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Black Friday Becomes Bless Friday – From the Pacific Coast to the Gulf Stream Waters

Black Friday Becomes Bless Friday® – Blessings Stretch from the Pacific Coast to the Gulf Stream Waters to the Rhineland in 5th Year

HOUSTON, Nov. 17, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Since 2010, Houston area churches have provided an alternative to frenzied Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Continuing this tradition, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church (MDPC), Beacon of Light Christian Center, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, St. Francis Episcopal Church, West University Baptist Church, Crosspoint Church and The Woodlands Community Presbyterian Church, are each scheduling community service projects on Friday, November 28. Also, this year the Christian community in Seattle can join parishioners from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church who will be helping the homeless at the St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle food bank. These churches ask families and individuals to celebrate Bless Friday® as an alternative to Black Friday.

A family-friendly activity at MDPC will connect its congregation to wounded warriors in Germany. Volunteers will make no-sew fleece pillows for wounded servicemen and woman being treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. The pillows will be gathered on the church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and shipped to the Chaplain’s Closet at the base.

West University Baptist Church and Crosspoint Church, both located in Houston, will join Bless Friday this year. They will unite in blessing a local medical clinic ministry, Casa el Buen Samaritano, by supporting its annual Christmas tradition of delivering cookies to patients and their families.

Again this year Bless Friday will operate a post in the plaza at City Centre, a mixed-use development in west Houston. Last year some people drove 60 miles to help assemble bags designed to bless the homeless. The post provides a respite from shopping for City Centre patrons and a way to honor Christ with service. Passersby are invited to take one of the bags to keep in their cars and hand out to the homeless. Pastor Brandon Gaide states, “We want to provide a positive counterpoint to a day devoted to over-hyped consumerism.”

Beacon of Light Christian Center plans to walk through the community, passing out much needed produce. Unfortunately fresh fruits and vegetables are not always part of the daily meals for many families in their part of town. Pastor Anthony Gasery states, “We are using the day to address the physical and spiritual needs of our community.”

Some of the other activities planned around the city include: serving lunch at Star of Hope homeless shelter; prepping food, cleaning the facility and welcoming clients at The Beacon, a homeless shelter established by Christ Church Cathedral; preparing Vita Living’s Spring Branch home for the intellectually challenged for Christmas; preparing shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts to be distributed by the International Seafarer’s Mission; bagging rice and beans for food pantries; improving the physical condition surrounding churches; and picking up trash at Memorial Park.

Chuck Fox, founder of Bless Friday, adds, “The great thing about Bless Friday is that you don’t need to participate in these planned activities. Any individual, family or group can identify a need and begin their Christmas season with service.” The improved website, BlessFriday.org, provides specific help connecting Houston area people with service opportunities and gives concrete examples for people in other areas to imitate or modify.

Bless Friday® was founded in 2010 in Houston to change the way Americans celebrate Christmas.

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Black Friday Becomes Bless Friday® — Bless Friday® Adds New Churches in 4th Year

HOUSTON, Nov. 18, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Since 2010, Houston area churches have provided an alternative to frenzied Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Continuing this tradition, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Beacon of Light Christian Center, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, St. Francis Episcopal Church, and

English: DC USA, Best Buy, Black Friday

English: DC USA, Best Buy, Black Friday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

, are each scheduling community service projects on Friday, November 29. These churches ask families and individuals to celebrate Bless Friday® as an alternative to Black Friday.

Chuck Fox, founder
of Bless Friday, states, “I am excited that The Woodlands Community
Presbyterian Church and St. Francis Episcopal Church are joining Bless
Friday this year. People get our message that when we focus too much on
buying things, we lose sight of the real reason for Christmas –
remembering and honoring Christ. We want to begin our Christmas
celebration by serving others just as Jesus did.”

Bless Friday will be
more visible to the public this year with a post located at City
Centre, a mixed use development in west Houston. While City Centre
patrons are shopping
on Black Friday, Bless Friday will have a station in the plaza where
shoppers can stop and assemble bags designed to bless the homeless.
Passersby are invited to take one of the bags to keep in their cars and
hand out to the homeless. Pastor Brandon Gaide states, “On the most
consumer-oriented day of the year, we want to offer a way of being
constructively countercultural.”

Also this year,
Beacon of Light Christian Center plans to invite the surrounding
community to its church, located at 6655 London St. in south Houston for
a day of fellowship and caring. The church plans to serve the community
the entire day by offering food to the hungry, clothing to those in
need, and activities for people of all ages. Pastor Anthony Gasery
states, “Our community is filled with people who financially overextend
themselves at Christmas. We want to show them a more positive and more
spiritual way to celebrate.”

Some of the other
activities planned around the city include: prepping food, cleaning the
facility and welcoming clients at The Beacon, a homeless shelter
established by Christ Church Cathedral; performing light maintenance and
preparing the Gracewood Women’s Home for Christmas; holding an ice
cream sundae party for the residents of Omega House, a hospice home for
patients with HIV/AIDS; preparing shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts
to be distributed by the International Seafarer’s Mission; bagging rice
and beans for food pantries; improving the physical condition
surrounding several churches; and picking up trash at Memorial Park and
Memorial High School.

Chuck Fox adds, “The
great thing about Bless Friday is that you don’t need to participate in
these planned activities. Any individual, family or group can identify a
need and begin their Christmas season with service.”

Bless Friday® was founded in 2010 to change the way Americans celebrate Christmas.

Black Friday Becomes Bless Friday® — Bless Friday® Expands Its Geographical Reach in 3rd Year

HOUSTON, Nov. 15, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Since 2010, Houston area churches and Christian organizations have provided an alternative to frenzied Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Continuing this tradition, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church (MDPC), Beacon of Light Christian Center, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, are each scheduling community service projects on Friday, November 23. These churches ask families and individuals to celebrate Bless Friday® as an alternative to Black Friday. This year for the first time groups of Christians in Austin, Texas will join in Bless Friday activities. They plan to package food for use by the needy. Other Houstonians are also taking the new tradition with them as they travel and are serving Christ at organizations such as Star of the Sea Outreach Mission food bank in Key West, Florida.

Chuck Fox, founder of Bless Friday, states, “I am excited that Bless Friday expanded geographically in its third year. People get our message that when we focus too much on buying things, we lose sight of the real reason for Christmas — remembering and honoring Christ. We want to begin our Christmas celebration by serving others just as Jesus did.”

English: Saint Lukes United Methodist Church S...

English: Saint Lukes United Methodist Church Santuary located in Houston, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dave Peterson, Sr. Pastor at MDPC states, “We want people to reconnect to the real reason we celebrate Christmas. I am especially gratified when children are involved. It changes how they view the season.” MDPC congregants are volunteering at local ministry partners (Star of Hope, SEARCH, East Spring Branch Food Pantry, Gracewood and The Amazing Place), or participating in a service project they can do at home with family and friends.

Beacon of Light Christian Center plans to serve the community surrounding its church, located in south Houston. Pastor Anthony Gasery states, “This year we are offering fruit bags to needy families throughout the community. Our members will assist with filling the bags and then we will walk the neighborhood going house to house, passing out the fruit bags. Last year we passed out over 150 bags of fresh produce (bananas, oranges, apples, and peanuts) and this year our desire is to serve at least 200 families. Our community is filled with people who financially overextend themselves at Christmas. We want to show them a more positive and more spiritual way to celebrate.”

At St Luke’s Gethsemane campus, United Methodist Women – Servants of Christ will invite neighbors and friends to join their congregation as they hand out care bags in neighborhoods surrounding the church and near their homes. “The bags symbolize thanksgiving for God’s abundance, and our desire to share with our community and welcome them into our church home” says Mireya Ottaviano, local pastor.

St. John the Divine will send one group to The Beacon to serve food to the homeless and help with laundry and other practical needs. Another group will go to Agape Development to work on improving the physical condition of the residences and community center.

Bless Friday® was founded in 2010 in Houston to change the way Americans celebrate Christmas.