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'Christ Clown College' Article about Trinity Lutheran, Lewisburg Published in Dayton Daily News


By Shirley Belcher
Contributing Writer

Clowns have the skill of laughter. It is a gift of love. “I have always loved comedy, even as a youngster,” said Pastor Brent Cavendish of Trinity Lutheran Church, 511 N. Commerce St., Lewisburg.

Clown College Trinity LewisburgHe is also known as Willy Nilly, a graduate of the Life in Christ Circus of Omaha, Neb., and a graduate of the Red Skelton Clown School of Vincennes, Ind. “Our teachers were former Ringling Brother’s clowns from their former clown college. Karen Bell was my favorite teacher. She is just a wonder and a laugh riot. If I could ever be as good as she is then I would have accomplished something very special.

[Pictured are Pastor Brent Cavendish as Willy Nilly (front) with (standing, from left) Karen Sink, Geri Schick and Sharon Combs of Christ Clowns make people laugh and spread a ministry.]

“I miss performing with my Omaha troupe, and I have only been doing solo work since I moved here to Lewisburg in 2002. I don’t know why, but the timing seemed right to try my hand as boss clown and teacher.”

The Life in Christ Circus is a clown ministry troupe founded in 1977 in St. Petersburg, Fla., and led by Dick Hardel. Eagan, Minn.; Omaha, Neb,; and Orlando, Fla., are three performing units of the Life in Christ Circus. Over the past few years a new unit has been established near Dziegielow, Poland. They are presently working to develop units in Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Mexico and in the Philippines.

The Life in Christ Circus has shared the Gospel throughout North America and in Eastern Europe, Central America, Africa and Australia.

Christ Clowns will bring this unique ministry to nursing homes, hospitals, children’s hospitals, schools, civic organizations, disaster areas, in congregations, on street corners, in parks or in the malls. They work with the handicapped, the elderly, and the young.

The course will cover the basics of juggling, makeup, clown magic, balloon artistry, skit writing and performing. Students Karen Sink, Sharon Cook, Deborah Flory and Geri Schick wants to make people laugh and spread a ministry about God by reaching out with love and humility. They will earn their own clown names.

Applications for the Christ Clown College will be taken through December 16, 2013. Call Trinity Lutheran Church at (937) 962-2741 and ask for Reverend Willy or email