This week thousands of rummage fans will think they've died and gone to heaven, but they'll only be in church.

The Winnetka Congregational Church on Thursday will stage its 49th annual rummage sale, recognized as the world's largest by the Guinness Book of World Record for the last three years.

But that's only the half of it for the North Shore surburb. Another claimant of the record, Christ Church of Winnetka, will hold its 57th annual rummage sale in October.

The existing mark, according to the 1981 Guinness Book, is the $91,890.17 grossed by the Congregational Church last May 9. But Marilyn Black, co-chairman of the Christ Church, sale, said it ranked in more than $103,000 on Oct. 9. She said the church has been in communication with the Guiness people and recently sent them an audit of sale figures.

Considering inflation, though, it's likely the Christ Church totals will be topped by the competition this week, and it's conceivable the title will pass back and forth across town twice a year indefinitely.

No matter. Either way, Winnetka is the rummage capital of the world, all proceeds go to charity, and the women in charge of the sales don't seem to care which one comes out on top.