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Bookstore expands Christian outreach

Scott Stewart continues his role as a domestic missionary with the opening of Cross & Crown, a Christian book and gift store located at 601 East First St., Park Rapids. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Elijah's Echo, a Christian ministry and resource center, truly has an "echo" - figuratively, that is.

Cross & Crown has opened adjacent to the outreach site as a means to provide Christian materials through a gift shop, explained Scott Stewart, a "domestic missionary."

The opportunity arose after the Bookshelf n' Office Supply closed.

"People felt a void," Stewart said of the Christian book and gift store on Highway 34. No similar store existed within 90 miles, he said.

"God pulled up in a car and said, 'hop in!'" Stewart said of his epiphany. "He's a better driver than I am. And life's better when I let him do the driving."

They "parked" on the corner of Grove Avenue and Highway 34.

Elijah's Echo is a storefront support ministry for people to celebrate recovery and for those who do not wish to attend a formal church, Stewart explained of the non-denomi-national center.

"The book and gift store was a natural fit," he said. Mike and Deb Woodard, owners of Bethany Bookstore in the Brainerd area, were "a big help in guiding" the store's beginning, he said.

A survey shows Hubbard County reflects national statistics - three out of five are "unchurch," residents with no church affiliation. Two out of five are members of a church.

"The cultural landscape of the U.S. is changing," Stewart said. "Traditional religious affiliations have dropped significantly.

"I'm a Christian who wants to provide materials," he said of his decision to spearhead the store's opening. "A bookstore is part of the ministry mission."

The store is home to 100 editions of Bibles, addressing all ages and reading levels - from children to teens to college age to adults - in formal to everyday translations.

Cards expressing congratulations for birthdays, weddings births and anniversary; friendship; pastor appreciation and more are available.

Documentary and instructional DVDs, as well as CDs with movies and music, line the shelves. Seasonal, miscellaneous gifts are also on display.

An open house will be held Friday evening, Dec. 14 with live music and coffee and hot chocolate to celebrate the season.

Store hours during the Christmas season are 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Cross & Crown Books & Gifts will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Call 855-235-5858 for more information on the "ministry mission."