No Bible Story Allowed? Church Nixes Zoo Event

Post a Comment » Written on November 12th, 2008     
Filed under: News
LINCOLN, NE (November 12, 2008) – First Covenant Church had participated in the Lincoln Children’s Zoo “Boo at the Zoo” Halloween fundraiser for 15 years, but pulled out from the event this year after the park asked them to no longer include the biblical story of Noah’s Ark on the back of coupons they have distributed.

The coupons were for a local restaurant and fun center, which also declined to participate in the event. Instead, the church and the two businesses held their own “Trunk or Treat” event in First Covenant’s parking lot.

Event“Members of our church family had greeted thousands of kids each year as they walked through the ark to receive candy as well as coupons for a free kids-size pizza from daVinci’s restaurant and free activity at Champions Fun Center on one side and the story of the true adventure of Noah with information about our church on the other side,” says Susie Carlson, the church’s chairperson of Outreach and Evangelism Ministry.

At the Trunk or Treat, more than 140 kids plus their parents walked through an ark set up in the parking lot – the ark served as the entrance to the event, says Carlson. Twenty-one car trunks filled with candy and treats awaited them. Costumed children, youth and adults from the church also greeted the “trunk or treaters.”

The familiar song “The Lord told Noah to build Him an Arky, Arky” played in the background. Children were given coupons to the two businesses. Each of the coupons had the story of Noah’s Ark on the back.

While the event was being held at the church, middle and high school students walked around the neighborhood collecting cans for the People City Mission and Lincoln Food Bank,” Carlson says.

After filling up the back end of a van, the youth joined teens from other churches around Lincoln at the Lancaster County Event Center for free pizza, pop, games and a concert by the Christian band Vota (formally Casting Pearls).

According to local news reports, the zoo director said no complaints had ever been lodged against the display, but park officials felt the distribution of the verses violated its emphasis on diversity. He told a local TV station, “We said they could put on the back of the coupon their worship time, and their website and service times and contact information.”

Church member Sherri Erikson told the station, however, that, “Without the message of the story, it’s just a boat with a bunch of animals in it and we just can’t compromise the message of what we see as faith.”

Both sides said they understood each other’s position and expressed a desire for the Boo at the Zoo event to be successful.

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