Christ the Redeemer left the muggle world and entered the magical world of Harry Potter by hosting its first Harry Potter Children’s festival.

The parish youth group, along with other volunteers, on Nov. 19 helped transform the church into a magical environment. In the afternoon twenty children arrived dressed as their favorite Harry Potter character and made their way through Platform 9 ¾ into the magical world of Hogwarts.

Once inside, they each participated in the sorting hat ceremony and were divided into the four houses of Hogwarts. Each house - Gryffindor, Slythern, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff - was guided by two “prefects” from the youth group.


Twenty children at Christ the Redeemer visit Hagrid (Jim Inglis) and his dog Fang at Hagrid’s hut during a Harry Potter festival at the parish. (Craig Vance photo)

Once in their house of five or six, the children were taken for Quidditch practice led by Madame Hooch. Each team played against each other using hula hoops, rubber balls, pool noodles, and a tennis ball as the golden snitch.

After Quidditch practice the children along with their prefects made their way out to Hagrid’s hut. They were greeted by Hagrid and Fang, portrayed by Jim Inglis and his dog. Hagrid entertained the children by handing out ‘Berit Botts’ every flavor beans, and then led them to the cemetery for a walk through the “old forest”.

At the “old forest“, the children were led through the cemetery tour by Brad Madu, who explained to them some history of the cemetery and led them to interesting places to show the children that cemeteries are not frightening but places of rest and peace.

The children were then taken to Christ Church for the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” class led by the Rev. Craig Vance, who had this to say:

“Some people in the Christian community believe the Potter world to be a dark influence that leads children towards the occult. Yet as I read the books with my children I was seeing not the demonic, but au contraire, more and more of the Christian faith. J. K. Rowling has said she doesn’t want to discuss her personal religious beliefs because she does not want to give away the plot. Rowling is an Anglican laywoman and the plot is that of the Christ event!”

 Then the children went back to Christ the Redeemer for the great feast - hamburgers, chips and pop. They then proceeded upstairs for owl post where an owl was sent flying down from the balcony, carrying with it letters to each of the children - letters of encouragement from their parents. After reading the letters the children were given their elementary book of spells for defense against the dark arts (a bible addressed to each child) by Professor Dumbledor.

Then it was time to travel through the Platform 9 ¾ again and onto the Hogwarts express to travel to Colossus, for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” The movie was fantastic and the adults enjoyed it as much as the children did.