Midtown’s All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church is nearing the end of a weeklong church camp inspired by the Harry Potter books. Five years ago, the church started weekend studies using the teen-wizard stories as parables to address spirituality, and the demand for more Potter lessons grew from there, says a church administrator who ask that I not use their name for reasons of “personal privacy.”
The study doesn’t just focus on Potter books anymore, but it’s still heavy on the mysticism. Until last year, the church decorated a mansion it owned across the street to look like the Hogwarts magic school. This week, only the church’s fellowship hall is decorated, for safety reasons.
There’s no concern that reading the books will cause the preteens to worship the devil any time soon. “You know we’ve never had any criticism over it,” says our mystery administrator. “Maybe it’s because the more conservative churches don’t really know about it.”
Thursday the church had a worship service with a magic theme. The week’s capper will be tonight when an owl delivers the final book to the kids at midnight. “I’m not sure if it’s a trained owl,” says the administrator. “It’s probably a guy dressed in an owl suit.”
A trained owl would be pretty awesome. – Peter Rugg