a small fee.

"We are grateful for the continued support of our community that lets us host this meaningful mission event," said Anderson.

Mission is important to Westminster Presbyterian Church. Members are encouraged to be involved in a wide variety of projects and organizations in the Nacogdoches community. Community RX, Love In The Name of Christ, Brown Family Health Center, Nacogdoches County United Way, Women's Shelter of East Texas, Nacogdoches Project H.O.P.E., Christian Women's & Men's Job Corps and the Nacogdoches Senior Center are some of the organizations supported by the work of church gifts and members.

Westminster Presbyterian Church is a designated Texas Historic Landmark that traces its roots to the first Protestant minister to preach on Texas soil. In 1836, Rev. Sumner Bacon organized a Presbyterian Sunday School in the Old Stone Fort. This School remained in existence until 1849. In 1843, the Cumberland Presbyterian Synod of Texas was organized at a campground near Nacogdoches. At this time Nacogdoches was part of the Republic of Texas. In 1889, the Presbyterian Church U.S. established First Presbyterian Church, and a building was erected at North Fredonia and Hospital Street. On May 4, 1893, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. organized the Main Street Presbyterian Church. This church had twelve charter members and was located at Main and Mound Streets. On November 30, 1930, Main Street Presbyterian Church was renamed Westminster Presbyterian Church, and construction of our present day church and pastor’s manse were completed.