ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. -- Saturday, October 31st marks the annual celebration of Halloween, a holiday often viewed with contempt by many evangelical Christians. But Ken Eastburn, a leader within the house-church movement, thinks instead of resisting Halloween celebrations, Christians should embrace them, "Christians have every reason to take part in a holiday that brings communities together."
"There are not many days throughout the year where there is such widespread community engagement," comments Eastburn, "As Christians, we should embrace such opportunities to build community with our neighbors and show them the love of Christ in practical ways. That's why we will be doing a sort of reverse trick-or-treating where we go to our neighbors' houses and give them gift baskets."
Halloween finds its origins in the Celtic festival known as Samhain. It's name is a derivative of "All Hallows Eve" commonly known as All Saint's Day - a day set aside to honor all the saints, both known and unknown. Originally celebrated on May 13th, it was later moved to November 1 by Pope Gregory III (731-741). The day is celebrated around the country with the carving of pumpkins, costume parties, and "trick-or-treating" where children go around to neighborhood houses asking for candy.
Eastburn is a leader with The Well, a network of home-based churches with a total of five locations. After selling their building in 2005, members began meeting in each other's homes with the goal of being more intentional in reaching out to their respective communities.
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The Well challenges Christians from every background to make use of events like Halloween by showing the love of Christ to their neighbors in practical ways. For ideas, Eastburn encourages individuals to visit their website at www.leavethebuilding.com and locate the document titled, "5 Ways to Show the Love of Christ This Halloween," under the Resources section.
The Well hosts 10-15 members on a weekly basis at each of its five locations, including some individuals who also continue to participate in traditional church settings. Eastburn and other members post their experiences on a blog maintained by the church, www.leavethebuildingblog.com, for the purpose of interacting with individuals from traditional and house church backgrounds.