Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hot Dogs, Tootsie Pop Spiders, Pink Cadillacs, and Big Thanks

Saturday was our 5th year (I think) of running the Salem Halloween Children's Day. It began as a community fun day for the children in Salem, and has been running for 10 years now. The Haunted Happenings committee sponsored and ran the event with the help of Domino's Pizza, and we got involved because we had a big sound system, and a trailer full of tents, chairs, and general party stuff. After helping for a few years, we discovered that the day was going to be nixed. I called Dominic Benvenuti from Domino's, and asked if he wanted to work together to keep it going. Voila! Children's Day was in our hands suddenly.

This year we had about 3,500 people come to Children's Day. The coolest costume you've ever seen was created by a family in Peabody, who had their little kids driving around in a Pink Cadillac, and their oldest daughter was the hamburger stand girl on roller skates. The Big Bad Pig was not there this year, but I am told they are going to resurrect him next year, and that means I'll be piggin' again I think.

It has been a day requiring a lot of work for our little church, but everyone has been real champs over the years, and this year was no exception.

Thanks Bev, Anita, Jeff, Vic, Linda, Rennie, Joanne, Stef, Sam, Carly, Kevin, Diane, Carlos, Hank, and Gloria.

Thanks also to friends from other places: John Tsiakis from "Loaf in a Round in Danvers, who helped us raise some money with hot dogs and sausages (John, you're the man!); Jeff, Kellie, James, and Brooke from "Sinners and Saints who are always there for us when there's a pile of things to do; Dan the Man Stevens who always brings some youth from 2nd Congregational Church in Peabody, and Mark Carr who unloaded and reloaded most of the trailer.

More Pictures coming soon, and most of you (except maybe Vic who took the photos) should be in them.

Pastor Phil

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stuff We're Doing in Witch City!

Well, here we are - 6 days into the Halloween season in Salem. Last Thursday was the parade to mark the opening of the season, and tomorrow we set up the stage inside the fountain on Essex Street.

A ton of metal and wood will be delivered, and we will arrange it into a stage. This weekend, on Saturday the 14th, we will sponsor, and run the 10th Annual Halloween Children's Day. (Scroll down on the link page to find the info.)

Movies begin playing at The Vault 3 times a week from now until Halloween.

BYOT Autumn Art Sale happens in The Vault this weekend also. Eli and Ra are running the art sale.

These are just three of the things we will be doing. Check out our calendar page (which I have already sent you to twice on this post) for more info.

See at the stuff!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Meeting to Organize - Friday, 6:30pm at The Vault

That's right. Friday, October 6th at 6:30 we will meet to organize ourselves for Children's Day, The Fountain Stage, Dream Interpretation Tents, The Hot Cocoa Booth, Movie Nights, The Hot Dog Cart, and the Stage set up.

All interested parties who can make it, come on down, and help us out with the preparation.

Halloween Parade Tonight

Well, the official kickoff for Halloween is here tonight. The Halloween Parade starts the month long series of events in Salem. Usually we are in the parade, but this year we will not be marching. The giant puppet will not walk the parade route.

We will be passing out flyers for our 10th Annual Halloween Children's Day on October 14th on the Common, and will be providing Dream Interpretation from The Vault. It ought to be silly crowded around The Vault, because we are right on the parade route.

My buddy Steve and his gang from California will be joining us for a few days. We always enjoy having Steve around, and he just might be part of tonight's ferstivities as well.

So, come and hang out with us if you like. Flyer Passer Outers (Yep, I just made up that title - betchya couldn't tell) will be meeting at 5:30 at The Vault --> 217 Essex Street.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"Sit Here Under My [Chair]"

Okay I know James used the word "footstool" when referring to the poor manner in which rich people were treating others of lower class who visited the churches, but I don't have a footstool at church. In fact we don't have pews. We have padded chairs which we found on ebay, and purchased used for $11 each. Then we drove to New York with a U-Haul trailer to pick them up at a country club.

Now we have 120 chairs, and we have a church of much smaller size. We even have 60 extra which are being stored in our vault. So, if someone asks to borrow our chairs, we figure that we have extras, and we can loan them out.

Well, what would you do if a Witch asked to borrow 15 of your chairs for some workshops He would sponsor over the Halloween season in Salem?

"Heavens no! Thou shalt not sully my holy chairs by thine unclean hiney!"

"Well, I think that we will be needing them, and can not spare a chair at this time."

"I will have to consult the church council, and my denominational leadership before I can offer help of this magnitude."

"I will allow you to use our chairs, but please know that as a Bible believing Christian I stand firmly against your beliefs, and I am giving them to you, because it shows how Jesus gave His life for us even when we were sinners."

"Sure, we've got more than enough. Do you need help hauling them over there?

For far more reasons than I can list here, I chose the last response, and we gave our own chairs - not the extras in the vault. I know many Christians would have chosen any answer but the last one. At The Gathering we tend to think that honesty, grace, and helping out friends no matter who they are is a good thing. Perhaps some people would feel that we are helping to further a bad cause - like giving an alcoholic cash to get his next bottle. All I know is that a friend who happens to be a Witch asked for some help, and I did not have to break the Ten Commandments to do it.

So, there you have it. Life in Salem gets more interesting all the time. I know that Christians will hear about the chairs, and freak out. I also know that there will be Witches who hear about the chairs, and will wonder what kind of manipulation we are masking by our kindness.

Darn, I'm not even sure how generous it was. After all, we had 180 chairs, which is about double what we need right now. Well everybody has happy butts now, and that can only make Salem a better place to live, and maybe there will a person or two who realize that Christians don't have to be spooky, and afraid during Halloween, or around people who call themselves Witches.