South Dakota church offers safe Halloween event

Renewal MB Church’s popular Trunk or Treat draws 400

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In 2021, Renewal MB Church held their first Trunk or Treat event in conjunction with other community groups. Photo: RMBC

Renewal MB Church in Rapid City, South Dakota, held its second annual Trunk or Treat event on Monday, Oct. 31, after a successful first event in 2021.

The church plant’s new location is one reason the congregation can host community events like Trunk or Treat, says Abby Hoehne, RMBC NextGen pastor.

Jon and Michele Fiester planted Renewal MB in 2018, and Hoehne has worked with church youth the past two years, first as a volunteer and then on staff.

Hoehne explains that the church plant first met in a conference room in downtown Rapid City until the spring of 2021, when they were able to remodel and lease a larger building. This new space provides fresh opportunities to reach more youth in the surrounding neighborhoods, Hoehne says.

Putting on a Trunk or Treat was conceived by members of Renewal’s “creatives team” that meets weekly.

“We were just excited to be able to actually do a Trunk or Treat or VBS in the building, so we were brainstorming everything that we could do,” Hoehne says.

Renewal’s creative team looks for ways to reach their neighborhood, such as hosting Trunk or Treat. Photo: RMBC

They announced the event to the congregation and quickly found volunteers to donate candy, grill food, serve hot chocolate and bring decorated vehicles. They sent digital flyers advertising the event to local schools and posted about it on social media.

Hoehne says that the church’s youth room is known as a safe place for kids to hang out when she and Pastor Fiester are there working. They handed out physical flyers to these kids as well.

Quite a few of these kids attend church services, says Hoehne, but it can take longer for their parents to feel comfortable attending.

“Where we’re located is a little rougher neighborhood, so we were going for a safe way for kids to go out and enjoy Halloween,” Hoehne says. “We wanted to let the community know that we are here and that we care for them and their safety.”

RMBC partnered with multiple community groups, including local police and The Potter’s House, another church with a separate unit in the same building, and used their shared parking lot for the event.

At the 2021 Trunk or Treat, Michele Fiester passed out church invite cards giving families information about RMBC while also giving organizers a rough estimate of how many people attended the event. Hoehne says Fiester handed out about 400 cards before running out.

Volunteers heard positive feedback after the first Trunk or Treat, and Hoehne says they noticed a few familiar faces from the event at subsequent church services.

“We all enjoyed it so much [in 2021] and we had a ton of people asking if we were doing it again,” Hoehne says. “It was a wonderful event, and we’re all excited to continue doing it.”

In the future, Hoehne would love to expand the event to include more activities like a dunk tank, corn maze or scavenger hunt to encourage families to stay longer.

“We want to add more things to keep the kids there the whole time so they don’t have to venture out into the neighborhood that isn’t as safe for them,” Hoehne says. “We’re definitely hoping for growth.”

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