Knoxville, Tenn. – Rocky Top Community Church will hold their fifth annual Junk in the Trunk fall festival on Friday, October 31. The festivities will be held in the church parking lot between 6 and 9 pm.
The first festival was held in 2004, when church staff recognized the need to provide an alternative to the pagan rituals practiced every year at this time in Knoxville area neighborhoods. “Halloween is a pagan holiday that promotes death, evil, the supernatural, and cavities,” explains Justin Trueblood, Minister to Children and Families at Rocky Top Community Church.
“We wanted to reclaim Halloween for Christ,” explains Trueblood. “So we adopted the holiday wholesale, except we moved it from the streets to the church parking lot.” Junk in the Trunk gets its name from the practice of having church members hand out candy from the trunks of their vehicles.
According to Trueblood, the primary purpose of the festival is to provide a “safe and sanctified” venue for children whose Christian parents want them withdrawn even further from the culture. However, the event also draws many unchurched kids from the neighborhood.
“I’m definitely going to Junk in the Trunk again this year,” says Austin Fairman, an 11-year old that lives a block away from the Rocky Top church. The youngster explains that since there is so much distance between the homes in his neighborhood, it takes a long time to get a significant amount of candy. However, when he goes to the church parking lot, he can fill up his pillowcase in about 15 minutes.
“In a way, it is an outreach,” says Trueblood. “Not that we present the gospel or anything, but when church members take candy out of their cars and put it into the kiddies’ jack-o-lantern buckets they reach out their arms.”
In the past, Junk in the Trunk has received criticism from more conservative churches. Last year, Gerald Williams, pastor of Regulative Reformed Presbyterian church in Maryville, Tennessee, was reported as saying that Rocky Top Community Church is “the world in a church’s costume.”
Regulative Reformed Presbyterian chooses instead to celebrate Reformation Day on October 31. This year’s events will include a contest to see how many strokes of a hammer it takes for contestants to nail a facsimile of Luther’s 95 theses to a hardwood door as well as a prize for the attendee with the squarest jaw. A stout German lager will flow freely from the tap, which will serve as fuel for the annual farting contest, a kirk favorite.