On a recent Sunday, Amy Rice sat in Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church, listening to the Rev. Woodrow Wilson preaching from the book of Matthew.
On that particular day, Wilson was preaching about Matthew 25:14-30, which is known as “the Parable of the Bags of Gold,” or “the Parable of the Talents.”
The parable tells of a man who leaves his considerable wealth in the hands of his servants, giving three of them different amounts of treasure; to one he leaves five bags, to another two bags and to a third man he leaves one bag.
Both of the men with the greater amounts invest the money wisely, and the master is pleased with them when he returns because his treasure has multiplied. The third man, however, chooses the “safe” option and buries the bag of gold in the ground.
After the service, Rice and her friends — having been moved by Wilson urging his congregation to make the most of what they have been given — brainstormed about how to take the $10 they had each been given as part of the sermon and multiply it to serve their community and their church.
Rice, who — in addition to owning Mickey’s Family Crabhouse and being a full-time student and mother of four children — sells essential oils, hit on the idea of creating a product from the oils to sell as a fundraiser for a major project the church is undertaking.
That is how Blessing Bubbles soap was born. Along with nine of her friends, Rice has begun producing the foaming soap, the base of which is an all-natural cleaner made with clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary therapeutic-grade essential oils, Rice said.
“The nine of us that made these prayed over them while making them, that the blessings would multiply,” Rice said.
All proceeds from the soap will help fund the Hope Center, a 13,000-square foot facility now in planning stages, which Wilson said is intended to serve both the Mariner’s Bethel congregation and the community at large.
The name of the facility was chosen, Wilson said, because “all people deserve hope.”
The one-story, 13,000-square-foot building will include a kitchen where the church will be able to grow its existing food ministry, Feed My Sheep, as well as a gym for use by youth groups within the church and by outside recreational teams, Wilson said. In addition, the church plans after-school enrichment programs for area students, the details of which are currently being worked out.
The church, Wilson said, sees the center as a cooperative effort between Mariner’s Bethel and surrounding schools, businesses and organizations, as well as other churches, in its efforts to continue to serve all members of the community, no matter how old.
“Our whole vision is growing spiritually healthy people throughout all generations,” he said. The Hope Center came about through the church “recognizing that there was a need for outreach and in-reach,” he said.
“The Hope Center is really a vehicle that we want to use to engage and invite” community members to come together, he said. In a more serious vein, he added that the church realizes the role it can play in providing an anchor for youth, giving them “a chance to be engaged, and to be loved, and to keep them from being at-risk.”
In addition to the multipurpose/gymnasium space and kitchen, the Hope Center will also include four classrooms, two meeting rooms, a stage, and space for offices as well as a small prayer space.
At this time, the church has reached about the halfway point of its fundraising goal of $3.2 million, Wilson said. The current plan is for construction on the Hope Center to start in May 2018, he said.
Blessing Bubbles soap is available at Kyle’s Produce Junction on Cedar Neck Road and at Mickey’s Family Crabhouse on Coastal Highway just south of Bethany Beach. Each bottle costs $6; all proceeds will go toward the Hope Center at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church. Community members interested in helping with the project are being asked to call the Rev. Woodrow Wilson at the church, at (302) 539-9510.