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A Church Circus Celebration for New Year's Eve

posted by Tim Nafziger on 01/08/12 at 04:13 PM

Note:This post was incorrectly published in TMail on Martin Luther King Day. You can read the correct Martin Luther King Day post here.

This New Year's Eve I went to a circus gala. It was hosted by Fellowship of Hope in Elkhart, Ind., and featured performers from their community, local artists and Servants of the Street, a ministry on the south side of Elkhart. This was the second annual performance. I highly recommend it as a great family friendly way to spend New Year's Eve.


Carmen Kingsley (above on the right with MC Joanna Shenk) described the goal of the circus this way:

The idea behind the New Years Gala is to show the beauty of a theological concept. We try to explore different dimensions of that idea in a whimsical, and at the same time thoughtful way. The idea is to mobilize people to think of themselves differently (through performance and active participation from the audience) and to try different perspectives.

Thanks to Carmen for help with the captions below.

Strawberry biker

Jason (as a strawberry) and Maisha were part of the unicycle and bicycle parade that opened up the evening.


Each of the four elements: Earth, Air, Wind and Fire were played by different characters whose performances brought out different parts of their respective element. Nicole Bauman (above) played the role of fire.

Wind 1Tornado

Solomon Wiebe Powell played the wind (both photos above).

Misty water

Water surprised the audience with an unexpected shower.

Acrobat teeter totter

Neil Crumm and Carmen Kingsley were the earth elements and they performed a trapeze routine that highlighted the importance of balance.


Apostle Mario Villela (above), founding director of Servants of the Streets, did a puppet show with his puppet "Rocky" (below).

Rocky's momma

Rocky talks with Regina Villela.

Taste the rainbow

There were also clowns, named Hobo and Félicité who spent a lot of time looking for rainbows.

Sick clown

Eventually they found some rainbows in an unexpected place.

Spewing color

Turns out rainbow vomit is surprisingly fun.

Clowning around

And there was lots of good audience participation.

Dance party

There was lots of dancing with everyone getting involved. Margaret Delucany and Penny (in wheelchair) move to the music.

Singing Sparrow

Shaun from Servants of the Street, sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow."

O Holy Night

Heidi sings Oh Holy Night.


Mildred shares a poem (based on a Psalm).

Wide mouth frog

Arlie Yoder told a story about a wide-mouthed frog.


Jonny Shenk walking the slackline.

Thank you

Regina from Servants of the Streets sings "Thank You For Giving to The Lord" with other members of the ministry standing behind her.

You can see more of the photos from the evening here.

Nafziger_tim_2_thumbnail Tim Nafziger is passionate about gathering people with shared values to work together for change in our communities and our world. One such space is Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) where he works as interim assistant director. Tim lives with his wife Charletta in the Ojai Valley in southern California where they connect with Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministires. Tim has written chapters in Widening the Circle: Experiments in Christian Discipleship; Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change; and 118 Days: Christian Peacemaker Teams Held Hostage in Iraq. His photo portfolio is at You can follow Tim on Twitter at @tim_nafziger

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