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Cupid's Arrows Fly at Church Valentine's Event

Flowers and chocolate, dinner and a movie — these are the Valentine's Day formulas we might expect. But how about real bows and arrows? One United Methodist church in Ohio tried archery to celebrate the holiday and tighten the strings of couples' hearts.

This video was first posted in 2016.

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(Locator: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio)

(Sound of arrows hitting targets)

Date nights are pretty different at Northampton United Methodist Church in Ohio.

(Couples joke about shots)

Getting couples out of their routines, and into some friendly competition is the whole idea behind the church’s “Bows with your Beau” events. This is a better way to keep score, say pastor Keith McLaughlin and his wife of 20 years, Michelle.

Michelle McLaughlin:Keith and I used to be ‘scorekeepers’ where, if something needed to be done in the house, he would do it and then keep a mental note. And then I would do something and keep a mental note. And when we realized that and we realized how detrimental that was to our marriage, we stopped doing that. Being good sports and being playful in our marriage, even though we’re competitive, helps us curb that type of mentality.”

(Pastor to group)“…a little friendly competition.”

The Rev. Keith McLaughlin, Lead Pastor, Northampton United Methodist Church: “We work on marriages not only through in the past having marriage retreats, marriage events, like ‘Bows with Your Beau.’ We’ve had small groups for marriages and for couples. I even encourage couples who are engaged and not yet married to events for the couples that are already married hopefully creating mentoring relationships there.”

After 18 years of marriage and four children, organizer Karin McSparran and husband Craig find this outreach is right on target.

Craig McSparran: “You really have to put away all your screens and focus on each other and focus on what you’re doing. Just creating some space, is probably more important that the archery piece.”

Karin McSparran: “It’s incredibly powerful to shoot a bow. It’s something you think you can’t really do and it’s amazing how easy it is and everyone can do it.”

Spouses aim at balloons filled with ‘love coupons.’

(Couples read love coupons)
“Go out to dinner at the restaurant of MY choice! “

“My spouse has the whole day to do as she wishes, I’ll take the kids!”

(Husband) “This is her favorite. (Wife reads) ‘Thou shall pamper me for one evening.’ I may take him up tonight!”

Michelle McLaughlin: “It’s stress-free and relaxing and fun. And you need that in life – life can be so serious. So, to spend an hour with other people, where you get to shoot, be together and eat. It’s so needed.”

Michelle Stone: (with boyfriend John Riccillo): “He makes every day seem like Valentine’s Day!”

No Cupid necessary to be on the same team and enjoy each other.

(Couple reads coupon) “Give her a big hug and kiss… (husband hugs her) I love you.”


The archery outreach at Northampton United Methodist Church began with a youth program called Centershot: "Making Christ the Target of Your Life." The church hosts various family activities throughout the year including archery and family Nerf battle nights.

For more information, contact Northampton United Methodist Church at 330-929-0015.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.

This video was first posted on February 10, 2016.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

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