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Hallowed Halloween

Hallowed Halloween

“We‘ve been looking for a new way to get involved with our community,” said Dr. Roscoe Shields, pastor of the Sharon Seventh-day Adventist church near downtown Portland, Oregon. “So, we started looking at Halloween.”

The church had several goals.
1. To share the gospel with the community.
2. To be seen as a place where community members could come for support and help.
3. To involve as many members as possible in reaching out to neighbors.

“Maybe we could hold a drive-through Trick or Treat event on Halloween night, something that would engage our neighbors, give us a chance to greet them, share the Gospel, give them “treats,” and yet be “Covid-safe.”

Transforming Halloween into a ministry moment was a unique concept, requiring intense creativity and energy from the Sharon members.

“What we decided to do was invite our neighbors to the church parking lot and then guide them through the Story of Salvation – nine stops from Creation to the Second Coming of Jesus. It’ll be a fun family event and an interactive Bible Study that will help people understand the true state of the dead!”

Church members lined up to volunteer for the event, each one receiving work assignments and a t-shirt with Sharon’s new volunteer logo: SHARON HERO.

The assignments?
Prepare your heart to be a witness.
Decide what should happen at each of the nine stops on the “Hallowed be Thy Name” tour.
Create a script for each stop.
Design a backdrop and a QR code for each stop.
Locate and upload a special video for each stop, so people can watch it later.
Choose and package a gift for each stop.
Make sure everything will stand firm if the wind blows and the rains fall.

“We wanted to engage people in a meaningful way, yet be safe for all of us during Covid, so the drive-through seemed like a good idea. Then, using what we’ve learned about social media, we set up the event on our Facebook page, linked that page to our EventBrite page. This helped us know how to plan and helped our neighbors know what to expect,” said Hero Drechelle McCray.

On Halloween afternoon 147 people had pre-registered to drive their family car through the church parking lot! Russ Fay, Drechelle and Kevin McCray, and a couple dozen other Sharon Heroes, set up the nine displays, trying to assure the wind wouldn’t blow everything down.

“Have you seen Elisha’s Bones?” Drechelle called. “They’re right over here next to the Witch of Endor,” Russ answered.

And so it went until the first car arrived at Stop #1: CREATION. From then on it was greetings, laughter, explanations about God, why He created us, how He shows His love, and how He’s coming back very soon!

By the way, the Sharon church was able to borrow many of the backdrops and other materials from the Oregon Conference Children’s Ministries Lending Library!

At each stop the guests were given a card with a QR code that linked them to a series of short videos stories designed to help children understand the Bible truth that was illustrated at that stop. Here’s a link to the video about “Walking on Water.” There was also a special “learn more” gift at each stop. Like, at the second stop where God breathed life into His new children, each guest was given a small packet of “kinetic sand” they could use to create something special.

At the last stop guests were given one more QR code, this one linking them to a website where they could review their Halloween experience and learn about other events that are coming at the Sharon church.

“And, before you ask,” Pastor Shields said, “YES, we gave out candy! And a bunch of other handouts. Like, at the crucifixion stop, we gave out something to remind them of God’s greatest gift - Life Savers!!!”

Click on any of the photos below to see a larger version.
(Photos taken by Dick Duerksen and Tim Taylor.)

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