Since Phyllis Adams organized a group to sell pillowcases, baby clothes and dolls for her church's Christmas Sale in 1975, she's helped raise over $90,000 for the .
“That sounds like a big number,” Adams said from her home this week, “but it took us thirty-five years to do it.”
While that is true, church officials aren't as quick to downplay the contribution. They will honor her leadership and dedication to the Craft Group during the coffee hour following service on Sunday.
said the money Adams has helped raise has supported the church's ministry. “Her leadership of our church's Craft Group has resulted in community members being able to enjoy fine homemade items while providing significant support for our congregation. She led the group with grace and good humor.”
The Craft Group began when Adams was approached by Evelyn Eichorn, Cora Sweeting, and Mrs. Scoville, the widow of former pastor, the Rev. Clarence Scoville for whom the is named after. She was asked to form a group to carry on the work of sewing items for the Women's Guild sale for which they had been responsible for many years.
Adams declined, but changed her mind when the three elderly church members came to her house and dropped off boxes of material left over from their earlier efforts. She gathered friends from within and outside the church to take up the challenge.
“I was the coordinator,” Adams said. “I kept the stuff. Some girls crocheted, some knit, and I could tell which ones liked to do what.”
Over the years as many as 19 ladies met weekly at Adam’s home. “We would work from one to four o’clock, have tea and coffee and talk about our families," Adams said. Occasionally, they took time out to enjoy lunch together at “The Buoy,” to picnic at Maidstone Park, or go to Miss Amelia’s for tea.
Dressed in a lavender blouse and skirt that highlight her silvery gray hair and steady gaze, Adams grows nostalgic recalling how Howarth, the minister since 2005, has remarked on the women’s familiarity with one another. “'I don’t know about you girls,' he said, 'I think you’re all related.' In a way,” Adams said, “we were.”
Asked how she learned her skills, Adams shrugs, “I picked it up from my mother. There’s not any one thing I’m most proud of,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of things.”
Adams, who was raised in Amagansett, will turn 89 in August. She has been a member of that church for 74 years.
She and her husband, Carroll (Bud) Adams grew up playing together at her grandmother’s house on Floyd Street. Both graduated , as did their three sons, Ronald, Lawrence and Brian.
At her home, she proudly shows off the towering maple standing in the backyard, won as a prize at a dance 65 years ago.
Mary Curles, a longtime member of the group, credits Adams’ hard work and temperament. “For a person to have a craft group for thirty-five years takes a lot of patience, caring, and thoughtfulness.”
In addition to Adams and Curles, the group has five remaining members: Josephine Crasky, Edna Mae Steckowski, Annie Lauris, Lib Stonemetz and Beth Bennett. “People are not like they used to be,” says Adams. “They’re too busy.”
Their work will be on sale at church’s which will be held the first Saturday in August.