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January 28, 2012

Sanctuary Lamp

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

A member of the church asked me earlier about the sanctuary lamp, known more commonly here as the “eternal candle.” We have regularly purchased the candles from Concordia Publishing House. However, over the past couple of months, we have started buying the candles locally at a dollar store in town.

Why? The cost.

CPH sells a case of 24 candles for $88 plus shipping, a cost that easily breaks the $100 barrier. These candles burn for seven days, thus we need to change these candles out weekly. Considering that there are 52 weeks in a year, we regularly go through two boxes, plus four from a third. Overall, CPH sanctuary candles have cost us, on average, more than $300 per year.

In November, while in Dollar Power store in Brookchester here in New Milford, I noticed that they sold 7-day burning candles for $1.50 each. When we finally ran out of sanctuary lamps, I decided to pick up a couple at Dollar Power and use them in church. Honestly, I wasn’t too confident that they would last as long as the candles purchased from CPH. To my surprise, the candles burned for at least six and half days, about the same as the CPH sanctuary lamps. However, it was the cost that sold me. The church would be saving approximately $2.50 per candle if we continue to purchase them from the local store instead of paying almost $4.00 a candle with shipping from CPH.

And unless I didn’t write about it, my guess is that no one would have noticed.

Annually, these Dollar Power candles would cost us a tad more than $77 a year without any shipping cost. CPH, which charges a premium to ship, would cost Saint Matthew’s approximately $300.

I’m not crazy, but saving $223 a year seems like a good idea.

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