Six magical days of faith
What’s a Bible school without a little magic?
Crane Community Chapel in Austin will feature traveling magician and minister Mel LaMar for its upcoming vacation Bible school. The school runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Aug. 12-17. The free program requires no advance registration.
“Every four years, we invite someone to come and conduct our Bible school. It provides variety,” said Roxanne Dunham, Christian education director at the church.
LaMar, who lives in Greeley, Colo., has been presenting magic shows for 35 years. His tours have brought him all over the U.S. and 16 other countries.
“The reason I do this is to be a magical minister and share the gospel with people,” LaMar said.
He describes his routine as a variety show. It features juggling, illusions, guitar playing and even ventriloquism, which he performs with his puppet, Hezekiah.
“It’s solo,” he said. “A one-man show.”
Still, a magician needs assistants. LaMar invites children from the audience to participate in some of the illusions.
LaMar said 99 percent of the shows he does are Christian ministry, though occasionally he will also do a birthday party in the Greeley area. LaMar also performs at camps, and evangelistic meetings for churches.
“The programs are all geared to share God’s love and the good news of the Bible,” he said.
LaMar will conduct the main portion of the Bible school, and will present for about 45 minutes each day, Dunham said. Apart from his show, the rest of the Bible school will mirror previous years, with snack time and activity periods where children participate in music and games.
“The purpose of our Bible school is so people can come to know Jesus as their lord and savior,” she said.
Friday Fun Nite will serve as the Bible school’s grand finale. There will be water wars and other carnival-esque games, plus snacks like hot dogs, ice cream cones and popcorn. The church will also present a variety of prizes for game winners. Dunham invites children to bring their parents and families to enjoy the festivities.
“We have just a fun carnival-type atmosphere,” Dunham said. “The kids come and they play games.”
Between the vacation Bible school and various Sunday school and mid-week children’s programs, the church has a lot to offer youth, Dunham said.
“I’ve been going to the church for 52 years,” she said. “Crane Chapel has always been very concerned about our children and our youth.”
But the Bible school isn’t limited just to Austin’s younger residents; the age range is all-inclusive. Dunham said those 3 and older are welcome to attend.
“Basically, we’re talking infant through adult,” she said. “That’s why we do it in the evening, so the entire family can participate.”
For those who want to attend but don’t have a way to the church, Crane Chapel can help.
“We provide transportation with our van,” Dunham explained. The transit option has received moderate use in the last few years, and the church’s two vans are typically able to accommodate everyone who needs a ride, she added.
LaMar said he has visited the Twin Cities, but has never visited anywhere in the Mower County area before.
“I’m looking forward to being in Austin and ministering to the kids there,” he said. “Should be a great time.”