• Service times

    Services times are:

    Saturday night 7:30 pm for our Chinese/English service [except for the second Saturday of every month when the service starts at 6:30 pm and is followed by a shared meal]. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

    Sunday 10 am for our English language service (Pastor Jeff Whittaker).

    Sunday 11:30 am for our Chinese (Mandarin) language service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

  • Contact details…

    Physical and postal address:
    4 Inverary Avenue,
    Epsom,
    Auckland 1023,
    NEW ZEALAND.

    Email:
    epsombaptist@clear.net.nz

    Telephone:
    (0064 9) 6306010

    Contacts:
    Rev. Jeff Whittaker
    Pastor Daniel Choi

  • Church Officers…

    Church Treasurer: Ann Guan

    Church Secretary: Margaret Whittaker

    Church Deacons: Anne Bartley, Ian de Stigter, Kristy Choi, Helen Evans, Willa Hui, and Alfred Zhou.

Redeeming Halloween…

There is no doubt that Halloween has been commercialised, an opportunity having been seen to sell all sorts of spooky merchandise. And so we have children wandering the streets dressed as ghosts, ghouls, witches, even superheroes, trick-and-treating. (In New Zealand, it must be said, the children actually only go treating. If you ask for the trick instead, most kids are at a loss to comprehend what it is that you have asked of them.) Because of a perceived link with occultism in these activities, many churches have responded by arranging light parties. These celebrations of the light (as opposed to the perceived darkness of Halloween) are presented as healthy alternatives to the more sinister trick-and-treating. But I wonder if they don’t miss the point.

Halloween – All Hallows Eve and thus the evening before All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd), was a celebration located by the Catholic Church on this date to replace the Celtic festival of Samhain (Summer’s End) celebrated on the evening before Celtic New Year. A main focus of Samhain was to appease the spirits of the dead so that the next year would be untroubled by evil spirits or bad luck. Halloween, together with All Saints and All Souls Days, still addressed this concern over the dead, but by moving the focus from fear to thankfulness for the lives of those who have gone before us. Thus, All Saints Day gives us opportunity to thank God for Christian believers who have passed on to glory, while All Souls Day enables us to thank God for those others who chose not to identify themselves as Christians, and yet for whom we are grateful for the influence they had on us while alive.

I wonder if the concern of many of our churches to have nothing to do with Halloween is also linked with a rising sentimentality about death and heaven that is espoused by many Christians, even as the topics of death and dying are avoided as much as possible. Could it be that the silliness exhibited by trick-and -treating represents people trying to grapple with the dark side of life – death and the afterlife – because the churches don’t. (The same criticism could be made about the endless fascination with vampire novels and movies.) I think it is time for us to redeem the festivals of Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day. [Below is a brochure we created to give out from Epsom Baptist Church to the supervisors of trick-and-treaters, while we blessed the kids with cup-cakes.]

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