CHURCHES need to view Hallowe’en, the Eve of All Saints, as an opportunity rather than a threat, and seize it as a chance to engage with the communities of which they are part, the Christian movement Scripture Union (SU) has said.
Last year, more than 20,000 children attended an alternative “light party” around Hallowe’en, organised by churches and schools with the help of free resources from the SU. About two thirds of these children were not regular churchgoers.
The national director for SU England and Wales, the Revd Tim Hastie-Smith, said: “Hallow’een is an opportunity rather than a threat — as churches, we can sometimes be so caught up in our own bubble we can slightly lose the rhythm of the community in which we live and are called to serve, and called to love too.
“We want the Church to be creative and engage rather than withdraw from this cultural phenomenon.”
The Ascension, Hall Green, in Birmingham, hosted a Light Party last year. Chris Walton, who is a Reader at the church, said: “We held our Light Party on a Sunday afternoon, and about 100 people attended — 85 to 90 of them were people who don’t normally come to church. The response was so positive that we then set up a brand-new monthly Messy Church service, and invited them all to come along and find out more. Eight months on, up to 40 adults and children who came to the Light Party regularly attend that new service, and are growing in their knowledge of God and Jesus and what Christianity is all about.”
The free Light Party pack can be ordered at www.lightparty.org.uk or by phoning 01908 856000.
More resources for Hallowe’en. The international charity World Vision launched a range of children’s resources for Hallowe’en, earlier this summer, based on a character, Patch the Pumpkin, and including crafts, recipes, stories, and a treasure hunt.
The Meaningful Chocolate Company has produced the Meaningful Treat Pack, at £1 a bag, which includes Fairtrade chocolate and an activity poster with eight challenges, including a quiz, maze, prayer, and a challenge to donate to charity and give a “treat” to someone who is less well off.