The sixth annual All Saints Museum was held over the Halloween season and offered visitors a unique journey through the history of Christianity from modern day Halloween to the times of Jesus. The museum, held at West Elvins Church, featured different saints, the history of how they came to be recognized, and offered an alternative Halloween experience.
“A lot of churches really avoid Halloween like the plague because it’s a secular endeavor,” said Pastor Bill Bond. “What we are doing here is trying to capture a piece of history for the church and do something nice for the community.”
The tour begins with a room dedicated to modern day Halloween lore. It discusses the symbolism behind the holiday and biblical interpretations of the symbols. It also contains “flip-up” jokes scattered about the walls and “fact-or-fiction” questions about the origins of the saints and Halloween.
“Jesus used a lot of humor to make a point. C.S. Lewis once wrote, ‘the one thing the Devil cannot stand is to be laughed at.’ That’s a lot of the reason people began to make masks. It was really two-fold. First, they’re kind of hiding out from what they thought were evil spirits. The other was, they were making fun of the Devil, and, that’s kind of what the jokes here are all about,” Bond said.
The next room is dedicated to modern saints. A display in this room focuses on the lives of five men martyred in Ecuador who are considered saints in many faiths. It also pays homage to Eric Liddell, whose life is the basis for the movie “Chariots of Fire.”
Another room pays tribute to those saints who lived during the period of Reformation. They include Martin Luther and founders of the Presbyterian Church.
“Now we’re going back from modern times all the way to the thirteen hundreds. And we have saints who have influenced us a lot, like John Wycliff, who first began to translate the Bible into the English language. That was a capital offense back in those days. Then, there was no difference between politics and the church, so if you defied the organized church you were in trouble,” said Bond.
Room four is devoted to the “church fathers” or founders of the modern Christian Church. A common theme among the founders of the church is martyrdom and this room tells the story of two of those founding members who died in the name of Christianity. One display in this room is dedicated to Polycarp, a martyr who was cruelly burned by the Romans, but kept his faith. Another is dedicated to Perpetua, a female who was killed for refusing to recant her beliefs.
The last room in the museum is dedicated to Jesus and the First Disciples, and contains an exhibit which resembles the tomb in which Jesus was resurrected. Several books in this room highlight the lives of the early disciples who witnessed the life of Jesus. It also contains a depiction of DaVinci’s “Last Supper,” and several other messages from the Gospel.
“The gory stuff that we see on Halloween, the bottom line is that’s typical of some of the things people have really gone through over the centuries for their faith,” said Bond.
Aside from the literary and historical displays, the museum offers games and activities for children, food, and refreshments. There are also movies, biblical documents, and a simulation of a catacomb.
While the event will not be held again until the next Halloween season, more information about the museum and its contents is available at: https://sites.google.com/site/allsaintsmuseum
Pat Pratt is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010 ext. 172 or email@example.com