“Light the Night is an event that we do as a church to share the love of Jesus with our community.” Pastor Becky Goodman.
A highlight of the time I spent in Leavenworth was volunteering at Light The Night at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene, where approximately 265 people gather together to worship at Sunday services. Light The Night was spearheaded by Pastor Becky Goodman, pastor for children and families, and attracted some 1400 plus attendees. This annual event is eagerly anticipated by residents of Chelan County and I feel truly blessed that I was able to share with the community and participate this year.
I also enjoyed working with Becky in the planning stages. She was incredibly organized and we easily marked the number of chairs, tables and canopies on maps so that the volunteers could grab a map and know where the items were needed. Games and food areas were also mapped out. We laminated tags for the buckets of candy to be distributed at the games.
Some 70 volunteers were involved in setting up this event, including about 20 children and teachers from the school. The church parking lot was transformed into a mega carnival on two extremely rainy days. Inside the church activity was bustling. Volunteers sorted through thousands of candies and filled dozens of bags of popcorn. Backdrops and supplies for the games were hauled out of the basement, as were heavy canopies. Artwork and laminating attracted some of the more creative volunteers. On the night of the event approximately 90 volunteers ran the games, attended the gates, provided security and cleaned up afterwards. Generous donations from church members as well as the community at large included canopies, donuts, hot dogs, apple cider, firewood and decorations. A man brought in a miniature horse for the petting zoo and brought his own fencing and brushes. The children were delighted that they could brush the horse. Someone also brought in a bunny for the petting zoo.
A popular and important activity was Praise Party, where the music played had been used at Vacation Bible School events. Sixteen games were set up in two rows under canopies. There was a bouncy house with a slide, an Angry bird game and an obstacle course. There was also a campfire area where people could toast marshmallows and make s’mores. The food areas attracted crowds of people as well. The children were all excited to see the fire truck with the lights flashing, especially when they got to sit in the driver’s seat. Attendees were also encouraged to submit their own pictures in a photo contest.
Other than two children who temporarily lost sight of their families, there were no major security issues. I was at one of the gates and thoroughly enjoyed welcoming people, many of whom were dressed in elaborate costumes. As they exited, adults and children alike expressed their gratitude to the church and the volunteers for their efforts in reaching out to the community. Memories of this amazing event will be stored in my heart forever.
The above photos and several more can be viewed on the Facebook page of Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene.
There is always something wonderful about a community getting together to enjoy an event and each others company. I think we lose sight of the fact that this is often what Christmas does.