Holy Humor Books
How to celebrate Holy Humor SundayAs reported to The Fellowship of Merry Christians:
At the second annual Holy
Humor Sunday service of Coloma (Ml) United Methodist Church, the pulpit was
decorated with a
A Lighten Up parament. It was created by Mary Ann Bower of Coloma, with the assistance
of Rev. David F. Hills.
Pastor Hills wrote:
for the joy [The Joyful Noiseletter] brings to the world, and for
the consistent challenge you put before me to 'lighten
upí a bit. All my usual liturgical resources were written by serious people --
more the work of overly pious professionals than a joy-filled people."
High on Easter joy
The First Presbyterian Church of Winter Haven, FL, held its third annual
Bright Sunday celebration last April. " I take
great delight in planning the service with the Worship and Music Committee, and
serving as worship leader."
people enjoy it greatly, and so many look forward to its celebration each year,"
said Rev. C. Alan Harvey.
Here are some of the things the church did:
observance in the newsletter and newspaper articles, inviting people to dress in
their brightest colors for worship.
Reprinted "The Risen Christ by the Sea"
(in black-and-white) on the cover of the church bulletin.
The bell choir
played for a prelude, "Dry Bones" -- a very spirited piece with dialogue,
singing, and sound effects.
invited to bring various cut flowers and to place these on a wooden cross
covered with wire, transforming it into a glorious floral cross.
yellow balloons with the words "Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!"
were placed in the windows and in the chancel area, along with some smiley face
balloons. The choir processed in carrying beautiful jewel-colored balloons.
childrenís sermon, Rev. Harvey taught them the song "Iím Gonna Sing"
(See p.16 of "Songs"
by Yohann Anderson), adding the lines, "Jesus
scattered fear and gloom, when He came out of the tomb."
Each child then selected an Easter egg filled with candy from a basket.
A soloist sang "Gather Gladness from the Skies"
by Charles Callahan, with the refrain, "Make each morn an Easter Day."
The sermon was
entitled "Getting High with Easter
Joy" and was based on Luke 24:1-9 and
Ephesians 2:4-7. It incorporated humorous stories and jokes.
The service was
framed musically with "Hymn to Joy."
The congregation began by singing an Easter hymn, "Christ is Risen! Shout Hosanna!"
and concluded by singing "Joyful,
Joyful We Adore Thee."
"Christ is Risen! Alleluia!" were
distributed to worshipers as they left the service "as a reminder that Easter joy lifts
us from doubts, despair, and death."
Uninflated balloons with
An upside-down service
Rev. Susan Hamilton, pastor of Parkside Community Church -United Church
of Christ, wrote: "I am still
receiving comments about our second annual Holy Humor Sunday celebration."
"I placed my
collection of joyful Jesus pictures around the altar, along with large smiley
faces on the paraments and on balloons in the chancel arrangements.
"While everyone was
invited to dress as crazy as they liked, it was the choir who really outdid
themselves by arriving in bathrobes instead of their regular choir robes. They
sang, 'Are You Dressed for the
Wedding?' by Martin/Angerman, while the youth blew bubbles from little bottles.
worship service began with the postlude and benediction, and proceeded in
free-form order to the ending invocation and prelude. During the 'joke breaks' in the service (noted by
happy faces in the bulletin), as I traveled the aisles with a cordless
microphone, humor was shared by many members, ranging from a five-year-old to an
"At the conclusion of
the service, we released and let drop the 100 colorful balloons suspended from
the ceiling. Everyone left worship in the most joyful and spirited manner that
Iíve ever seen in my six years of serving here! Shouldnít that be the way we
leave Godís house every week?
"Thank you for the
information and inspiration for this truly unique worship experience, and for
leading the way in recapturing Christís Spirit."
Blessings of joy
Central Wesleyan Church in Jackson, MI, held its first Holy
Humor Sunday service last April, and it was so successful the church plans
an-other one this year. Dr. Brad Snyder, the pastor, reported:
"We purchased some of
the posters of 'The Risen Christ by
the Sea' and wallet-size prints, and gave them out to everyone in attendance. My
secretary created banners with many of the one-liners we found in JN and
placed them all over the walls of the sanctuary, foyer, and entrance to the
"We gave out plastic
eggs, with each containing a joke, to all who attended, along with a place mat
provided by our local hospital on the benefits of humor and laughter.
"I selected 10 people
to read their jokes at various times in the service. My sermon was about 50%
funny stories and jokes. People laughed whom I had never seen laugh before. I
can honestly say that the Lord greatly blessed that day."
It was a great day!
Pastor Bob Thompson of Corinth Reformed United of Church of
Christ in Hickory, NC, reported that his churchís Holy Humor Sunday service last
"once again attracted much
higher-than-usual post-Easter attendance. It was a great day!"
Ideas incorporated into the service included:
Participation in the
service by the churchís A Class of Joy@
C mentally challenged adults.
The sermon on "Joy"
began a nine-part series on "The
Fruits of the Spirit."
Each offering plate
was lined with one of Thompson's neckties in honor of the little boy who told
his Daddy he was going to do what the preacher said: "Bring your ties and offerings."
"Each year our
Humor Sunday celebration seems to get better and better,"
reported Rev. Karl R. Kraft, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Mantua,
NJ. For last yearís celebration, the churchís talented members produced a
33-minute video based on the popular "Survivor"
It was called
"Survivor: the Mantua United Methodist Church Experience,"
and "the object of our version was to
be the last one to survive the church,"
Kraft said. "I was the first one
The video aimed to show that (contrary to the TV series)
"the first shall be last and the last
shall be first" (Mark 9:35).
Contestants were challenged to engage in church-related
activities in order to survive the church.
challenges" included eating as many
cookies as possible during the after-church coffee hour, and staying longer than
anyone else in a nursery filled with screaming and crying children. After each
event, someone was voted out of the game, until there was only one survivor.
A video projector and a movie screen were used to show the film
to the congregation during the service.
"I canít remember the last time they laughed so hard!"
We are Easter people
Excerpts from last yearís Holy Humor Sunday sermon by Pastor
Dick Dinges of Lynnehaven Colony Congregational Church in Virginia Beach, VA:
perspective, on the other hand, is positively joyful. Christians are Easter
people. Because of Easter, we have the knowledge, the faith, the hope, and the
relationship with the Lord that can turn sadness into gladness.
We can face the world
and the circumstances of life with eternal optimism because we see the good that
is coming. We will all be reunited in Christ. Nothing can separate us from the
love of God!
Peter Marshall said, "Letís not live another day as if He
were dead." Today I have chosen to celebrate Holy Humor Sunday. Laughter is a
sign that we are filled with Godís blessings."
A very joyful Sunday
Rev. Mark Geisthardt, pastor of the United Methodist Church of
Bloomer, WI, reported that last year his church used materials in past issues of
[The Joyful Noiseletter] to put on
"a very joyful
Holy Humor Sunday."
"We hadnít heard the laughter of the Holy Spirit that much during a
morning worship service for many years. You can bet weíll do it again in 2002"
The above comments were published in The Joyful Noiseletter,
Vol. 17, No. 3, March 2002, a publication of The Fellowship of Merry
Christians -- on the web at
ongoing information and resources on how many churches of all denominations are
celebrating Holy Humor Sunday this April and future Eastertides, you may
subscribe to The Joyful Noiseletter by calling toll-free:
1-800-877-2757 or ordering from the Fellowship of Merry Christians' web site:
increasingly popular print, 'The Risen Christ by the Sea,' and
the books, Holy Humor and More Holy Humor (which
also offer tips on how to celebrate Holy Humor Sunday) may also be ordered
from the Fellowship.