Friday, November 07, 2014

Halloween 2014, another wild ride with God

It's been another wild Halloween in Salem, MA

It’s Friday, November 7th. On  Tuesday morning, Dennis Huxley and I cleaned up the last of the October outreach items, when we took this year’s new performance staging panels, and stored them with the Salem Department of Public Works.

Once again, people from outside Salem joined us in outreach, and offered prayers of healing, and words of counseling to locals and visitors. A team from the Bridge Church from Ipswich led by John Harding, and a faithful group from Syracuse, New York led by Barry Kierstein. Kelly Williams joined us from North Carolina, and was here for the 3rd straight year. This time she brought Robin Johnson with her. Linda Quadros brought fellow students/former student from Global Awakening School with her on two separate occasions, and on Halloween Day a YWAM team of about 50 people, comprised of students from Somerville, MA, and Maine joined us in outreach, and some of our favorite Streams Ministries peeps Brandon Crummer and Matt Keating showed up to help lead those teams.

This was the first year working directly with the YWAM group, and I led a morning workshop with the students describing the nature of ministry in Salem, MA, which always includes teachings describing the nature of Neo-Paganism so that young Christian students don;t get freaked out when they meet Witches, Pagans, Druids and the like. This year marked the 16th Halloween we have openly taught visiting people that “Witches are Real People Too” and deserve to be treated with respect. This is our assumption about everybody. We don’t care who you are, where you come from, what you believe and how different it may be from our own worldview, or what your choice of lifestyle is, we believe that Jesus loves you just as much as he loves everybody else. Yeah, we are pretty heavily Jesus-centric, but we try to be as loving as possible about it.

This year was highlighted a ban the City of Salem placed on amplified music. This ban would have stopped all the live music we had planned for October, but along with about 30 musicians, we showed up at City Hall, and were able with the help of an amendment placed on the Mayor’s order by Councilman David Eppley, and the work of Police Chief Paul Tucker to have most of the hours of amplified music restored. This was the beginning of a new relationship with the musicians in town, who have been busking (performing on the streets for tips) without the help of amplification. This, of course, has made it impossible for some musicians to busk. This year, we are planning on fighting with them for their right to use amplification tastefully on the streets of Salem. That's the back of David Eppley's head in the photo, and yes, that is a unicorn at city hall advocating for the artists and musicians. I have no idea who's under that mask - really - no idea. (Special thanks to councilman Josh Turiel for the mask)

This year, Dennis Huxley, who has been visiting for the last 8 years moved to Salem, and without him, most of what we did this year would never have happened. April Alario, and Hilary Davis joined Dennis on the weekends, and Halloween Day for outreach, and the number of people who were directly blessed with spiritual counsel, between all the people involved is impossible to number.

As usual, street preachers from out of town were yelling through bull horns and upsetting the city, and that was in fact what the order from the mayor to ban amplification was about.

So inspire of a ban, music happened once again, and Aaron Katz, Mamadou Diop and Adam Zampino were such a great part of making it come to life this year. Without them them Pastor Phil would have been a sound man for the entirety of the month. This year others jumped in a helped pull the music together. That is something that has been needed for a number of years.

The Plummer Home for Boys, and Align Credit Union, the Bridge Church from Ipswich were some of our sponsors for the Fountain Stage, and this helped offset our typically high cost for serving Salem with live music during the month of October. Thanks all.

Keep us in your prayers. We are still a nomadic little church, moving from place to place, since we left our location at the Vault last year, and it has been a bit tough on us. We are hoping to reset ourselves in downtown Salem again by the beginning of the year.

Photo credits: Adam Lentine, and Dan Kupka

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