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Stewart Baptist craft/bake sale benefits prayer blanket ministry

The first ever Stewart Baptist Church Craft and Bake sale already has 40 vendors taking part in its communitywide event coming up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. Sponsored by the Women of JOY (Jesus First, Others Second, Yourself Last) ladies' ministry in the church, the craft and bake sale features the talents of men and women from across the region.

Gospel singing will highlight the day as families are invited to the free event, which will be held on the church grounds located at 158 Stewart Church Road, about a mile south down Ga. Highway 36 from the Ga. 36 and Ga. Highway 212 intersection.

"We're excited -- we really are," said Women of JOY member Sherry Jones, who is also the wife of Pastor Jerry Jones, minister of Stewart Baptist. "The reason we're doing this is, of course, as an outreach to the community, but because we have a prayer blanket ministry and teddy bear ministry. We'll use the entry fee of $25 (paid by vendors) and put it into our fund to support these ministries."

Vendors include not only church members, but crafters and cooks from across metro Atlanta. Among the day's vendors will be several jewelry makers, quilters, artists and all types of other crafters.

One crafter makes an item that looks like a little dress to hang up, but is actually a holder for hairbows. There will be handmade clothes for children, embroidered items, quilted handbags, pottery, baskets, bird houses, handmade greeting cards, wood art and many other such crafts.

Also on hand will be homemade jams and jellies, cupcakes, cakes, cakeballs, lemonade, popcorn, cookies, funnel cakes, cotton candy, snowcones and other food. Stewart Baptist's men's ministry, Men of Gold, will cook hamburgers and hot dogs and barbecue will also be available.

There will be games and a moonwalk for children, as well as pony rides. Another big draw for the day is expected to be the Classic Car Cruise In.

Jones said everyone is invited to come to the free event and enjoy the day while helping to support the church's ministries. The prayer blanket ministry is designed to help those who are "struggling in any way," Jones said.

"Whether they're ill, have lost a loved one or suffering in life, we want to help."

She explained that the women of the church buy flannel blankets and cut the side edges then tie knots all along the edge, praying as they work. They pray for the one who will receive the blanket and then when several blankets have been completed, they will be placed on the altar at the church and people will come up and pray over the blankets.

"We know that the blanket, of course, has no power in it, but we just pray over it and ask God to put his blessings on the people who receive it," Jones said. "So many people have been touched by this ministry and get a blessing from it. We started this the first of the year and it's been a really huge success. We've given out 40 or 50 blankets."

Part of the proceeds from the entry fees will also go toward the church's teddy bear ministry. The ladies of the church ask for slightly used teddy bears or go out and buy new ones to give to children in need. They take the bears to the department of family and children services, as well as to the police and fire departments and the local women's shelter.

When children are removed from their homes, or if they lose their homes in a fire, many of them receive one of these teddy bears. Each one comes with a poem written by one of the ladies in the church that offers comfort to the child. Jones said the church has given out around 100 teddy bears to children in need.

Stewart Baptist Church Craft and Bake Sale is still accepting vendors and anyone interested is asked to call 770-483-3673.

A member of the Stone Mountain Baptist Association, Stewart is a Southern Baptist church. The community is also invited to come to Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. and Sunday morning worship at 11. Evening worship is at 6 on Sundays and at 7 on Wednesdays. The church offers classes and activities for all ages.

Beth Sexton is a freelance writer based in Snellville. If you have a story idea, email Karen Rohr, features editor, at karen.rohr@rockdalecitizen.com.