The Episcopal Church of the Messiah is located at 721 Saint Louis Street in Gonzales, Texas

Our office phone number is 830.672.3407. 

Our mailing address is P.O. Box 139, Gonzales, Texas 78629.  

Our parish email address is messiah@gvtc.com 

 

WEEKLY SCHEDULE....

10:30 AM Sunday Worship (Holy Eucharist) 

7PM Monday & Friday: (AA Meetings) 

WOMEN'S GROUP, 2nd Wednesday, 6 PM at Elk's Lodge (Except in Lent)

MEN'S GROUP, 2nd Wednesday, 6 PM at Elk's Lodge (Except in Lent)

Vestry Meetings normally 3rd Wednesday 6pm 

The Rev. Shanna Neff

 

 

 

 

 


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THE BLESSING PROJECT

$1,000 check given to Relay for Life from Blessing Cross sales!

A very artistic member of Messiah, who has a passion for outreach, but even more for prayer, makes one-of-a-kind handcrafted crosses. As she makes each cross, she prays for whomever the recipient might be. The crosses are then blessed by the priest after completion. When the crosses are sold (at $10 each), it is requested that the person giving the cross let the recipient know that they're being remembered in prayer every Sunday by the congregation. We do this by simply praying for "all those who have received blessing crosses" that they may indeed by blessed by God and know his presence in their lives.

The Blessing Project is an imaginative means of creating greater awareness of God's love for all persons, recalling that our Christian vocation is, first and foremost, to witness to the far reaching love of God to all that we meet. Through this ministry we are also creating an awareness of various ministries in Gonzales.  Thus far, in just the first few months of 2010, $1,000 has been raised for the newly formed Christian Women's Job Corps of Gonzales County, known as Bethany House, and another $1,000 for the support of Relay for Life. Additional funds have been given to the Gonzales Christian Assistance Ministries.

Every aspect of this project is immersed and saturated in prayer, which is why it is such a blessing to those who receive the crosses as well as the organizations who benefit from the proceeds. God has blessed this Blessing Project, we believe, because of the emphasis on prayer and the church's willingness to give all of the proceeds away . The sacrificial nature of the Blessing Project, and the prayers of our members on behalf of the cross recipients, has in turn, blessed us immeasurably as well.  It's definitely a God thing!  [Note: a more detailed article follows the pictures below if you're interested]

A few of our packaged Blessing Crosses on display! 

A Sample Blessing Cross with the enclosed blessing and description.

 

Creative Crosses Bring Blessings

By Fr. Randy Melton

 

Inspired by Reggie McNeal at our fall clergy conference, I gave a sermon prior to the annual parish meeting in January to my parishioners at Church of the Messiah, challenging them to live out the promise of God's people to be a people of blessing. As a means of discovering creative ways to bless others in the community, I encouraged them to go into the community and ask someone in a context other than church, “How can I ask God to bless you today?” Second, I asked them to become a prayer champion for a civil servant, educator, policeman or fireman. Finally, I gave away three $100 checks from the parish outreach fund to anyone who was willing to find a creative way to use it for mission-related purposes in a manner that would bring blessing on others. The idea was to see how far they could make the money go in developing a ministry.

 

My wife, Karen, was one of those who took up the third challenge. She told me ahead of time that, although tempting, she wasn't going to take one of the challenge checks. But the Holy Spirit obviously moved her to do otherwise. Karen headed for the kitchen as soon as she returned from church that afternoon, pulled the flour out of the pantry and started experimenting. By Tuesday afternoon she had a ½ dozen crosses made and by Thursday took her first 11 to Twin Palms Hair Salon in Luling to get some marketing advice from owner Melanie Robbins. Karen left with some much valued input…and without any of her crosses…she sold them that quickly!

 

“I was really inspired about what Fr. Randy said in his sermon about how we can go about our daily lives with the intention of blessing others,” says Karen. “We tell people we’ll pray for them or that we’re thinking about them during a difficult time in their lives…but I wanted to figure out how we might do that in a tangible way. I looked through my Bible and found these verses that I have really loved over the years, from Numbers 6:24-26. It says, 'The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace'.”

 

“That really sums up my feelings when I’m trying to convey to someone my heartfelt concern for them whenever they’re going through a tough time. So after I picked out the scripture verse I thought about what medium I could use. That’s where the idea of dough art came to me. I wanted to use ordinary materials…like flour…as a sign and symbol that in our ordinary ways in our ordinary lives we CAN make a difference and do something for others…it doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot to show someone you care.”

 

[If you have no interest in how she makes these crosses, then skip this paragraph and read the rest. Nobody knows the secret to these wonderful creations but me, because I live with her. It's incredible! She takes equal portions of corn starch, flour and tacky glue, mixes them together to make dough, then rolls them out and shapes them with a cookie cutter. This first phase actually takes several hours. She then cooks the cross-shaped dough on low heat for 24-36 hours. After they've cooled and hardened, she then sands the edges in preparation for the final phase of decorating each cross individually. No two are alike. Various mediums are used in the decorating phase, such as acrylic paint, mulberry paper, scrap-booking paper, and various embellishments including paper flowers and sparkling gems. The decoration takes about 45 minutes to an hour for each cross. The cost of materials varies, but averages around $1.50 per cross. This labor of love is labor-intensive, and the fruit of the labor results in a very high quality production, that's sold for only $10!]

 

The parish is delighted that through this ministry we're also creating a greater awareness of various ministries in Gonzales.  Thus far, in just the first few months of 2010, sales from the Blessing Crosses have raised $1,000 for Bethany House (Christian Women's Job Corps of Gonzales County), which is housed in our Rectory, and another $1000 for Relay for Life. Additional funds have been given to the Gonzales Christian Assistance Ministries and the parish outreach fund. But what Karen wants people to realize is that this is really much more of a Project of Prayer than just another outreach project or fund-raiser.

 

As each unique cross is being handcrafted, Karen prays for those to whom the crosses will be given. The crosses are then blessed, and sold for just $10 each. Many people buy several to give to friends who are going through a tough time. Parishioners have enthusiastically distributed them to such folks. It's been a great way to bring a blessing to someone's life, especially if the giver is shy about asking a person how they might do that. We ask that the person giving the cross let the recipient know that they're being remembered in prayer every Sunday by the congregation. Every Sunday, during the prayers of the people, we simply pray for "all those who have received blessing crosses," that they may indeed by blessed by God and know his presence in their lives.

 

A card accompanies each cross explaining the project, “Receive this gift in the knowledge that God loves you and people are praying for you.” Karen reports, “We don’t have to know who exactly is getting a cross in order to pray for them. God knows that person…and that’s what counts. I do know that prayer matters so we pray that each and every recipient will find some peace and comfort knowing that they are being prayed for and that God loves them.”

 

The Blessing Crosses are an imaginative means of creating greater awareness of God's love for all persons, recalling that our Christian vocation is, first and foremost, to witness to the far reaching love of God to all that we meet. Every aspect of this project is immersed and saturated in prayer, which is why it is such a blessing to those who receive the crosses as well as the organizations who benefit from the proceeds. God has blessed this ministry, we believe, because of the emphasis on prayer and the church's willingness to give all of the profit away. The sacrificial nature of the Blessing Cross Project is in people buying something to give away as a blessing. That, and the prayers of our members on behalf of the cross recipients, has blessed us immeasurably as well.  It's definitely a God thing! And the best 100 bucks we ever spent!

 

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