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Puppets and Creative Ministry04-27-2009
By Megan O'Donovan, Kingswood UMC
My family started coming to Kingswood United Methodist Church when I was in fifth grade, and my sister was in first. I am currently a freshman at Buffalo Grove High School, and in my third year as a member of Glory Fingers Creative Ministry Team. Before coming to Kingswood, I attended First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights. I was a member of their small puppet team with an age requirement of third grade or older. We worked very little on lip synch technique and not at all on any sign language or dowel rods, and we rarely performed for the congregation. Nonetheless, it was the spark that got me interested in puppets.
When we switched to Kingswood, I was eager to join their puppet team and was disappointed to find out about the Glory Fingers' seventh grade age minimum. After two years of anxiously awaiting being old enough, I joined the team and discovered that it was much more involved than I had thought. I devote two hours every Tuesday night to lip synch, arm rod manipulating, sign language, and dowel rod choreography.
But it wasn't--isn't--just a fun thing to do on Tuesday night. I've made lots of friends on the team, and recruited a few of my friends from church to join. Some of my friends on the team are closer to me than many of my friends at school. There is a strong sense of camaraderie on the team as a whole. Everyone encourages, helps, and coaches everyone else--it's like a family.
And the team hasn't only helped me make friends, but it's helped me to have a stronger relationship with God. We open and close every practice with prayer, and before we pick up a puppet, we have a devotion. It helps remind me that I'm a Christian every day, not just Sunday. And the Bible tells us that we're supposed to be Christ to the world and take God's word out, but I didn't really know how to do that. Glory Fingers is a way for me to spread God's word and have fun at the same time. After every performance, someone tells us they've been touched by what we've done and they can see the Holy Spirit working in us; and that's our goal for every performance: to touch at least one person in the audience.
Our performances contain many different types of ministry, and the team director, Sheri Brubeck, is always coming up with a new way to "puppetize" a song. We do choreography with the puppets, which is often intricate and includes a lot of moving around in small spaces. We also use interpretive sign language and choreography with 3 foot dowel rods. Something else we use a lot is black light. Puppeteers dressed in all black, with black hoods and gloves, will not be seen under black light and can therefore do all kinds of amazing things with props. Our musicals do look really cool, but hiding under all that sparkle is God's message. On April 26 at 9 A.M. and 4 P.M. we will present our spring musical at Kingswood, in which Louisiana Jones and his sidekick Elkhart discover the Forgotten Path. So join us in celebrating our 15th year!
By Sheri Brubeck, Director
Glory Fingers 2009 Memorial Day weekend trip will be to Armbrust Christian Academy in Armbrust, PA. The team was invited by the sister of Kingswood UMC member, Neil Baltz, whose son attends the academy. Seven churches feed into the school which is offering the show free of charge to the community with a goal of improved fall enrollment.
We leave Friday, May 22 and plan to arrive back at KUMC by dinnertime Monday, May 25. It will be a hectic weekend as we present our "Louisiana Jones" musical three times in 19 hours! One of the best aspects of the trip is that our trip expenses will be funded almost entirely by the love offerings we have received at our outreach presentations over the past year.
Our special thanks to the Harkess Family for sponsoring our trip t-shirts & Armbrust Academy for sponsoring our lodging! Please pray for safe travels for the team!
The team will take a well deserved summer break but is looking to book some fall outreach presentations. Please email Sheri with any leads at email@example.com. Watch for details in August for new puppeteer orientation and our fall kick-off!