In McBain, Mich., Vogel Center Christian Reformed Church plans to host its third annual harvest party this weekend. For the past two years, the church has welcomed neighbors to enjoy harvest-themed events suited to the community’s rural roots.
“We are a farming community, so instead of focusing on a Halloween event, we focus on thanking the Lord for the harvest each year,” said Danielle Hoekstra, chair of the church’s outreach team.
Hoekstra said the 2018 event, which spanned a couple of hours on Halloween night, welcomed 300-400 visitors to enjoy “hay rides, trunk-or-treat, inflatables, food, (and) a petting zoo.” In 2019 the event moved to a Saturday afternoon, and Hoekstra said their numbers went up. “(We) lost count after going through 650 hot dogs!”
Hoekstra intends to use different platforms to share the gospel each year. “This has become an event that encourages our members to engage in conversation with people in our community they never would have talked to in other settings—a starting point for personal evangelism,” Hoekstra said.
To make guests feel more comfortable attending during the COVID-19 pandemic, the outreach team planned a completely outdoor event, with attractions spaced out to help with social distancing.