In recent years many church fancy dress functions have chosen a theme, such as vegetables, sports, movie characters, period characters, nursery rhymes and the like. Fancy dress remains a lot of fun.
I can recall the spirit of 'fancy dress' parties in the 1950s. My mother went to great lengths with his brother, sister and my, fancy dress costumes.
The family fancy dress photographs, he recounts, always held pride of place. There is one particular photo that shows himself in an outfit of a circus clown that his mother worked on tirelessly for weeks, sewing on the round shapes in different colours.
For several decades in Australian churches 'fancy dress' fellowship parties had fallen out of favour. But in the very recent past 'Back to the Future' fellowship 'fancy dress' entertainment has become de rigueur. Themed fancy-dress occasions have become particularly popular.
Now it's back to the future, 'everywhere'. In both the city and rural centres there are church notice boards promoting fancy dress evenings, and many of them promoting themes.
Congregations are responding with the same enthusiasm I can remember from the 1950s.
The congregation where his own family worships, the Banora Point Baptist Church (Tweed Heads), has established an annual fancy dress fellowship event each July and this year with French people in the congregation, we had a French night.
But fancy dress functions are by no means an invention of post WWII fellowship occasions.
The origins of fancy dress parties in the UK can in some respects be traced to masked balls of the 18th Century period, although Fancy Dress parties of the modern kind are a largely Victorian conception expanded upon by the Edwardians.
It is to the Rio de Janeiro where the extravagance 'in every sense' of the 'costume' is witnessed.
Christian fellowship fancy dress functions, whatever the theme, are indeed purpose built for breaking down barriers, establishing friendships and just having sheer good fun.
There should be more of it ! We enjoyed our church's French night!