Despite the fact that our patroness was not Irish, the people of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Belton participated for the first time in the Martin City St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday, March 12.
Evangelism can occur in many ways when caring, creative people of faith are involved. The idea began as part of a conversation at our monthly God and Guinness Friday night event that gathers at a local Irish Pub (where else?). The thought of participating in a local parade as a way to be present in a new way to our community continued to grow in support. Banners were designed and fabricated, 140 balloons were inflated, 50 pounds of candy was procured, hundreds of Kelly-green bead necklaces were purchased, green tee shirts with our church logo in a variety of sizes were ordered, members of our congregation offered their full ton pick-up truck and trailer for our parade, and a ‘pre-parade’ decorating party occurred the day before the big event.
Over twenty-five church members and their families decked out in green participated in the parade. In addition to candy and green necklaces, free “Go to Church” passes were given out along the parade route that offered reserved seats in the first five rows, great music, complimentary coffee and donuts after the service, warm fellowship, and a hearty portion of “Good News”. On the back of each ‘ticket’ was an Irish joke.
While it is impossible to determine what the long-lasting impact of this outreach event might be, we certainly experienced the joy of proclaiming the Good News in a new way.