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Harvest Fest yields food, fun
In the pulpit
EA murrays
Dr. Mary W. and Dr. Larry S. Murray
October 31 is celebrated in many countries around the world as Halloween.  People decorate their homes and offices and many adults as well as children dress up in various costumes. Another part of Halloween is when the children go out trick or treating.  Most children love candy, and on Halloween they receive an abundance of it while trick or treating.
As Halloween gains more popularity, many Christians have found an alternative to it. Instead of dressing their children in costumes and sending them out to trick or treat, they are opting to send them to celebrations at the church.  
These celebrations are called Harvest Fest or festival or Hallelujah night.  
For the third consecutive year, the Fellowship of Love Worship Center Church of God in Christ in Allenhurst hosted a community Harvest Fest on Halloween with an overflow crowd.  
“The kids are in a safe environment, and we explain to them why we don’t go out and trick or treat,” Evangelist Lavonia “Peggy” LeCounte,” said.
LeCounte served as the program chairperson for the fest and is also the coordinator of the annual Back to School Rally in July at Briar Bay Park in Riceboro.
“Last year, we had approximately 300 to 500 people in attendance at the fest.  This year, we had 500-plus,” she said.
LeCounte noted the participation was great, saying, “We had so many people we ran out of tickets.”
People came from Savannah, Riceboro, Midway and the surrounding areas to be a part of the festivities. In addition to food, many games (bean bag toss, soda rings, and pie in the face) and horseback rides were available.
The Lazy Z Ranch in Long County provided the horses.
The children participated in a talent show, karaoke, praise dance, and face painting.
More than 500 people were fed. The church also gave away clothes and other household items during the event.
Members of the Hinesville Fire Department put on a puppet show.
“Our annual Community Harvest Fest is a great mission outreach to the community.  This is our biggest community outreach. As a result of the annual harvest fest, people have joined the ministry,” LeCounte said.
People also had an opportunity to win various prizes.
“We gave away two televisions, four bikes and the pastor gave money. One lady won a bike and television,” Lecounte said.
“Despite the large crowd, there were no accidents and everybody had a wonderful time,” she said.
Law enforcement officials from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Georgia State Patrol were on hand to ensure traffic safety.
“The fest is successful due to the support of the various care group leaders in the church and the participation of everyone. God really blessed. The Community Harvest Fest is only a stepping stone to what is going to happen when we get to the City of Love,” LeCounte noted.  
“Fellowship of Love is in the process of building the ‘City of Love’ in the Midway community. Our church’s motto is, ‘We are Changing Lives through the Power of Love.’ We have wonderful leaders,” LeCounte said.  
Dr. Larry S. Murray Sr. serves as pastor of Fellowship of Love Worship Center Church of God in Christ and Dr. Mary W. Murray is the first lady.
“The Harvest Fest is a time of good fellowship. Several visitors who attended the event said they would be in church on Sunday,” LeCounte said.
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