Monday, August 1, 2016

Notes from the Clown Tour by various clowns:

July 21, 2016 Carlie

Our first stop on our two week tour! We arrived at St. Timothy’s in Geneseo NY, around 3 o’clock. We were welcomed into a nice air conditioned church. We ran into a few problems with the sound as we were setting up but we figured it out! They provided us with cold cuts to make sandwiches while we talked with people from their congregation. Once it came time, we put on our makeup and started the service! We had incredible reactions to our service, the entire congregation there loved our cross made out of the boxes. And there were a ton of tears shed with communion! It was really nice to see how big of an impact we have on people who have never seen anything like this before! Once we had thanked everybody who came and took off our makeup we started loading up the trailer and went home with our host families! The entire day was a ton of fun and it was a great start to our two week tour!


July 21 2016 Footinator

When we were all done with the service, Josh Cameron and I went with our host to spend the night. There was no A/C in the house which kind of sucked but whatever. Our host mother, Joyce showed us around the house including the kitchen and our rooms. When we first saw our rooms Josh said “I have seniority” so he took the nicer rooms out of the 3. So I picked mine and so on. Cameron was the first one to point this out but there was this doll right behind my door in a box and honestly, I was scared out of my mind. I was awake for like an hour just thinking about it. If anyone of you have seen the movie Annabelle, that’s where it came from.


July 22, 2016 Bella

After we were dropped off at the church from the previous night, we traveled to a lake house that one of the congregation members offered us to visit and stay at for the day. We were able to swim, kayak, and reflect on what has happened to us so far on the tour. The second church we went to on our tour was The Town Line, Lutheran church in Alden, NY. Even though the church wasn’t air conditioned, we had a great time! The church provided a great dinner of lasagna and salad for us and it was so good that no one talked much during the meal, (That’s new for us). Getting on the makeup was a routine so there weren’t many problems there, but Mrs. L made sure to powder really well, so the makeup could stay with the heat. Once the service started, we knew we had to create a lot of energy, because the congregation was smaller than we were used to. During Preparation, the sign didn’t light up when Cameron pushed the button. We were thrown off for a minute, but the sign eventually lighted up towards the end of the song. I found that communion was really powerful for this service at the end when we were greeting people. Many people enjoyed the service and we received many positive comments. The host families were all nice and it’s easy to say that Alden was a very great second stop of our tour.




July 23, 2016 Cameron R

            On Saturday we went to Niagara falls, when we got in we went to see the falls from above than we went down an elevator to the bottom of the falls to the cave of winds.  We walked near the falls and got soaked on the hurricane deck which was really fun.  Than after the cave of winds we went to the other side of the falls.  We also saw a Canadian zip line than we went back to the van and went to Ohio.


Jul 24, 2016 Josh Foote

Today we performed our service at Pastor Amber’s old church, Christ the Redeemer in Ohio. Since the shape of the sanctuary was different from most churches, it took some getting used to but we did a good job adjusting. We also had to adjust to the praise song muting out in the middle of the dance which was exciting. After the service, we went to the Rock and Roll hall of fame. This was really cool because the building was so big and had so many floors, there was so much to do. The music was really good and the building had air conditioning so it was a really nice way to spend the day. After the hall of fame came the exciting part of the day. Right nearby the hall of fame was a dock where we could rent paddle boats. So of course we were going to do this. The boats held four people in it, so we divided the boats into the groups of, Josh, Amber, Bella, Carlie, and the other boat was, Jim, Andy, and both Camerons. So the boat with myself on it got all situated pretty quickly and we were waiting to be unhooked. As we were waiting, Jim, Andy and Cameron Rogers were already in the paddle boat and only Cameron Foote had to get into the boat on the same side as Mr. Roberts. I look over to my left and in slow motion, I see Cameron falling into the boat. At the same time, Mr. Robert’s face changes from happiness of the calming boat ride we were about to take, to a face of sheer terror that these will his last moments on earth. Cameron hits the boat and the whole thing pitches towards the side he and Mr. Roberts are on, and both are leaning over the side close to being flung into the water. Miraculously, the boat resets and becomes level again, but for the ensuing boat ride, everyone on that boat was scared they would at some point be submerged in the inlet. My boat had an awesome time listening to music and singing. Every time we passed the other boat, Mr. Roberts begged us to take him with us (See Cameron and Mr. Robert’s accounts for a complete description of the incident.) After all of this we went to a barbeque put on by one of the host families and we had a ton of food and we played game and it was so much fun. Then we went back to our house and played Apples to Apples before going to bed.


July 25, 2016 Cameron F.

On Monday we went to the Radefeld’s to go to the yacht club. When we first got to their neighborhood, everyone was shocked about how large these houses were. We were greeted with big smiles on their faces and was offered a tour around the house. Their house was so beautiful. Everything about it, was perfect. After we had the tour we talked for a bit then left to go to the yacht club. We got there and Cam Josh and I stayed in the pool while the others went to the Radefeld’s sailboat. We decided to play dodgeball in the pool with small beach balls. Josh set some rules and cheated a bit but for the most part, it was fun. The rest of our group, Carlie, Bella, Mrs. L, and Amber came back and wanted to play dodgeball with us. Mrs. L decided to be the judge. After we swam for a bit we had lunch. The Radefelds got subway for us which was good. After we ate we went to the boat to get ready to go sail. We turned the engine on and left the dock. Once we got to the waves sailing was so much fun. Josh and I were on the side of the boat hanging our legs off. It was fun because we kept getting soaked with all the waves splashing into the side if the boat. Bella was in the front of the boat but she still got significantly wet. 


July 27, 2016  Carlie

 We stayed at a hotel last night so we had a good breakfast with a lot of options! Once we got on the road we drove from Columbus Ohio, to Florence Kentucky and were greeted with a water main on the side of the road that said Florence ya’ll. We had some extra time once in Florence before we had to be at the church so we went to a nearby mall for a few hours, while Pa (Mr. Roberts) went and visited his grandson who is only a few months old! Bella and I went off and did our shopping, we found some pretty good deals! We had lunch in the food court, the place where the climax of the day occurred. So I order a sandwich from quiznos and I pay, it was $6.88 and I paid with a 10. She goes to give me my change and she gave me 3 ones and that’s all. So me being me I didn’t say anything because I was thinking well, maybe she really needs the extra 12 cents so I’ll let her have it. But I was still annoyed about it because she stole 12 cents from me. But oh well, so Bella and I move on with eating and then getting back to shopping. We were trying to kill time and walked into a store called Glitter, when we first went in we weren’t being serious about wanting to buy anything, but then we found the back of the store. They are an accessories store so there was a lot of jewelry and hair things. Both Bella and I found hair accessories to put in our clown costume! I got three bows because the bows I was using before were made out of duck tape and my hair kept getting stuck in it. As we walked out of the store we found Pastor Amber and soon the boys. We walked around together for a little bit waiting for Mrs. L. Once we found her we had to find the car, because she couldn’t remember where she had parked the car! But we found it pretty quickly! Once in the car, I told everyone the story of how I was robbed of 12 cents, and thanks to Josh I found out I wasn’t robbed by the cashier, I was robbed by my own stupidity. Apparently the change fell into a small bin and I was to take the change from the bin. But I didn’t see the change bin, so when Josh walked up behind me and saw the change he took it! But once he explained this to me, and I realized that I was just being a stupid blonde and missing a change bin, Josh gave me my 12 cents back! Once all of this was figured out, we drove to the church and set up our props and had a delicious dinner of lasagna, salad, and ice cream! When we were unloading props we were informed of all the ghosts that lived in the church. So while putting on our makeup we encountered the ghosts. We were listening to music and the speaker was going in and out turning on and off. Bella thought the ghosts were responsible for this so she said, “if you’re a ghost and you’re in here, turn the speaker off” and it turned off! We all ran screaming scared out of our minds. Later we find out that the speaker was going in and out because we were in the basement so the Bluetooth connection wasn’t very good. And the speaker turned off when Bella told it too because Josh was in the other room and heard her say it so he turned the speaker off through the Bluetooth connection. And even though we all knew that the ghosts were not responsible for the speaker turning off we all were very cautious the rest of the night, looking out for ghosts. Soon after the ghost encounter Pa arrived at church and told us how cute his grandson was! Then it came time for the service to start, it went well with only a few bumps. It came time for the confession/forgiveness part to start (the part with the hearts) and we all have our black hearts on, Josh is already starting to walk up front. Bella goes to make sure all the clean hearts light up and only one does! Mrs. L was able to get new batteries in time but we learned a lesson, always check to make sure the hearts light up before the service starts! Lucky for us it was only dead batteries this time. The rest of the service went fine, and the crowd got up and danced and clapped with us which was really fun! This church has their own clown troupe so when Bella and I went home with our family we watch a video of their clown service. It was a cool service, we have similar parts because their troupe started based off of ours, but there were also some parts that were different. They were a little less serious at parts then we were, but it was still a cool service and it was fun to watch it!  


July 27, 2016 Mrs. L

We aren’t even half thru tour and we have collected wonderful memories.  Churches have been very welcoming and the members have made us feel like family.  Yesterday I had most unusually greeting that I have ever experienced at a church.  The second person that I met as I was entering the church I was greeted by an officer from the TN State Bomb Squad.  I thought that he was there to check our truck and van because we were foreigners from the north.  He didn’t stay long and the problem had been resolved before we arrived.

This church also has their own clown ministry and it was a very nice feeling for me to know that people that I had worked with as teenagers had spread this ministry to other churches.


July 27, 2016 Bella

Carlie and I woke up and were greeted with a great number of options for breakfast provided by our host family. Soon after, we headed for the church, and then back on the road to Michigan for our service in American Lutheran Church. We stopped for lunch along the way at Taco Bell, and everyone bought frosties in Wendy’s after lunch. When we arrived at the church, Pastor Amber told us to stay near the car while she found the pastor and asked the questions about where we can set up and other little things. Getting out of the van was usually easy, but for Carlie, today was different. Carlie fell out of the van, but was caught on the seat. So her head and half of her body were swinging out of the van. I nearly fell because I was laughing so hard. We all got pictures and then we helped her up. But as Mrs. L came around with her phone, we realized she didn’t get a picture. So Carlie put herself into the position again, only this time, she was holding the old frostie cup…and it was spilling down her shirt. She sits up and chocolate is all down her shirt! We then walked into the church and Mrs. L helped get the stain out. The church was holding a barbeque to help raise awareness for homelessness, and I found it to be very inspiring. We all ate burgers, hot dogs, and cookies before returning to the room to get ready. While putting the makeup on, a girl walked in and said she wanted some make up. So we put a cross and a smiley face on her cheeks. This led to many kids wanting make up, so Mrs. L told them to go outside and find it. I think eventually they gave up looking. During the sermon, we couldn’t find one of the boxes that make up the wall and the cross. It was hidden behind something so it never made it up for the wall. The box was brought to the front during the reading, so we had it for the cross, but I think we all were a little bummed that the wall wasn’t even. Everything else in the service went really well, and the congregation seemed to love the service. After cleaning up, Carlie, Pastor Amber, and I went home to our host family and actually finished a puzzle. I took some breaks because I couldn’t figure out how to do it at some points, but it was finished eventually.


July 28, 2016       Carlie

The adventures of the day started very early in the morning today! Around 2 o’clock in the morning I was really cold so being half away I reach for my blanket. And I go to put the blanket on me but it doesn’t cover me completely some I’m thinking to myself, my blanket it big why doesn’t it cover me? So I open my eyes and realize I’m not in my bed! I had somehow moved! So let me just backtrack a minute and paint you a picture of where we were sleeping. So if you’re looking into a living room Bella is asleep on a couch very far left against the wall. And then Amber and I were asleep on foam pads and sleeping bags. Amber was about 3 feet to the right of the couch and then I was next to her on the right side. So I had gotten out of bed and moved around Amber to in between Amber and Bella! How? I’m not sure, I didn’t know that I sleep walked until that moment! But once I realized I had moved I got up and went back to where I was supposed to be sleeping and slept there the rest of the night. When the morning came and it was time for breakfast we had toast and fruit! We didn’t eat very much because it was early morning, we had to be at church by 7 in the morning, luckily the women we were staying with only lived two blocks from the church! Once we were all at the church we packed up the cars and went on our way! A little while into the drive we stopped at a gas station and Bella and I bought a bag of Hostess Donuts! Not long after we bought them and were back in the car most of them had been consumed, most of those consumed were by me and the sugar started to kick in. I got hyper pretty fast and started on a sugar high. Bella had mentioned that she wanted to learn how to yodel so I decided that that was the time to show off my yodeling skills and teach everyone how to yodel! So I yodeled a few times and then moved on with the process of eating the rest of the donuts. At one point I was looking out the window and looked back in the car and saw the bag donuts saying, “Oh look! Donuts!” and Bella’s response to that was, “Oh Carlie, you have the attention span of a walnut”. And then while eating one of the donuts I turned to Bella saying, “Bella, there’s a hole in my donut” and she started laughing because obviously there was going to be a hole in my donut. So I had to be more descriptive and said, “There’s an extra hole in the cake part of my donut” and then she understood but we all got a good laugh out of it. Once we got to a rest area we had to tell the tales of everything that happened while in the car with the donuts and Pa’s response was, “Why didn’t you call me as everything was happening? I want to be able to hear everything as it happens!” So we’ve all agreed that when we have fun crazy moments like those in the car we’ll call each other to share the excitement as it’s in action! We made good time and ended up getting to the church a half hour early but luckily there was someone there to let us in! We set up our things and were really hot so we were all standing outside in the rain. Josh comes up the hill limping and we’re all thinking uh oh, what happened. Turns out he got stung by something, we think it was a hornet. He was able to do the service and his ankle is feeling better now, but when it first happened it was really swollen! When it came time for dinner we were fed fajitas and salad! Both were really delicious! While putting on our makeup we met one an eight year old named Nina, she told us all about her birthday party, and it’s going to be at a bird museum! While we were doing the service she drew us a bunch of pictures, one of which will be the bulletin cover for Sunday August 7! While we were doing the sermon part of the service with the boxes and building the cross Josh got hurt again! I was putting the black rod in the love box and hit Josh in the nose with it. It only took of some makeup and skinned his nose luckily, but I felt really bad. The rest of the service went fine, and we foudn out that when talking to the vicar that 1/3 of the people who came to our service didn’t go to the church, they were just members of the community that came to watch us! That was a great feeling for all of us knowing that members of the community came to the church, some of whom were members of a different religion. They came just to see us, even though they didn’t follow the same religious guidelines as us!


July 29, 2016 Josh Foote

Right now we are in the car. I am practicing typing without looking at the keyboard. I am typing slowly but I hope to type fast this way eventually. The ride is somewhat boring but the views are really nice. I am now going to type what I see as we drive without looking at the screen to practice. I just edited every word in that sentence because I messed it up so many times. Right now, we can see many hills and trees as we drive downhill. There is a sign that says Super Store for something I’m not sure about. The truck with the trailer is kind of far behind but they always catch up. For some reason, there is always construction on these roads. From Kentucky to Michigan to Ohio to Pennsylvania, there is so much work that needs to be done on these roads. I just took a break for a little bit.  Not much has changed over the last few miles. Now we are stopping for gas because Terry’s truck with the clown trailer doesn’t get great gas mileage. Now we are back on the road and we are in a tunnel and there is a truck ahead of us. We are under a mountain and soon we will not be. We see the light. Now we are free. The views on this side of the mountain are even better. Many mountains in the distance with that muted teal color of a forest far away. I think I have done enough practice typing for the day, and I will resume after the service we have tonight. We are in a tunnel again and both girls won’t breathe any oxygen because they are strangely superstitious and both might pass out. We made it out of the tunnels alive so all is good.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Almost the End


Today is our last full day in Ireland. After spending the last 6 days on buses we are going to have a lazy day. A short walk down into Galway, shopping, taking in the sights and perhaps a meal or two, then we come back to the US tomorrow.


Over the last week we have seen many abbeys and castle towers, beautiful landscapes and rugged cliffs, peat bogs, and lots of sheep and cows. Through it all we’ve had lots of laughs, told many stories and have appreciated the food and the friendliness of the Irish people.


As we come to a close – a thought or two. I am struck by the history of Ireland especially the many struggles that formed this people and land. From the Vikings to the Anglo-Normans, to Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army, to the modern British Empire Ireland was under the thumb of those from outside. Even on gaining partial independence as the Irish Free State trouble continued with the Irish Civil War followed by the Anglo-Irish Economic War.


Only relatively recently in human history has Ireland emerged fully free and relatively prosperous. Given the history it is remarkable that the Irish are so welcoming and hospitable to outsiders.


Through it all the times of trouble there was one abiding factor – the strong backbone of faith. What a reminder for all – strength, and hope found in Christ.


Jeff Silvernail

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunday In Ireland

Sunday in Ireland
Singing and playing at the Hilltop Pub


What a fun day! We started out with a wonderful service at St. John’s in Kill. All in all about 100 worshippers attended. I’m told that this is the most in recent memory except for perhaps a funeral. As folks were coming in I was doing my usual welcoming and one of the arrivals said, “Oh, are you from this parish?” And I thought my American accent would give me away.


I was privileged to be able to preach and as a warm up in the sermon I had the rector, Philip pick either a Yankees or a Red Sox hat. He couldn’t decide. Bishop Roy was there, he suggested in fashion of Solomon that Philip take both and wear them on alternate days. “Not allowed,” I said – since no one can be a fan of both. Philip chose the Yankee hat. Before the Yankee fans gloat too much, I gave him the information that the Yankees are known as the “Evil Empire”!


Later in the evening at the Hilltop Pub in Kildorrery, as we were listening to the Hilltop Hobos, a band that Don’s son often plays with, I was invited to come up and play during their break. So I had my debut playing the pub circuit in Ireland. Great memories!


Jeff Silvernail

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 5 - Wrapping Up

Day 5 – Wrapping Up


The finished chancel
Yesterday we all had a delightful day in Dublin each doing different things so be sure to ask us about our adventures. But today it was back to work. In fact today was the big day trying to bring all of our projects to completion. I am happy to say that St. John’s sanctuary looks marvelous. In fact all day long neighbors who had heard about our progress were coming in to see the transformation. We even had had the local newspaper come and take our picture.


In the evening the local history society had a walking lecture for our benefit and it was followed by tea in the Roman Catholic Church’s parish house.


Tomorrow the women of the church put up the harvest decorations. (Sunday is Harvest Day, something similar to our Thanksgiving.) We will go to Kill in the morning, but the paint brushes and weed-wackers have been put away. We will do some final clean up and assist in the decorating.


One thing that several people noticed and commented on today. God called us and equipped our team with just the right mix of gifts and talent to accomplish what we were called to do. It is amazing to see God’s hand at work and a privilege to be able to serve.


Pastor Jeff Silvernail


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Realization - Day 4

Day 4 A Realization


We had a very productive day at St. John Kill. The main color in the chancel area of the sanctuary was finished and it looks fabulous. The brass is polished, the wood is cleaned and oiled. We refinished the front door and painted the iron railings at the entrance. Brush was cut and hauled away. And we had fun doing it!

Infrared Heaters

In the evening some of our group went to a Wednesday prayer and reflection service at St. David in Naas and some of us went to a tea hosted by the Garland’s at their beautiful home.


One thought for today. Where we are working, at St. John’s in Kill, there is no running water. There are no toilets. There is no central heating and certainly no central air. Parking is limited. There is no sound system. And if you want a cushion on you pew you better bring it yourself!


But there is the presence of God and the love and support of the congregation. For hundreds of years people have gathered under those seemingly harsh conditions for worship but they have come to experience God in their midst and to live out that loving presence as a congregation.

Pew cushion

And for that I say, “Thanks be to God.”


Pastor Jeff Silvernail

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 3 Blog - Giftedness

2 Corinthians 9:6-8


Being able to do calligraphy means sometimes working in places
that are a bit out one's comfort zone!
Members of POP, it is with great joy that I write to you about the wonderful experiences we are having during this mission trip to Ireland to work on St John’s Church, Kill.


We came here to give the gift of helping restore an old village church. I didn’t know what specific gifts I could offer or what gifts the other members of the team could offer. I knew we could offer the love of Christ and hard work. But restore an old church? Apparently, I am really good at polishing old wood and brass along with Monica, Tina, Linda, Barbara, Diane, and Nancy. Pastor Jeff, Jim, Doug, and Barbara are excellent painters. Don is wonderful with a weed wacker in the rain and holding the ladder for safety. Jim loves to trim bushes and Tina has calligraphy skills- thank goodness. God has certainly blessed us with an abundance of gifts to share with our Ireland friends on this mission.


In return, several of our Ireland hosts have worked laboriously beside us sharing their skills. Many of them, though, have other things to attend to such as jobs, children, other volunteer work, or perhaps a health issue that prevents them working beside us. However, the gifts they have provided us is more than any of us could have ever expected. They have opened their homes to us, cooked for us, entertained us, did I mention cooked for us? There is breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, WOW is all I can say. They are certainly some of the most wonderful and gracious people I have ever met. You know it is not a  sense of duty that they are doing this for the Americans, but it is a true gift from God that they have offered us so much of themselves: their time, talents, and generosity and that they do so gladly, as we work gladly on their church.
Peace Be With You, Deacon Robin Domm

Monday, September 16, 2013

Connection - Ireland Day 2



We’ve only been here two days and I already see connections. Many of the church members we’ve met have visited the States. One family had spent several years in Brooklyn while the father earned at Columbia.  Several folks had been to New York, although it was New York City and not upstate. There is a family from St. David’s with a  connection to a family from Oregon. The daughter, enjoys making cupcakes,  something she learned from a friend in the States.

Many people had ancestors who migrated from Ireland to America. In a twist, one woman’s great grandmother  came to America but went back to Ireland for a family gathering but never returned to the States.


As we paint and do clean up activities, we are making connections of a differ sort. Paint will fade and clean ups will have to be repeated. However it is my hope that the friendships we make during this mission trip will be long lasting. Wouldn’t it be nice if ten or twenty years from now, the people the Naas congregations think of us and talk about our visit? I’m quite sure our mission group will do the same.


Jim Greenfield

Written from Naas, Ireland

16 Sept 2013