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Published: Wednesday, 11/1/2006

City helps tout event linked to Y, churches

Greene Greene

A top official in the Finkbeiner administration yesterday assisted some churches and a YMCA branch in publicizing a Christian alternative to Halloween.

Juanita Greene, executive director of the Board of Community Relations, distributed a news release urging the public to join eight church organizations at three "Holyween" events around Toledo.

Ms. Greene, who is paid $73,000 annually by the city, did not return calls from The Blade seeking comment.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's public information officer, Brian Schwartz, said that after reviewing the news release, "we concluded that it was not a proper use of a city computer and a city e-mail account."

He said the administration planned no disciplinary action, and declined to respond when asked why Ms. Greene used her office to promote a Christian alternative to Halloween.

"That's not as important as the fact that we have determined it was not a proper use" of city assets, he said.

Holyween is an event some churches have adopted both as a safe alternative to walking dark city streets on Halloween night and to what some see as a pagan tribute to Satan.

A Holyween event in 2002 at Solid Rock Assembly of God, 1630 Broadway, featured an opportunity for children to throw a ball at a picture of the devil in one of the midway-style game booths.

The three sites that were advertised in Ms. Greene news release were Solid Rock Assembly of God; Foundation Stone Christian Center in Northwood, and the Summit YMCA, 306 Bush St.

"The YMCA event is just a safe alternative to trick or treating for some for the inner city youth we work with," Josh Heaston, the Christian emphasis director at the Summit YMCA, said yesterday. "It's a Christian alternative to trick or treating. We're not going to try to scare the kids."

The event advertised by Ms. Greene was organized by G.O.D.S. Ministries, which stands for God's Obedient Disciples & Servants.

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