by Jay Wintermeyer
SPOKANE, Wash., November 3, 2015 - The Spokane South Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church lit a bonfire, opened their doors and invited their community inside this past Halloween.
“Halloween is a holiday with no redeeming qualities and stands for so much evil,” said South Hill associate pastor, Jerremy Foss. “At the same time, it’s the one night a year when people are out looking for hospitality and are willing to come to your door. Instead of turning off our lights and hiding, I wanted to do something different.”
People’s openness on Halloween got Jerremy thinking. For a couple of years he thought about what could our churches could do to capitalize on this receptive spirit. Jerremy shared his passion about this opportunity with his pastoral team and church members. They began to get excited about finding a way to be a light for God on a night of darkness. Together, they came up with a plan that would show hospitality and warmth without celebrating the spiritual darkness of the holiday.
In early October the church hung a banner by the street inviting people to a Glow Party Halloween night. The afternoon of the party, Pathfinders from the church went door to door in the community collecting food donations for the local food bank. At each door, they gave a personal invitation to each family to attend the Glow Party later that evening.
When the appointed time arrived, a welcoming bonfire greeted people outside the church. Inside, visitors discovered all kinds of light-filled activities that pointed to God.
The Glow Walk featured prominently in the evening’s activities. Visitors walked around the church and visited with 12 members dressed as Bible characters. Each member shared a short Bible story about their character and shared a sweet treat with visitors that connected with their story.
The member playing Joseph handed candy corn to the kids after sharing how God gave him dreams to help save Egypt from famine. Rahab told about God’s deliverance and then shared red licorice to illustrate the red cords she hung in the window.
“This was real opportunity to be a light in our community,” said Jerremy. “We had over 100 people attend and everyone really enjoyed the night." One family came looking for a haunted house, but stayed for the Bible stories and asked about what Adventists believe.
That first-hand sharing can best be illustrated by Aimee Boyer, the South Hill member who portrayed Ninevite and told Jonah’s story. (She handed out Life-Saver TM candy in case you’re wondering.)
Aimee said, “As I was telling Jonah’s story, I could tell this was the first time some of these kids had ever heard this. I asked why they thought God sent the big fish. One kid raised his hand and said, ‘Because God wanted to punish Jonah.’ It was awesome because then I could share the real reason; God wanted to save Jonah and the Ninevites!”