31st October 2023

Sally Welch writes



Comments on Halloween

It is Halloween, and shop windows are full of cobwebs and cauldrons, pumpkins and black hats.

This evening, young children in carefully escorted groups will knock on the doors of previously alerted households in order to receive spooky sweets and more chocolate than is good for anyone.

Later on, groups of young people might well be more adventurous, carrying out acts of mischief under cover of darkness, running off whooping and shouting with delight at their misdoings.

It seems like innocent fun, but many churches now offer an alternative to Halloween activities in the shape of 'light parties' and other events, hoping to draw children and young people away from the attractions of the dark and towards the light and love of Christ.

The aim is also to divert attention away from yet another commercial opportunity for companies to draw people into consumerism.

We may have different approaches to the 'safety' or otherwise of tangling, however lightly, with the forces of darkness.

But however we feel about the Eve of All Saints, we can use the occasion to look forward to the time when we will live forever in the light, when God dwells with us and we with him, when the 'secrets of the heart' (Psalm 44:21) will be revealed.

We may feel completely optimistic about this time, but many of us will feel differently.

So while we enjoy the chocolate cakes with oozy red filling, the plastic fingernails and pointy teeth, we remember that they carry a warning with them too: the time will come when deeds of darkness will be revealed in the light, and we would do well to prepare for that time.

'Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,

"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life"'

(John 8:12, NRSV).

The Revd Dr Sally Welch
The Bishop of Oxford and the Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral are delighted to announce the appointment of the Reverend Dr Sally Welch as Diocesan Canon.
Sally is currently vicar of Charlbury in the Diocese of Oxford and was area dean of Chipping Norton from 2015 to 2021.
Sally Welch has been a parish priest within the Diocese of Oxford for over 20 years, in a variety of different contexts, as well as Diocesan Spirituality Adviser.
She is the author of a number of books and was the editor of New Daylight Bible reading notes for seven years.
Her particular interest is the spirituality and practice of pilgrimage, and she has worked with the diocese and the Cathedral on a number of different pilgrimage projects, particularly the annual St Frideswide Pilgrimage.
She and her husband Jeremy have four children and five grandchildren (so far).


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