Children – with parents in tow – converged on St Augustine’s Church Hall in Londonderry on Wednesday morning for a ‘Light Party’.
It was organised by the Diocesan Children’s Officer, Kirsty Lynch, as a Christian alternative to the Halloween celebrations which have been taking place in Londonderry this week. The event regularly draws tens of thousands of visitors and the city claims to have the biggest Halloween party in Ireland.
Just over a year ago, at the Diocesan Synod, the Rector of Taughboyne, Rev Canon David Crooks, complained that Halloween was “becoming quite a cult” and sending the wrong message to children. He challenged church leaders to speak out about it. Rev Canon Malcolm Ferry told delegates that the local Council was now promoting the carnival. “This is a problem and maybe the Diocese would need to think that if this is Council’s strategy, we need to have a strategy.”
Ms Lynch told this year’s Diocesan Synod, recently, that the light party at St Augustine’s was a response to such calls. It was a free event, with games, puppets, arts and crafts, and party food. Kirsty led the children and adults in prayers and hymn-singing, celebrating Jesus as “the Light of the World”.