The world has been a scary place. Embrace the times with attention to Halloween this year especially since it falls on a Sunday! We have small-group studies, youth curriculum, and children’s books to guide your church through the end of October with Halloween, Reformation Day, and All Saints’ Day. You can also use these online resources from the general United Methodist Church.
Start with why. Ask the UMC explains our traditions and beliefs around Halloween and All Saints’ Day. You can also view and share a short video about these holidays from The Great Plains Conference or Liturgy Man.
Plan your worship service. Discipleship Ministries also offers detailed worship planning for Sunday, October 31, 2021. It includes notes on planning worship, preaching, liturgy, hymns, prayers, small groups, a children’s message, youth lesson, and more. Resource UMC offers resources for planning services for the next day, All Saints’ Day.
Remember Reformation Day. Read this informative article by United Methodist Pastor Dan Bell about the history of the Wesleys and the Reformation and how we should celebrate Reformation Day today.
Media Center Resources You Can Borrow
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Special Church Edition, the Abridged Classic by Washington Irving with Christian Insights & Discussion Sections by Stephen Skelton. Ride with Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman and find out just how fully their midnight race through Sleepy Hollow was guided by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Plus, four discussion sections cover the questions Christians usually ask about Halloween. Did Halloween start as a pagan celebration? Is Halloween celebrated as a Satanic holiday today? Why is the focus of Halloween so dark? And, What should a Christian do on Halloween?
The Media Center holds copyright permission for this booklet so that you can make copies for everyone in your group. We also have a PDF version you can receive through email.
Christian Reflection 48: Death from The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University. Attending to the process of dying and death from a Christian perspective, the contributors explore how to provide better care for the dying, remember the dead rightly, and prepare for our own deaths-for these, they explain, respond to dimensions of the same problem: our cultural avoidance of death. Halloween and All Saints’ Day call our attention to this necessary part of life.
This series offers study guides and lesson plans for each article in the journal. This one also includes liturgy and a hymn for All Saints’ Day. The contents of this journal can be viewed online, or you can borrow the printed magazine from the Media Center.
A New Reformation: From Luther’s World to Ours by Rob Fuquay. Justified by faith. We are accustomed to this theology today, but when Martin Luther shared his belief in this concept during the sixteenth century, it was anything but typical—it sparked the Reformation. United Methodist Pastor Rob Fuquay says that although “justified by faith” is not a new idea, the message is as revolutionary today as ever. He helps you take a close look into the life of Martin Luther and teaches you how to embrace reformation in your church and in your life today.
The Reformation for Armchair Theologians by Glenn S. Sunshine with illustrations by Ron Hill. This readable, accessible narrative story of the Protestant Reformation is written for lay audiences. Written by experts but designed for the nonexpert, the Armchair series provides accurate, concise, and witty overviews of some of the most profound moments and theologians in Christian history. We also have the Wesley for Armchair Theologians book from this series.
Questions for discussion and suggestions for further reading provided for each chapter make this book great for group study.
Scary, Gross & Weird Stories from the Bible: Bloody Tent Pegs, Disembodied Fingers, and Suicidal Pigs by Kate Holburn. These Bible lessons truly are sick…and totally interesting. Surprise your teenagers with the “disgusting” truth. Each of the 13 easy-to-use lessons focuses on a relevant topic related to a scary, gross or weird Bible story and includes a challenging “Fear Factor”-like activity (like eating daring treats), a fun game, and thought-provoking discussion questions that help teens uncover life application.
Dark and Disturbing Stories from the Bible: Challenging Students to See Life from God’s POV by Mary Grace Becker & Susan Martins Miller. This curriculum draws middle schoolers into Bible events that will have them asking, “Is that really in the Bible?” The 13 sessions will arrest their attention and get them to dig into issues that have been around since Bible times–the same kinds of issues your students are facing: the lure of popularity, arrogance, murder and violence, suicide, pain and suffering, and more. Empower students to make God-honoring choices when they face PG-13 challenges. The lessons include a DVD, group activities, Bible study, handouts, and more.
The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers by Jonathan McKee. This is the story of three teenagers enduring and surviving against the odds, adapting where many adults failed. Not many teenagers survived “The Havoc,” probably because most didn’t acclimate and learn like these three. So what’s the secret to their survival? The answer lies in these pages, a journal written by a teenager named Chris. Each section includes some discussion questions to help you digest what you just read. These questions will point to the Bible here and there for some wisdom that has stood the test of time: wisdom for surviving your real world.
The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs and Illustrated by Nancy Munger. This charming story for children illustrates how a loving farmer can turn a simple pumpkin into a simply glorious sight. In the same way, God’s transforming love can fill each of our hearts with joy and light. Liz Curtis Higgs created this parable as a way to share the Good News with her own precious children each harvest season . . . and now with children everywhere.
Eek! Said Amy by L. J. Zimmerman and Illustrated by Charles Long. Eerie shadows, a bump in the night, a dark place… life can be just plain scary. Meet Devon. Devon is a little boy that introduces readers to his friend Amy the AMYgdala! Amy helps Devon feel emotions, including fear. Through his friendship with Amy, Devon learns that fear helps him stay safe, but sometimes he needs to face his fears. The book shows children how fear is not always a bad thing; fear can keep us safe and when we face our fears, it can make us stronger. Bright, colorful, and amusing illustrations will engage children ages 3–7 and make this scary topic more approachable.
Wacky Bible Gross Outs from Zonderkidz. Imagine trying to sleep with gnats crawling in your nose, being covered with bull’s blood, or eating nothing but locusts and honey—every single day! This book will open your eyes to all the disgusting stuff in the Bible that you never knew was in there. Completely, 100% historically accurate.
Hermie & Friends: Webster the Scaredy Spider by Max Lucado. God is with you, even when you are afraid. Tim Conway and Don Knotts team up to share their voices to this tale from the garden where the scary spider turns out to be afraid of everyone else. This DVD includes the cartoon plus extra materials.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference. We will mail them to your home! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.