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November 26, 2014

Halloween a 'fantastic evangelistic opportunity'

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Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 12:28 pm

To some, Halloween is about ghosts, goblins and ghouls, but to many, it’s a time for fellowship. With fall festivals, Trunk or Treats and Revelation Walks hosted by churches across the area this time of year, a Christian meaning is easily divulged from a secular celebration.

ChristPoint Community Church in Sylacauga is one of many churches that make use of the fall season to reach out to the community. Its “Prayer Pumpkin Festival” on Oct. 12 brought more than 600 people from 187 families to the Anniston Avenue 112 Mission Center, where four people prayed to receive Christ.

“Our idea with the Prayer Pumpkin Festival is to give us an opportunity to meet with people in need and actually trade a prayer for a pumpkin with each family,” Pastor Bryan Taunton said. “They come and we pray with that family and discuss their needs and events. With an open door, we ask them about their relationship with Christ, pray with them and explain exactly what that means. After that, they literally go in and pick out a pumpkin.”

Families enjoy free food, toys, games and candy along with their pumpkin, and most of all, they delight in the fellowship afforded by the season, which Taunton says is the essence of the season and the Halloween holiday.

“I know some people are skeptical about church participation in Halloween, but I would say that I overall see it as a fantastic evangelistic opportunity, and an opportunity to just love on people and the community,” he said. “If we’re doing it in that sense, it’s not about ghosts and goblins, it’s just about family time, and we need that, you know?”

The spirit of the holiday has changed for most, he said, and only for a small minority is it used as a corrupt, demonic day.

“We just keep hoping that through this holiday and this time of year, if we touched one of the families, that’s one we snatched away from that,” he said. “The essence of the day is kids saying ‘trick or treat’ and getting candy and enjoying others. If it ever had any other meaning, for the most part, that’s been lost.”

As the official lead in to the holiday season, Halloween will quickly give way to Thanksgiving – another special time of year that centers on food and fellowship. ChristPoint, along with SAFE Family Services Center, Reaching the World Bible Church and many other volunteers, is already preparing for the 11th annual Thanksgiving dinner in Sylacauga, which fed 2,800 last year. The church is set to provide green beans, macaroni and cheese, desserts and 40 turkeys for the day.

ChristPoint also offers a free meal to those in need every Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at its mission center, and holds Sunday services at 9:45 a.m. and Wednesday service at 6:30 p.m.

Contact Emily McLain at eadams@dailyhome.com.

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