No Auctioneer Needed - Rockford Church Is Taking Its Auction Online

Nov 26, 2020

When you think of an auction you might think fast-talking auctioneers and excited participants raising their hands or shouting out bids. COVID-19 has silenced this practice. But one northern Illinois church is continuing with its annual sale while helping local artists during the process.

Unitarian Universalist Church

The Unitarian Universalist church in Rockford is holding an online auction, marketplace and art fair. The event is normally for the church family only, but this year is open to anyone who visits their website.

Steve Lewis is the chair of the finance committee at the church. He said during the church service auction planning, another component was added.

"Our committee came up with [an] idea that said, ‘Oh, in addition to us trying to figure out what we're doing, local artists haven't had a very good summer and fall, because art shows aren't happening and stuff like that and they might be anxious,’” Lewis explained.

Lewis is asking buyers to look at this as a generous donation when they make their purchase. He said he wants them to think of buying a $10 pie and deciding to pay $20 for it. He also said the bidding for the art would start at the artists’ full asking price.

“Well, we're going to take a little commission off the top," he said. "So, we're going to earn some, but if we sell anything, artists are going to earn what they would have for the watercolor that they sold.”

There are many items up for auction. Lewis mentions art but he said there will also be other goodies. The online catalog is open now and the bidding starts Nov. 28 through Dec. 9. The art show will continue through Jan. 5. More information can be found at

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at