News from AllianceQ: October 2020

The Teal Pumpkin Project: displaying your welcome

If your neighborhood is like mine, you might have noticed more and more houses with teal pumpkins in recent years — not orange, not blue, but teal. The first time I saw one, I didn’t think much of it; I figured it was just another marketing tool to get people to buy the cool, new, teal pumpkins.

But not long after that, I heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project, and I began looking at those teal pumpkins differently. Far from a marketing tool for consumerism, The TPP is “is a movement to raise awareness of food allergies and to create a safer, more inclusive Halloween for all trick or treaters on Halloween. By putting a teal pumpkin on your doorstep, you let kids know that your house is food allergy-friendly.”

What an amazing act of inclusivity, thoughtfulness, and generosity! It’s such a clear and helpful way for families to know if a house is safe for them to visit on Halloween, before taking the time and energy to ring the doorbell, only for the 3-foot-superhero to realize that not only does that house not have anything for them; what that house offers is dangerous to them.

The teal pumpkins are a beacon of hope to those whose lives could be endangered by what is ubiquitous at many houses. Sure, not every kid needs it, but for those who do, it is the only way they can safely participate in trick-or-treating; for those who don’t, they still are welcome to what’s offered!

(…maybe you see where I’m going here…)

The Teal Pumpkin Project is not unlike our effort to widen the welcome at Disciples of Christ churches, and is a helpful way to understand why it’s important to loudly proclaim we’re affirming.

That’s difficult for many churches; you probably have heard someone say, “We already welcome everyone, so why do we need to say it or put it on our website?” There seems to be a fear that by welcoming everyone, churches are closing their doors to others. Then, because of that fear, we keep the Good News to ourselves, and don’t dig deep to find out what it really might be that makes us uncomfortable with being that beacon.

The thing is, a beacon isn’t a beacon if no one can see it.

When congregations faithfully follow the call to not limit anyone because of their identity, and then prominently display that welcome online and in their physical space, it sends out rays of hope to folks who might otherwise walk by, because the candy — or theology —  they received in the last place was harmful to them.

Halloween won’t be the same this year. Even if trick-or-treaters are able to be out, the festivities will be more guarded, more distanced. But there will be a teal pumpkin on my porch, so that everyone knows that they really are welcome.

Contributed by Rev. Sara Nave Fisher

Please share the following images and quotes to invite individuals and churches to consider displaying and proclaiming their welcome.

Consider changing your social media profile picture to the Alliance Teal Pumpkin for the month of October. When you’re asked about the teal pumpkin you have the incredible opportunity to share why it’s important to display and proclaim an affirming welcome of all. (You can also encourage individuals and churches to support this ministry!)

Have you seen this introductory video about widening the welcome?

Want to read more?

“Say what you mean, mean what you say: why and how O&A” includes testimony and resources.

Want to support Open & Affirming ministry? Give here.

Contact Alliance Executive Director + Minister Melissa Guthrie Loy. for more info or support in the welcoming journey. Guthrie Loy expresses gratitude for this reflection from Rev. Sara Nave Fisher. Sara is the Senior Minister at Rolling Oaks Christian Church in San Antonio, Texas.