Promoting a sermon series called “Hogwarts Halloween,” the Church by The Glades posted on their website, “Calling all wizards! Muggles, too… Where do you belong? Maybe you’re stuck in the wrong ‘house.’ Unlike Hogwarts, we can choose who we surround ourselves with. Join us as we discover what the Bible has to say about relationships and belonging in the family of God.”
“God should never have to compete for attention, especially not in the praise and worship of His name that He’s commanded to take place on His day.”
Located in Coral Springs, Fla., and pastored by David Hughes, the Church by The Glades “is a hyper-creative and fully-charged church where no perfect people are allowed.” Being authentic is also a priority for CBTG. (Announcing authenticity is like announcing that you’re weird; in both cases, if you have to tell people, you’re most likely not.)
For Pastor Hughes, being authentic looks like a sermon series with a Harry Potter theme.
On a stage complete with set pieces and props, Hughes opens his sermon sitting on a plush leather couch shrouded in smoke from smoke machines. The set and Pastor Hughes are upstaged by a large screen showing Hogwarts’ library with people (costumed students of Hogwarts) constantly walking in and out of frame; Pastor Hughes is upstaged both literally (it’s upstage of the set) and in the “stealing focus” definition of the term. (In the grand scheme of things, this is really a small quibble, but I don’t understand why the church’s stage manager and technical director didn’t realize that having people constantly walk behind David Hughes would be distracting. That’s stagecraft 101.)
After a brief introduction, Hughes invites three young girls onstage to be “sorted” into a house. If you’re unfamiliar with Harry Potter, students at Hogwarts are placed into houses by a talking witches hat.
The hat is placed on each girl’s head, the hat speaks, and the girls are sorted. Given scarfs and hats, they are then escorted to a special seating area where they enjoyed candy and butterbeer throughout the worship service.