“The Church of Hogwarts”
If you weren’t able to join us Sunday evening, October 25, for the transformation of Pilgrim Church’s building into Hogwarts Castle for a Harry Potter-themed Halloween party, stop by our Facebook page. You’ll see colorful photographs of children engaged in the world of Harry Potter, and adults enjoying being in costume, ushering children into the wonder of games and play and nature (yes, we had an owlery, and a snake and tarantula spider, all thanks to the Lake Superior Zoo). Approximately 500 people stopped in for the party. It’s not quite “taking it to the streets,” but it’s as close as we can come while using a building to its fullest capacity, complete with fun and scary organ music, chocolate frogs, and a full Diagon Alley shopping mall.
What takes this labor of love to the next level is the generosity of all involved. Hundreds of hours of volunteer time. But also, businesses and individuals donated supplies and food. Kohls provided a grant for our community partner this year, Chester Bowl, and additional contributions from party-goers resulted in approximately $1000 for ski lesson scholarships. Any child should have the chance to learn to ski in Duluth, and now many more will.
Of course some churches are still Hogwarts-averse, condemning of this imaginary world and ceding too much power to “dark magic.” Sadly, they miss the central message of Harry Potter — the power of love — and instead succumb to suspicion with fearful hearts. Others might feel that a citywide party is not the appropriate use of “God’s house.” But God doesn’t need these walls except as they are used to serve. One family told me that it was the Hogwarts party one year that clinched their choice for church membership; a church that can throw its doors wide open, and play, and celebrate the gospel wherever it echoes, is a church grounded in a living Spirit, not stuck in the past, nor on itself.
Pilgrim Congregational Church is a church from the Congregational tradition, part of the United Church of Christ, listens for the Still-Speaking God, is Open and Affirming of LGTBQ persons in every regard, is a Just Peace Church committed to transformation in the world, and seeks to follow Jesus in compassion, welcome, and humble service. And it’s the Church of Hogwarts. Come anytime, if you want to see the power of love at work.