After five years, St Mary’s Church, Gomersal, are preparing for the return of their Biblical Scarecrow Festival.
This year’s October event is just the second time that the festival has been run, with the first taking place in 2011.
Local people, schools, churches and organisations have already chosen their Biblical figures, including Joseph, Noah and Moses, and they will now be left to their own devices to make them into scarecrows in preparation for the festival.
Image on the right shows Jonah and the whale made by Trees Fewster.
The festival is the brain child of Trees Fewster, who said: “This is a way of making the Bible come to life through images and portrayals of some well-known and some lesser-known Biblical personalities.
“Last time I made Jonah and the whale which took quite a while, but I also did Lot’s wife which took hardly any time at all.”
The festival will see up to 25 of these scarecrows on display around St Mary’s, which attendees must identify using Bibles.
Trees said: “When the scarecrows are put in place it not only gives the name of the person, church, or organisation who made it, it also gives the chapter and verse where this character could be found in the Bible. So, to find out who they are looking at, people have to pick up a Bible and try to find the correct place.
“For many people that is quite hard, but it is part of promoting and handling the Bible. There will be plenty of Bibles lying around church and plenty of helpers to give guidance.
“I think it is a unique opportunity to intrigue people to pick up the Bible and perhaps even encourage them to look at it more often.”
Image on the left shows David and Goliath made by Gomersal First School.
After the success of the first event in 2011, with over 100 people arriving through the church doors in the first two hours and raising almost £180 for the church funds, although it was a free event, it was decided that the festival should make a return.
But, Trees hopes to get a few more characters dotted around the church this year and is hoping for the event to be even more popular.
Trees said: “Scarecrow Festivals seem to be very popular round about and I am always looking to promote the Bible. This seemed a good way to do it."
The primary scarecrow creators will be the Churches Together cluster in Gomersal, which brings together two Church of England churches as well as a Moravian, Methodist and United Reformed church.
There will be a prize for the person who can correctly name all of the scarecrow figures in the Church and organisers are hoping to have a representative from a Christian bookshop there, selling story books and Bibles for people of all ages.
Revd Karen Nicholl, vicar at St Mary's, said: “The last festival was good family fun as together people of all ages explored the many different scarecrow characters through using the Bible. And of course it was free and open to all and will be again this year.
“It's a great way to get to know people and also for them to get to know their local church in a fun way, as well as helping people to find their way around the Bible and find out something about the people and their stories we find within it.
“We hope to have some New Testaments and Gospels for people to take away with them as well as some of the books published to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday which tell of how her faith has helped support her throughout her life.”
Image on the right shows Moses and the 10 Commandments.
In September 2014, over the space of 72 hours, 250 people including Bishop Nick, came into St Mary’s at various times to take turns in reading the whole Bible non-stop, so Trees hopes to build on this promotion of the Bible.
The festival is taking place on Saturday 1 October 10:00am – 3:00pm and Sunday 2 October 1:00pm – 3:00pm at St Mary’s Church, Spen Lane, Gomersal. Admission is free and refreshments can be purchased.
Donations can be made at the festival and this, along with money spent on refreshments, will go into the Church funds.
Follow this link for the event's page: http://www.leeds.anglican.org/content/biblical-scarecrow-festival