United Parish’s Pumpkin Project

To spread some joy around this autumn and bring a message of hope  the United Parish of Ballyclare and Ballynure have developed The Pumpkin Project – Let your Light shine (Matthew 5:16).

Families are invited to take part in a pumpkin carving competition. All the details of what to do can be found on their website www.theunitedparish.org or via the Facebook page facebook.com/thepumpkinproject

They have also recommended ‘The Pumpkin Gospel’ which can be shared with children after the carving!

One day, the Gardener went out into his field and picked a special pumpkin (place pumpkin on the table – on top of a cookie sheet or tablecloth, etc. with the uncarved side facing the audience). It was a bit dirty from laying in the garden, so he brought it inside and gently wiped it off (wipe off exterior of pumpkin). Now the pumpkin looked clean on the outside, but what about the inside?
The Gardener took a knife and cut open the top of the pumpkin (pretend to cut open the top again and take it off). And what did He find? A bunch of slimy, yucky goo! (show kids the goop – maybe even let them touch it if you have a small enough group). The Gardener wanted His special pumpkin to be beautiful, so He carefully scraped out all of the goo inside until the pumpkin was as clean inside as it was on the outside! (Remove goo and throw away. Show children the clean interior)
But the Gardener still wasn’t satisfied with the pumpkin. He decided it needed a face! So, He carefully cut out two eyes, a nose, and a big smiling mouth (Turn the carved side of the pumpkin to face the audience. Poke out the eyes, nose and mouth you carved out previously). Now the Gardener’s special pumpkin looked clean AND happy.
But the Gardener still wasn’t satisfied with the pumpkin. So, He put a light inside of it (insert candle and light it). The pumpkin glowed so beautifully! The Gardener’s special project was complete.
When friends and neighbours saw the Gardeners special pumpkin, they marvelled at how He took something ordinary from His garden, cleaned it inside and out, put His light inside, and made it something extraordinary!
Explanation of the Pumpkin Gospel:
We are like pumpkins and God is the Gardener. God creates us and cares for us. He “chooses” us from all of the other pumpkins, but inside we all have the yucky goo – sin. (Read Rom. 3:23 and Rom. 6:23)
Just like the Gardener cleaned out his pumpkin’s goo, God wants to clean out all our sin, too. So, He sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins, to take the punishment we deserved. (Read Rom. 5:8, John 3:16, and 1 John 1:9)
Just like the Gardener gave the pumpkin a new face, God makes us a new creation! (Read 2 Cor. 5:17)
Just like the Gardener put His light into the pumpkin to make it shine, so God gives us His light to shine through us! (Read 2 Cor. 4:6 and Mt. 5:16)
So, when we let God clean out our sin, by believing that Jesus died to pay the punishment that we deserve, He turns us into new creations that can shine for Him! And when others see our light, then they might want to learn how to have a light of their own, too!