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Franklin Tower

Sep 30 2019

Franklin Tower is the tallest apartment building in Maine, and, with the exception of a couple of church spires, the tallest building in the state.  Technically, the former St. Patrick's church in Lewiston and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception are higher, but it is their spires that put them only slightly ahead of the top of the 16 story Franklin Tower overlooking the ocean in Portland.  I knew none of this when I got a call a while ago to do a show for the 50th anniversary of the tower.  

Franklin Tower was built in 1969 as a low income housing project, which it continues to be today.  Recently, a certain percentage of all the apartments have to go to homeless people, and it was the resident counsel of this community that decided to hire the Supreme Court Jesters for their anniversary celebration.  

Our first challenge was parking, but it took just one trip around the block to find a spot within reasonable walking distance of the venue.  After checking in with one of the resident counsel members, I headed back to the car.  A jovial Asian resident offered to help me bring in my props and I gladly accepted his help.  It turns out his name is Hugh, and he was an American war baby from Vietnam.  His dad lives in Florida, and Hugh has been in the states for 20 years.

Sue and I set up our props in a room adjacent to the community room where the banquet was to be held.  The banquet was catered by KFC!  (The Res. Counsel rep who initially called me told me "Our folks like their KFC.')  I don't think there's any more I need to say about that: I'm sure you've all had KFC, so I'll decline critiquing the food.  It was a fun time of sharing a meal and visiting with some of the residents, though.  

Initially, I was concerned about doing a Gospel show for a city sponsored event.  In fact, when the meal was over, the president of the Portland Housing Authority spoke.  In addition, several of the tenants wore the traditional Muslim hijab. I did not want to offend anyone or get the ones who hired me in trouble. However, the counsel- who the tenants voted in -saw fit to hire us, and I was assured it would be no problem.  

The show was very well received by all; In fact, I think some of the Islamic women laughed the hardest at some of the humorous parts.  Also, the gentleman who first contacted me about the show was actually in the hospital at that time, and the entire show was simulcast to his room.  I also learned afterwards that one of the gentleman in the front row was a Jewish immigrant who spent time in a concentration camp as a child.   In fact, the audience was, not surprisingly, very ethnically diverse.  Yet they are a all living together in the 16 story Franklin Towers, and there was a true sense on community there.  And I know God's Word will not return void.

 

A Few Testimonies Minimize

 

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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