Thirty-eight children from Nocton and surrounding villages came to a Hogwart’s Party in Nocton Church on Halloween. Everyone was disguised by a costume, face paint, or hat, and the church was lit up with candles and jack-o’lanterns. Meeting a barn owl on arrival was a real treat. Rev Jonnie Parkin explained that although the Harry Potter books are all about make-believe and magic, the
stories have morals to learn from. He then showed four film clips from the Harry Potter films. The children divided into groups to have fun acting out aspects of the scenes they’d just seen.
Being kind and helpful came from the story of Harry Potter, a new boy at Hogwart’s School, who was trying to find Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station so he could make the journey to the school. Fellow student Ron Weasley was there with his brothers and his mother. His mother encouraged Harry to rush at a brick wall through which he could pass to the platform (even though it looked scary and impossible). The ‘wall’ was strips of material painted to look like a wall, hung from the vestry gate. On the other side was a train, representing the Hogwart’s steam train. Arriving in the vestry, the children were treated to cupcakes decorated with licorice spiders.
When Ron Weasley tried to cast a spell on the unpleasant Hogwart’s student Malfoy, it bounced back on him, because his wand was broken. This was a lesson in ‘Do as you would be done by.’ The children made lists of good spells and bad spells, for a potion in a big pot. The group decided which kind of spell they would like - a good spell or a bad spell - learning that if you wished something bad for someone else, you should think about how you would feel if someone wished something bad for you. Each child added a herb or spice to the pot, and stirred it.
At the font, there was a ‘Penseive’ activity. Each child was given a stone. They were encouraged to think of a memory – a happy one, or sad – and to drop the stone to send that thought into the water and to let it go. The final activity was decorating a candle, symbolising choosing the light rather than the darkness. To close, there was an act of worship.
On the following Sunday there was a family Eucharist, which celebrated the Feast of All Saints, the name of Nocton Church, so it is a special day. The service was led by Rev Jonnie Parkin, who involved the children by asking them questions, and including them to serve in the Eucharist. Afterwards they got the chance to go through the ‘wall’ one more time!
by Carol Bennett