Halloween on Mission: How Christians Can Celebrate Halloween (Without Being Creepy)

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guest post by Lynette Karulkar

Halloween is just around the corner.  I’ve never been much into scary stuff at all; my husband has to wait until I go to bed to watch scary movies.  I tend to avoid gross creepy things, even down to the Halloween aisle at the store. But, when I come across something I don’t like, I still get to choose my response, and over the years I’ve made the choice to get excited about Halloween. To me, Halloween is the perfect chance to be a Christian -- without being creepy, of course.

I grew up in a Christian subculture that believed we are not to participate in evil but prepare an alternative space where Christ can be welcomed. (Cue the harvest parties and Bible character costumes!) But after doing that for many years, I just don’t agree with the thought process of hiding from Halloween anymore.  I have listened to the lectures from Christians reminding me that in light of the upcoming holiday, "evil is present," Halloween is pagan, and our stance should be taken seriously. I agree that we should have a stance, but I choose to respond differently.

A number of years ago we were a younger family, our kids were in the baby and toddler stages, and we had moved into our first home. It was on a street with a lot of families who were older than us. They were also a lot grumpier than us. Life had taken its toll on them. We were the new family on the block and you could tell they were slightly annoyed. More loud kids moved into their neighborhood. Fall came and pumpkins appeared, we decided to take some action. We invited a dozen of the closest houses to a Halloween Party on our driveway. We had no idea if anyone would come, but we set up a little canopy, prepared hot cocoa, coffee and treats. We put our coats on and sat out there while our kids ran around in the yard, and we waited. Then one by one the neighbors started coming out of their houses and towards our driveway! They welcomed us to the neighborhood, they caught up with other neighbors they rarely spoke to, and they just hung out on our driveway. At the end of the night we were highly caffeinated and cold, but our street felt a little more like home.

If you’ve been around New City for even a short time, you’ve definitely heard the phrase Jesus is making all things new. That comes out of a passage in Revelation 21:5. Because I believe Jesus is making all things new in my own life, in my family and in my city, I can choose to respond differently on Halloween. I don’t need to get freaked out about how my friends and neighbors are celebrating, or the scary costumes and haunted houses. Instead I embrace that I am an imperfect person, being courageous and I am part of the restorative work of Jesus to make all things new.

Being on mission is not creepy. We’re not luring children to our driveway to give them candy and a gospel tract. We’re not tricking them to come so we can tell them about good and evil. We’re not hoping that they take off the mask, repent and join us at church on Sunday. No creepy Christian stuff this Halloween!  

Instead, take a few minutes to strategically plan your Halloween. Think about your neighbors and how you will approach them; is it possible that instead of embracing the evil of Halloween, you might be able to embrace the idea of loving your neighbor? The first step to loving someone is meeting them, inviting them to share your driveway and some treats. We were surprised at the warm response we had after that first halloween party, it began to feel like a community on our street, and grew from there. A small gesture can create big opportunity. Let’s dare to believe that in these spaces God could begin His renewal work in our neighborhoods.

At our home on October 31 our lights will be on, we might have a few spiders hanging from the garage, my kids will probably be dressed as superheroes and anxiously waiting for people to show up. We will brew coffee, have s’mores and pass out the good candy. What you will not find is pumpkin spice creamer, or any creepy Christian stuff.  We will remember that the light and love of Jesus lives in us and we will take this as an opportunity to get to know as many neighbors and strangers as we can. If we say we are on mission, but we want to hide on the one night when people come to us, we have missed the easiest chance to show the world who God is! Let’s be courageous this Halloween.

Shine | Holiday Food Drive

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Community Wide Food Drive

Impact our community in a big way by inviting your neighborhood, workplace, sports team, or family to participate in a community-wide Food Drive. This will benefit families at Mission Avenue Elementary and is an easy way to help others, here’s how it works:

  • We have provided food lists. These items are meant to assist a family with breakfast and lunch during the Thanksgiving and Winter Break when typically their children would be eating two meals per day at school. 

  • Grab a stack of bags provided, or print the list from our website. Identify five people you would like to invite to participate. These could be neighbors, people in your office, child’s sports team, scout troop, or family. 

  • Decide when and where you will collect the donations, and then fill in the blanks at the bottom of the list that is attached to the grocery bag.

  • You will ask them to participate, distribute lists to them and arrange for pick up of the donations! Remember, many people want to get involved but do not know how or where.  

  • If they would like to participate in the food drive, they will leave their non-perishable items in a grocery bag outside their front door or designated spot to be picked up on the day you determine. 

  • After collecting the grocery bags, please bring the donated food items to New City by Sunday, November 11.

A few reminders:

- Do not put anything on or in your neighbor’s mailbox. If your neighbor is out of town or a house is vacant, please do not leave the bag on their door. 

- Please note: You will pick up donations. If a grocery bag is not outside the front door, please do not disturb your neighbors. Not everyone is in the position to participate, and that is okay!

- Participating in this food drive can be a fun way to meet your neighbors and co-workers. This is a great opportunity to create community as you help families at Mission Avenue! 

Thanksgiving Meals 

We are also providing hot meals to families; if you prefer to give a monetary donation $40 will give a family of four a hot meal. You can give online or in the offering.

School Break Food Distribution 

Items collected will be boxed and distributed to families on Friday, November 16th and Friday, December 21st at Mission Avenue Elementary. Volunteers are needed to help make this happen!

Starting Point | November 4

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Are you new to New City? Starting Point is a casual, complimentary, catered lunch that will be held at New City on Sunday, November 4 following the 11am gathering. It is for those who have recently started attending, and allows you to get to know other new attenders and the ministry staff. You will be introduced to our church and will be provided with ways to get involved. Please let us know that you are coming HERE.

Party at the Barn | September 30

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Dust off your boots, and bring some friends and neighbors! New City is going to have a party at the Los Ranchos Community Barn on Sunday, September 30 at 5pm.

Schedule of events: 
5:00 BBQ Dinner is served
5:30 3 legged race 
5:45 Dance lesson, country dancing 
6-7 hayrides
6:30 tug of war
7:00 pie eating contest  
(Feel free to bring blankets or chairs to sit on)  
 

The Alfredo Garcia Community Barn is located at 6650 Rio Grande Blvd NW. south of the Los Ranchos Village Hall.

Rooted is coming this Fall!

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Rooted is a 10 week experience that redefines how we live life and view our relationship with God and others, giving context to what it means to be part of something bigger! As you make the commitment to be part of Rooted, you will begin to see God in new ways, allowing you to
experience life through community, authenticity and generosity.

Rooted is an interactive experience, which will be facilitated in the context of groups. In the
course of 10 weeks, you will get together weekly with a group to talk about what God has been
revealing to you as you go through the week’s readings, journal entries, and prayer. You will
also learn from one another as the Holy Spirit works to comfort, encourage and guide each
member of your group.

Your group will share three experiences together outside of your group time: prayer, serving and
sharing your story. During the last session, all groups will join together to celebrate how God is
working!


Sunday, September 9th • Rooted Kickoff • 5pm at New City
Between these gatherings, Rooted Groups will meet weekly

on the designated day and time.
Sunday, November 18th • Rooted Celebration • 5pm at New City


DETAILS:
The cost for Rooted is $15 per person, which includes the study guide and supplies. Scholarships are available. If you are able, please consider donating to provide a scholarship that will allow someone to participate.

Current Community Groups will be doing Rooted from September – November. If you are currently attending a CG, we ask that you please register for Rooted, so we can accurately place everyone in a group.

This is a 10 week commitment. When you register, you can communicate the options for schedule, location and childcare options that work best for you. We will place you in a group that meets your needs; there will be Rooted groups meeting on most days of the week.

Rooted is open to others, and we encourage you to invite a friend who would benefit from this!
Please have them register, there is a place to note if you’d like to be in a group with a specific
person.

There will also be a Rooted Group for High School Students! If you are a parent, there is a place to register your student to be placed in that group.

NEW LEADERS:
If you are interested in leading a Rooted Group, please follow this process for new leaders:
1) Have attended New City for at least 3 months
2) Fill out the Rooted Group Leader Application HERE
3) Interview with the elders
4) Obtain approval of the elders
5) Attend the Rooted Leader Training on August 5th or August 19th

If you have any questions, please contact Lynette at lynette@newcityabq.org.

Starting Point | August 26

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Are you new to New City? Starting Point is a casual, complimentary, catered lunch that will be held at New City on Sunday, August 26 following the 11am gathering. It is for those who have recently started attending, and allows you to get to know other new attenders and the ministry staff. You will be introduced to our church and will be provided with ways to get involved. Please let us know that you are coming HERE.

koach financial class | august 12 or 29

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Financial Workshop?! Ya, we know, it’s probably not at the top of your ‘to do’ list. We won’t tell you this class is different from anything else you’ve heard or read before... it’s probably not. But maybe, it is different! The only way to find out is to attend this 90 minute workshop, which will teach you how to:

  • Live differently (less stressed, more content)
  • Implement Biblical financial truths into your daily living
  • Overcome the spiritual strongholds money can have on our lives and relationships

On Sunday, August 12 the workshop will be held at 9:15am in the student ministry room, and on Wednesday, August 29, it will be in the evening from 6:30-8pm. The price for this workshop will be $10 for the workbook.

 

school supply drive

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New City is partnered with Mission Avenue Elementary. This partnership is carrying out the restorative work of the gospel in our city, and is an outward expression of who we are as a church. We are committed to providing support to our students, our teachers and our families this school year. 

Currently we are collecting school supplies for the teachers and families at Mission Ave. If you would like to help in collecting the necessary items: please pick up a list in the atrium and return supplies to New City by August 12th, or you may give directly to the Shine School Partnership at shineabq.org. 

prayer walk | july 7 or 21 | 9-10:30am

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Prayer changes things and prayer changes us. On these Saturdays we will be walking and praying for places that we believe God wants to make new! As we ask God to show us his heart for our neighborhood, we’ll also distribute door hangers to invite our neighbors to Kids’ Camp this summer. You’ll receive instructions and be with a group, please let us know that you will be joining us HERE

starting point | dessert night | june 24

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Are you new (or newish) to New City? Starting Point is a casual, complimentary dessert gathering at Nate and Vanessa’s house on Sunday, June 24 at 6:30pm. Dairy free, gluten free, and sugar free options will be available. It is for those who have recently started attending, and allows you to get to know other new attenders and the ministry staff. You will be introduced to our church and will be provided with ways to get involved. We are looking forward to meeting you! 

convoy of hope | june 23

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Convoy of Hope is a collaborative, community event to bring hope to families in our city through free groceries, health screenings, job services, family portraits, children’s shoes, veterans services, community resources, haircuts, prayer, activities for children and more - at no charge to guests. 
We will join hundreds of volunteers from churches and organizations to bring the love of Christ to those who will attend. (Children age 9 and up can serve alongside their parents.) Reserve your Volunteer spot here: 

Student Ministry | car-wash-a-thon

We want every student (grades 6-12) who wants to attend the MOVE and MIX Conferences to be able to! The Car-Wash-a-Thon will help send them. Students will be providing a FREE car wash for the community and are asking for pledges for each car washed (up to 100 cars). So, if a person pledges .25 cents per car, they will pay the student $25. We are asking for your help: make your pledge-per-car donation HERE.

The Car-Wash-a-Thon will be held at New City (in the back parking lot), on Saturday, June 2 from 9-1. Students are absolutely welcome to bring friends who do not attend New City! Email Rodger@newcityabq.org for more info.

new city fest | may 20 | 5pm

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Let’s party! You are invited to New City Fest on Sunday, May 20.

The Fest will be held at the Los Ranchos Community Barn (6650 Rio Grande Blvd NW). New City will provide hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks, please plan to bring some chips, fruit, or veggies. 
There will be live music, dancing, games, and tons of fun!
Invite your friends and family to join you and
feel free to bring chairs and blankets to sit on.