Step forward with your talents! Richard G did that, 22 years ago, when he wrote a series of plays about Bible stories for “Summer Sundays.” Now this program is an integral and much-loved staple of the Christian education program at PUMC.
Kids love it. Who wouldn’t? Older children get to dress up in costumes (we have a fabulous costume stash) and use their thespian talents. They don’t have to memorize lines — they read through the script once on Sunday morning and then they perform it. Young ones do a craft that relates to the play and then get to watch the play. Plus, of course, refreshments.
Going by the maxim that we learn 10 percent of what we hear and 80 percent of what we experience, these thespians surely will remember these Bible stories. Some 50 skits are rotated from year to year. This year’s focus is on women in the Bible: Queen Esther, Miriam (Moses’ sister and prophetess), Ruth, and Mary Magdalene. Also — King Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, Jesus and the Demon Pig, The Christmas Donkey (a donkey who accompanied the Kings through the desert) and a new one, yet to be written, about Peter in prison.
The cast changes weekly, of course, due to family vacation schedules. Richard officially ‘retired’ from active duty three years ago, and this year’s Summer Sunday supervisors, Ed F and Andrew H, with help from Ian G, contact each prospective thespian every week, so they have a cast list in mind. Walk-ins and visiting children are encouraged. Just bring your ready-to-read child or visitor to Rooms 204/205 at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, now through August 24.
Meanwhile, young children and older kids who aren’t in the play come to Room 202 for crafts, creatively devised in the early years by Cindy G and then Laura F to coordinate with the Bible story. Then, during her freshman and sophomore years in high school, as part of earning her Girl Scout Gold Award, Elizabeth T designed the crafts to echo a wide variety of Bible stories and ran the program when Laura wasn’t there. Now Elizabeth is assembling a catalog of the plays.
What can be more fun than dressing up and acting out? Or of watching your child do it? Hint: parent volunteers welcomed and needed! Helping in the craft room at Summer Sundays is a perfect volunteer opportunity, a one-week-at-a-time commitment and there’s rarely any prep required. We’d love to give our long-time regular teachers a summer break! The signup sheet is on the bulletin board next to the Library.
When you ask Richard about how he used his talents for Christ’s service, he is self-effacing, downplaying his role, saying it was a family project, with the four of them (Cindy and the now-grown Heather and Rory) doing craft cut-outs in front of the TV and making suggestions on the stories. “”Peggy Fullman asked me once where I get the ideas. I told her I honestly don’t know; when I need an idea, it pops up. Peggy said I’m letting God in, and what comes out is His, slightly filtered through a mortal brain. I’ll go with that.”
Surely the rest of us are harboring unused talent and abilities. What talent or idea is God filtering through our mortal brains?
This article appears in the August newsletter. Above, an archival photo. Below, picture taken by Charles P a couple of Sundays ago.