Church of Christ looks to create a ‘Night to Shine’

Date Published: 
Feb. 2, 2018

For the second year in a row, the Ocean View Church of Christ will be joining more than 540 churches in 50 U.S. states and 16 countries across the world in hosting a Night to Shine.

According to the Tim Tebow Foundation, which initiated the event, it is “an unforgettable prom-night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. On one night, Feb. 9, 2018, more than 540 churches around the world will come together to host Night to Shine for approximately 90,000 honored guests through the support of 175,000 volunteers.”

“Anytime this event is brought up, it brings joy right to people’s faces. Every once in a while, there’s a life-changing event, and this seems to be one of those,” said the Rev. Ethan Magee. “You can tell by the responses coming in from our guests last year, they’ve been looking forward to this all year long.

“It was great for them last year, but what I’m seeing from people here at the church — those who were a part of volunteering — it was probably even more of a joy for them.”

Magee said that, while it will be his first time participating in Night to Shine, he has already witnessed the love of the event from those in the community.

“Sometimes when you do an event, you wonder, should you do it again? I think this was one of those, ‘We have to do this again’ events,” he said. “One of the cool things is it’s not just our church — it’s not about Ocean View Church of Christ. It’s a lot bigger than that. It’s just about sharing love — the love of God, the love of Jesus.

“There have been so many volunteers outside of our church. Two of the ladies who are part of the planning of this are outside the church, just members of the community.”

Magee noted that the church has received help from local fire departments, police agencies, a furniture company, food-related businesses and more.

“It’s way bigger than our church. It really is a community event, bringing a bunch of people together, wanting to celebrate God’s love for people with special needs.”

Last year, the church had close to 50 attendees, and this year they hope to host 100. Pre-registration is required to attend the event.

While the event is classified as a “prom night,” Magee said there is no dress code for those who attend.

“There really isn’t a dress code, but because it’s a prom, we’re encouraging people to dress nice. Some will rent tuxes or gowns; others will wear their Sunday best,” he said.

When guests arrive, the idea is that they will be instantly transported to an incredible prom experience — one they will never forget.

“When they get here, every guest is going to get a ride in a limo that will drop them off to the entrance to the prom. They’re going to enter in on a red carpet. There’ll be a crowd out there cheering; there’ll be paparazzi taking pictures,” explained Magee.

“Once they come inside, they’ll be treated like royalty — kings and queens. We’ve got beauticians coming in, doing hair and makeup. There’ll be shoe-shining areas. They’ll all get corsages and boutonnieres, dinner. They’ll get gifts.

“Of course, there’s going to be dancing and a D.J. The night is going to end with every single one of our guests being crowned a king or queen of the prom. Everyone will get either a crown or a tiara.

“The goal is to let them know that they’re special to us and that God loves them,” he said. “Their parents will be treated to a nice meal and a comfortable place to relax. It’s a really special night.”

The Church of Christ is one of only two churches in the state of Delaware to participate in the event. Magee said he hopes the event will continue to be well-received and embraced by the community.

“I’m just so excited. When I came and heard this is a thing the church does… I want us to be community-minded and community-driven, a church that is known for its love of God and love of others. That’s what this night is all about.

“I’m excited to see the joy on people’s faces,” he said. “There is joy, there is hope, there is love in the world. This is a celebration of the value of life. It’s cool to be a part of it.”

For additional information on the Night to Shine hosted by the Church of Christ in Ocean View, visit www.ccovde.org. For more information on the worldwide movement of Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, visit http://www.timtebowfoundation.org/index.php/night-to-shine.