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Pastors taking different approaches to participating in Halloween celebrations

Churches around the nation are taking different approaches on whether and how to celebrate Halloween.

Most church leaders in a recent survey said they do not celebrate Halloween because it originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The celebration traditionally was held halfway between the autumn equinox and winter solstice and is seen as a period when the veil separating the world and the spirit realms is at its thinnest.

But some are more open to allowing their children to participate in what they believe has become a watered-down, commercialized version of the holiday.  In their perspective, the last day in October has adopted a new meaning over time by becoming more about costumes, trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins than a celebration to ward off evil spirits.

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As polling shows that 78 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, a recent survey from Lifeway Research of over 1,000 Protestant pastors finds that only 13 percent say they urge their congregations to avoid celebrating Halloween altogether, up from 8 percent in a 2016 survey.

halloween approaches

Seventy-one percent of pastors say they encourage their church members to invite friends or neighbors to church events on or near Halloween, such as a fall festival, trunk-or-treat or judgment house. About a third of pastors encourage their members to give out “tracts to trick-or-treaters.”

Charles Washington, pastor of Regeneration Temple in Raleigh, N.C., said he doesn’t celebrate Halloween with his two children.

“My family believes it’s wrong after we conducted research to better understand the origins,” said Washington, whose church belongs to the Church of God in Christ denomination. “And as Christians, we are called to be the light of the world. And as we know, this is a day that is for the celebration of evil spirits.”

However, John Reichart, a pastor at The Experience Vineyard Church in Rockville Centre, N.Y., believes Halloween can be separated from its origins because it’s a day that has adapted over time to become “mostly innocent.”

“We tried to protect our kids and educate them about this topic and the origins a bit,” he said “I don’t minimize the reality of there being a rich spiritual world with the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence of demons and Satan. But, I don’t believe that going to a Halloween festivity is demonic and that if someone does, they will be unduly influenced by demonic spirits.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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