Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Event was a Treat for All

Happy November!
Hope you all had a great Halloween. Thought you might be curious about the TREATS4U event at New Day UMC - especially after last year's "blood" and "fire alarm" and "naked pastor" stories! If you remember those, you'll know how relieved I am to report that everything went smoothly this year!! It was a WONDERFUL event!

The whole process was very similar to last year's - 1000 candy bar invitations were handed out at the local grocery store (Coborn’s) on Sat. Oct. 24. The event was a combination of trick-or-treat (candy and small gifts) and games (with prizes). There was a photographer taking portraits and "Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin" movie playing, and we offered cider (hot and cold), coffee and popcorn. The differences this year included: 1) our New Day Community took about 250 invitations to friends, neighbors, classmates, etc. in addition to those handed out at Coborn’s; 2) the event was held at the church (last year we were at the school); 3) New Day's technology resources enhanced the event (Halloween music playing on the sound system, games played on the SmartBoard, movie projected onto the large wall); 4) there were at least double the number of volunteers who helped out with all aspects of the event.
I wish you all could have seen the church at 4:55pm Halloween night!! It truly had been transformed into a fun, non-scary Halloween maze! The decorations and set up were festive and inviting. There were about 26 volunteers dressed in various costumes scattered all over the church, inside and out, prepared to greet, hand out candy and gifts, lead games (bingo, ring the witches' hats, ping pong pumpkins, pin the mouth on the jack-o-lantern, etc.), serve popcorn, and just be present to share a little of God's love.

And it was at about this moment that I had a bit of a crisis of faith! It's one thing for Jim and I to work ourselves to the bone and pour our hearts into preparing for an event and no one comes. It's quite another, when we have enlisted the help of 35+ volunteers over a two week period, who have spent hours of time and energy also pouring their hearts into it! All I could do at that moment was try not to panic and to PRAY, dear Lord, PLEASE let the people come!!!
Rest assured, my fears were unfounded, and by 5:15, there were children and parents everywhere! In the end, we counted 160 children plus all the parents - our guess is about 225 people total. The best part is that everyone enjoyed it - those attending and those volunteering! Praise God!!!
November is a big month for getting out into the community. Please pray for these upcoming celebrations and New Day's presence out there... 1) Northstar Commuter Rail line opens for business - New Day is one of the 4 major sponsors of the Grand Opening Celebration, Nov. 14, and we will be serving coffee to the commuters from 5:00-7:30am the first 3 mornings, Nov. 16-18. 2) Jim will be preaching at the Community-Wide Ecumenical Thanksgiving Eve worship, held at the Catholic Church this year. 3) In place of regular worship Thanksgiving weekend, New Day is planning a special "We Need a Little Christmas Now" gathering to be held at a community location, Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29. Please pray for the logistics of this event - we thought we had a group from another church lined up to share a special musical, but that may have fallen through...

Church programming continues as well: another New Day Kids’ Night is planned for Nov. 10, New Day Women are gathering Nov. 6, and we're planning a Youth/Children Christmas program on Saturday, Dec. 19th, with rehearsals each Wed. in December. Please join us for any or all!

Wishing you all "new day" blessings,