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.”
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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.