Giving away Frisbees embossed with "He has the whole world in his hands" and pumpkins decorated with crosses are a few ways Providence Presbyterian Church is getting into the spirit of fall.
The Hilton Head Island church and Beaufort's Carteret Street United Methodist Church are seeking ways to take the scary out Halloween. Both congregations are selling pumpkins on their front lawns as a way to raise money, but also to reach people who otherwise might not have a reason to visit their churches.
"We are trying to get away from witches, goblins and spooky characters, and offer a place where parents can take their children that is fun and done through the love of Christ," said Jennifer Jenkins, director of children's ministry at Providence Presbyterian Church.
Since 2001, members of Carteret Street United Methodist Church have imported a pumpkin patch to their front lawn as a way to raise money for the church's youth group. The patch offers parents fall photo opportunities as well as a place where children can be entertained by a storyteller dressed as a pumpkin. During the pumpkin sale, the church bazaar also is held.
Both churches see their pumpkin patch fundraisers as one more way to reach out to neighbors.
"Our pumpkin patch is a really good way to bring the community together," said the Rev. Andrew Wolfe, associate pastor at Carteret Street.
"We get see a lot of folks, and it brings a lot of people in that we normally would not meet, including the school groups who visit the patch for story times," he said.
Wolfe added that working at the pumpkin patch and at the bazaar grows fellowship and camaraderie among the church members who volunteer.
Providence Presbyterian organizers agree it's all about faith.
"We are hoping to get people on campus to see the church and everything that we are doing," Jenkins said. "Everything they will take away with them will have a message of Christ."
On Oct. 28, giveaways at the Providence Presbyterian carnival will include a religious pumpkin flashlight and an inspirational duck pond, in which all the ducks are Bible characters.
Jenkins hopes these events might inspire people to consider their faith.
"Maybe getting someone on campus will spark a conversation or remind them that they may need to take a step back and exercise their faith again," Jenkins said.
"It is all about awareness and to get people thinking again about where they stand."
WHERE DO PUMPKINS GROW?
Pumpkins are not a reliable crop to grow in the Lowcountry, according to York Glover of Clemson University Extension Service. Area churches solved the problem by finding The Pumpkin Patch, a company that grows thepumpkins on a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. The company delivers pumpkins to more than 30 denominations in 48 states at 1,300 locations.