Goshen (NY) Christian Reformed Church hosted its third annual EGG-Stravaganza on April 8, attracting almost 1,000 neighbors and guests to the festivities. Kids and families enjoyed games, crafts, face painting, a bounce house, and a petting zoo. An Easter egg hunt had kids searching for more than 4,000 eggs. The church also shared the story of the resurrection by showing a video about Easter.

The church had spread word of the free family event with signage in local businesses, advertisements in the local newspaper, and 6,000 flyers sent home with kids in public schools. "Events like our EGG-Stravaganza have started to help us form stronger bonds in our community and become more accessible to folks who come from different traditions," said Samuel Sutter, pastor of Goshen CRC.

For many years, locals have referred to Goshen CRC as "the Dutch church on the hill." This event is just one of many efforts the church is making to reverse the perception that the church is separate and out of touch with the community. "[The nickname] remains a longstanding reminder of the need to change and re-engage with the community to bring the gospel to people," said Alida De Boer, a volunteer at the event.

“We've revitalized and have seen a lot of growth of young families,” De Boer said. She added that over the last three years, the number of kids in the church has increased from three to around 40.

"We're working really hard at being the sort of church that is welcoming and accessible and that reaches out into the community where God has us," Sutter added. "God is blessing our efforts with more families, people and growth."

About the Author

Lori Dykstra is a freelance writer.