an open invitation from the sinners and saints christian community
For the past two years Sinners and Saints has had the privilege of serving with The Gathering community as they fulfill their mission of being a blessing to the people of Salem throughout the Halloween season. The first year we simply served hot chocolate, since we were a little too shy and timid to participate in their innovative P(s)alm Readings and Dream Interpretation booths. However, the second year James Wilcox got us into gear by suggesting that we replicate the Confession Booth experience that was popularized in Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz.
For those of you who haven’t read Blue you should, but I’ll throw you a bone by providing a simple description of the Confession Booth idea. Basically, we dress in full monk regalia (as Pastor Phil of The Gathering always says, "in Salem the weirder the better!") and walk the streets of Salem inviting people to come and experience confession. People who are intrigued by this idea or fuming angry that you’re offering a Christian sacrament in the middle of a Halloween festival follow us into the candle lit, incense filled tent and we pull back our monk hoods and begin to confess the sins of the church throughout history, the sins of the church in Salem and our own sins insofar as we have failed to fulfill the Great Commandment.
This experience might sound a little cheesy to some and far fetched to others, but I can tell you from first hand experience that it provides a powerful opportunity for us to clear a lot of the rubble away that has alienated both ourselves and others from the beauty, truth and goodness of the Christian faith and so provides wonderful ground for reconciliation to take place. In addition, James Wilcox has expressed the experience in a more compelling and lyrical way than I ever could, so I would encourage you to read his reflections by clicking here.
We would love for each one of you to share in this opportunity to be a blessing to the city of Salem and the 100,000+ visitors who will walk through her streets this Halloween and receive the blessing of incarnating Christ’s compassion and reconciliation in this broken world. We need people who are willing to man the confession booth with us, but if you don’t feel quite ready for that, we could also use your help to serve hot chocolate, help prepare evening meals for the dozens of volunteers who are working each night and simply serve in whatever way is needed throughout these sacred nights.
We will be running the Confession Booth on Friday the 20th of October – Sunday the 22nd and on Friday the 27th of October – Tuesday the 31st. On Friday nights as well as Halloween Eve and Halloween we will have a shift that runs from 5-7 p.m. and a shift that runs from 7-10 p.m. and on the weekend shifts we will run two hour shifts beginning at Noon.
If you have any questions about this unique opportunity or if you would simply like to chat, feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com. I work from 8 – 5 pm everyday, but I can talk almost any evening. We are thankful that you are committed to seeking the Kingdom of God with us and hope that you take advantage of this opportunity to serve.
In Christian Love,
Jeff Gentry and the Sinners and Saints Community