By: Debbie Hough

platform 9He’s back! Or at least his world is back. Of course, I am referring to Harry Potter and his world of wizards and muggles and so much more. As I write this article the brand new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is in previews in London set to open on July 30. Since I won’t be in London any time soon, I ordered my advance copy of the script—reader’s theater here I come!

Wait, that’s not all! Surely you have heard from your HP friends that the newest movie (sans Harry) is coming out on November 18. It is based on a little book that JK Rowling wrote a number of years ago, with the same name, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Someone in your church has to have it. It is a clever alphabetical list of creatures in the wizarding world with descriptions and a rating of how dangerous each one is. The book was “written” by the star of the new movie Newt Scamander. Since the movie is a prequel to the Harry world we know, I am guessing we will travel all over the world with Newt as he investigates these amazing creatures and finally ends up at Hogwarts to teach. My favorite is the Fire Crab that resembles a large tortoise with a heavily jeweled shell and shoots flames from its rear end (the boys will love it!). The descriptions have a clear ecological bent to them as endangered species are being cared for by the wizards.

So what does all of this have to do with church educators? Well, depends on the educator, but I am gearing up to do something with the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in the Bible” sessions.  Leviathan, Balaam’s donkey, sheep, snakes, and more are available for our study. I will use Harry and his world as a portkey to enter the Bible and when we decorate the space a bit, the children are right there with us. The Bible does not become magical, but the portkey can take us from one world to the next without missing a beat. You can try floo powder, but that seems a little more messy! Having children actually wanting to search in and read the Bible is a joy. Harry can make it fun, too.

As for the previously mentioned play, I don’t know too much about it, but on the website, there is a statement describing the premise:

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

This describes the world our children and their parents/guardians live in.  It is not easy being a parent and it is not always easy being a child.  The legacies we try to create and those received are not always pleasant or appreciated. Plus, all of us are living in a world where darkness comes from unexpected places, even in Orlando.

I am a firm believer that JK Rowling has given us educators much to work with as we share stories of the faith with folks of all ages. Let’s enter Harry’s world and invite him to help us!

Debbie Hough is a member of the APCE Advocacy Ministry Team, a Certified Church Educator, a fan of all Pittsburgh sport teams, loves cats, dolls, shopping and auctioning with friends, and of course, Harry Potter!