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January 19, 2020
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Westfield Baptist Church

Jul 08 2019

While spending summers as director of a camp in Aroostook County, Maine (almost walking distance from New Brunswick, Canada) it is normal to perform in small area churches on Sunday mornings. Camp is closed from Friday night through Sunday afternoon each week, so weekend gigs are common.  This past weekend Sue and I did the morning service at Westfield Baptist Church.  Westfield is a tiny farming community of 509 people, give or take,, so we were blessed and a little surprised to see about 25 or 30 people at the service.

This was the church's first weekend after their long time pastor moved to Florida, so the first 'pulpit supply' had juggling, illusions, doves, a bunny and a variety of accompaniment music ranging from the black Gospel of Mahalia Jackson to the South American instrumental folk music of Cusco.  We have done shows for this congregation before, but always at a campground when the church had a camping weekend. This was my first time juggling in their sanctuary, and we were pleased with the congregation's acceptance and welcome of our unusual show/service.

When doing a show as part of a morning service, I try to give a little more depth to the message. This is no church picnic or, well, summer camp.  I included my juggling interpretations of the Apostle's Creed and Psalm 150.  These are two of my favorites, although not ones I get to include in every gig.  Of course, I included the shrinking/expanding head illusion, rabbit production and machete juggling just to have a little fun, but I was careful to make sure everyone knew they had been to church, too, by including the parable of the lost coin and the cut and restored rope.   

As often happens here, we spoke with many congregants after the service, and several of them had their own memories of the same camp I currently direct; It's been here for 86 years after all. One lady even recalled going to the old location.  That means she was a camper some time between 1933 and the early 1950's.  We meet fewer and fewer of these alumni, and her memories were as clear as if she had attended last week.

And I guess that's how it's supposed to be when camp ministry meets church ministry.  Life long memories and lifelong impact.  As our slogan goes: Life changing now and forever.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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