Stake Easter Festival in Florida Attracts Hundreds to Celebrate Christ, Build Interfaith Friendships

Contributed By Nikki Lallatin, Church News contributor

  • 20 April 2018

Because the Boynton Beach Florida Stake’s Easter festival invited the entire community to participate, many friends of other faiths learned who Mormons are and what they’re about: loving Christ and loving others.  Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

Article Highlights

  • One stake’s Easter festival promoted new friendships, missionary opportunities, and love for Jesus Christ.

Easter is a celebration that brings people of all faiths together—and that was certainly the case for the Boynton Beach Florida Stake. On March 30, more than 800 members of the public joined 500 members of the Boynton Beach Stake for a family-fun festival celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The activity was a collaborative event organized by the stake public affairs committee with help from hardworking volunteers from the stake.

Bounce houses, cotton candy, face painting, a live DJ, and egg hunts enthralled children of all ages as their parents listened to speakers discuss the importance of Easter and what the Atonement of Jesus Christ means for us. Smiling families—with parents and children alike—danced to music and hunted candy-filled plastic eggs.

The festival was free and promoted to the public, inviting friends of other faiths to become acquainted with the Church. Shaun Vickers, a nonmember who attended with his 6-year-old daughter, explained that his daughter enjoyed the bounce houses at the celebration. “We had a really great time. We will definitely come back next year.”

During the festival, full-time missionaries offered tours of the chapel to nonmembers using the Chapel Tours app and answering questions. Booths were set up to provide information about three Church-sponsored programs: JustServe.org, FamilySearch.org, and self-reliance.

Kristi White, a member of the Boynton Beach Stake, emphasized the importance of sharing faith-building experiences with friends and neighbors: “I feel like those one-on-one conversations really showcase what our faith is all about. The backdrop of happy families of many faiths made it such a perfect event to remember Christ’s miraculous Resurrection—as celebrated with our South Florida flavor [and understood through] the true Church on earth today.”

A live DJ provided music for families to sing and dance along. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

Other members remarked on how much fun their own families had. “It was an amazing activity with lots to do,” said one participant, Cristina Kelly. “Seeing so many families having such a great time was fun. We will definitely be attending next year.”

Rick Williams, a member of the West Boca Ward, said, “I have lived all over the United States and I have never seen a Church event draw together so many members of the community and [people] other faiths. I’m looking forward to next year already!”

Hundreds in the community gathered to enjoy a day of bounce houses, treats, and uplifting messages about Jesus Christ. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

The event was covered on a local Fox News station and appeared on the Channel 5 evening news. This media coverage shed a positive light on Latter-day Saints and their efforts to unify their communities, including all individuals and groups. Because the Boynton Beach Stake’s Easter festival invited the entire community to participate, many friends of other faiths learned who Mormons are and what they’re about: loving Christ and loving others.

A speaker discusses the importance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

Missionaries smile with a family attending the stake Easter celebration. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

The event was so successful that it attracted media attention. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

Children enjoyed face painting, bounce houses, and egg hunts. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

Many young women in the stake volunteered to do face painting for festival goers. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

Stake members set up information tents for nonmembers to learn about a few of the Church’s programs, including JustServe, FamilySearch, and self-reliance. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.

Those who attended the festival were invited to try fresh popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, and other treats. Photo by Mackenzi Gilmore.