The Grinch might try to steal Christmas, but it will turn up at the First Assembly of God Church in Lee’s Summit.
The congregation is offering its first Whobilation, which is open to the Lee’s Summit community. The entire theme is of course borrowed from the Dr. Suess classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
The foyer is a forest of Christmas Trees.
At the extravaganza, children can have their pictures taken with the Grinch. Whos in their Who clothes and their Who hair will run games and be hosts.
At the Who-PS office every visiting child will have a package waiting which contains a gift. Children can pick lollipops off the lollipop tree.
“The kids are going to love it and so are the adults,” said Pastor Roger Horne.
In one wing of the church will be free games, in the other visitors will be welcome to visit the new childrens church which is has a Whoville theme.
The elaborate installations in the children’s wing will be a permanent feature of the church building, combining ideas inspired by a village with Bible verses.
For example a barber shop display quotes Matthew 10:30:
“And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”
That remodeling for the children’s church grew into the plans for the party.
This summer the church hired a new youth pastor, Nena Hiatt. Horne asked her to spruce up the childrens’ church area.
“It was plain, plain, plain, back there,” Horne said. “Now it’s designed for kids, that’s what gives it its energy.”
Haitt said many years ago she’d had a vision of creating a Whoville-themed childrens’ church. The church will use it as a riff for giving children a chance to think, about “who” they are.
“They need to know who they are that they all have talent and abilities and are special and to know the love of God,” Hiatt said.
As Haitt and her friend, artist Suzie Livengood of Holden, began working on the renovation, they realized it was such a large undertaking it would be hard for Haitt to do the traditional Christmas play. She began thinking in terms of the Whobilation to celebrate.
They’ve been working four and five days a week, sleeping in the church overnight sometimes, to finish the decorations and the renovation. Many members of the congregation have pitched in.
Horne said the community celebration is a way to bring visitors to the church, to remind them Jesus is the reason to celebrate Christmas and to let people learn about First Assembly of God.
The event is 6-9 p.m. Dec. 13, 14 and 15 in the church at 425 SW Oldham Parkway.
At 7:30 p.m. there will be performances by children from the church and drawings for door prizes, including gift cards from area restaurants, toys, certificates for bowling and more.
Horne said the church is prepared for 300 children, but is ready to wrap more gifts if attendance is bigger. He expects the Whobilation will be such a success the church will repeat it next year.
With the many activities and gifts for children, Haitt said, “This will help it to be Christmas for kids who otherwise may not have anything.”