For many years here at Fathers House we have run a Starlight Party as an alternative to Halloween for the children within the church family and the local community. Our aim has always been to create a safe environment for the children to have fun and one which is focussed on Jesus rather than the dark themes that they are usually encouraged to be involved with at this time of year. We have found that many parents outside of the church welcome this alternative. On average there has been between 50 – 70 children attending each year and we always have a different theme for all to get involved with, for example, Cowboys and Indians, The Ugly Bug Ball and Space.
This years Starlight Party was attended by 50 enthusiastic Cowboys and Indians together with 17 willing volunteers, who took on various roles, to make the party a huge success. They were firstly welcomed by Judith and each one encouraged to make a name badge.
In the main hall the children were then split into two different age groups (key stage 1 and key stage 2) and played fun games such as Wotsit Darts, Hobby Horseracing and Musical Statues! The games were facilitated by some of our older Impact youth who took on the role of team leaders (sometimes getting very messy!) looking after their small teams and encouraging them on. They really looked after the younger children – well done Impact!. Matt Venn, Helen Croud, Helen Baddeley and Philippa were on hand in the hall to make sure that there was no cheating and not too much mess being made!!
Whilst all the fun and games were going on in the hall there was a much calmer environment in the pre school where each child was provided with a packed lunch style dinner – prepared by Dawn and her team of helpers. As the Key stage 1 children (ages 4-6) ate their dinner the Key stage 2 children (ages 7-11) played games and then they swapped over. Very organised!
At the same time that all of this was going on a group of people gathered in the sanctuary to pray and intercede for, not only the children and families attending, but also the wider community on that night. They had an amazing time and really felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as they put together a crafted prayer. Many thanks to Caroline and Mandy for organizing the team and putting this wonderful prayer together.
Thank you Lord for your word that the Light will overcome darkness (John 1) and you will overshadow people with your glory and their hearts will throb with joy (Isaiah 60). Thank you that the people walking in darkness will see a great light (Isaiah 9);
Lord we ask for that ‘turning of the tide’, that your light will be visible in this town and people will be drawn to you.
We call those who are dead into life, we pray strength to the overcomers within families and call them forth.
We ask for your compassion on the broken families, especially on the new estate. Thank you for the cleansing blood of Jesus flowing into peoples hearts and homes.
Your word says that you will be a father to fatherless – thank you that this is your heart for these children and families. You give strength to the weary; restore hope to the hopeless; freedom for the captives and release from darkness and we know that your word does not return to you void.
Lord thank you for the seeds being sown tonight and for the opportunities that we will have to bless and speak life; to bring your light into peoples lives. Guide as we seek to be intentional. Nothing is too difficult for you.
As a blessing to parents (and some grandparents) we also had the coffee bar open, serving complimentary teas, coffees and home-made cakes, and this gave them an opportunity to sit and chat whilst their children had fun. Mike and Helen kindly served (and tried not to eat too much cake!)
For the last half an hour of the evening all of the children gathered for a time of worship and then to listen to Tony Rhodes talk about Jesus being the light of the world and that light being in each one of them. This was then followed by prayer and the release of 100 balloons from the ceiling. Each child also went home with a party bag prepared by philippa.
After all the fun (shaving foam, wotsits and straw everywhere!) we had an amazing team of cleaner uppers who came in to return the building back to normal. Jean Knight, Barry and Vivienne Edwards came in especially at the end and did a great job. Thank you!
I really would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who got involved in supporting the starlight party this year. For all the many and varied roles that you may have undertaken you were much appreciated.