‘Dunk a pastor’ new at Faith Day

Event offers fun for all

Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec Pastors participating in Christian Family Faith Day, and in the “Dunk a Pastor” dunking booth, include (from left) Aaron Jeffery, Eric Shafer, Karen Telyea and Benjamin Crum. Eight area pastors are planning to take part in the dunking booth Aug. 26.

TYRONE — Pastors in the Tyrone area are hoping the last Saturday in August will be warm and sunny.

It’s the date of the annual Christian Family Faith Day, and eight of them already know that no matter what the weather, they are going to get wet.

The pastors are participants in the event’s new “Dunk a Pastor” Dunking Booth.

Pastor Karen Telyea of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sinking Valley said she responded “absolutely” when asked to be part of the event because she believes in its benefactor.

All the proceeds go to support ELM (Every Life Matters) pregnancy support center in Tyrone.

Donations will be requested for people to try their hand at dunking a pastor.

“I am hoping to raise a lot of money (for ELM),” said Pastor Eric Shafer, who leads Church of the Good Shepherd and Warriors Mark United Methodist churches.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Youth Pastor Aaron Jeffery of Grace Baptist Church, who added that it’s a way for pastors to show they like to have fun while helping a good cause.

Fun is what Faith Day is all about.

It will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 26 in downtown Tyrone and is sponsored by Tyrone Events and Promotions and Tyrone Area Cooperative Ministries. In addition, a closing service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at Tyrone Alliance with Pastor Carl Schmidt providing the message.

Now in its sixth year, Faith Day provides a way for the community to come together to share and celebrate the Christian faith.

“It is amazing how God has worked out this event,” said Sue Griep, event chairman. “He has provided every step of the way to the point I expect to see this event still going strong years from now.”

In addition to local musicians, it will feature Karen Knight, inspirational speaker, singer and former lead actress for Sight and Sound Theatres in Lancaster.

Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. will introduce Knight after sharing some thoughts at 11:45 a.m. She will sing patriotic, gospel and inspirational songs interspersed with stories.

Using props and costumes, Knight will give a light-hearted rendition of Mrs. Noah and a story/drama of the Waldensians, Christians who lived in the Italian Alps for centuries and settled in the mountains of North Carolina in 1893.

Having portrayed Mrs. Noah on the Sight and Sound stage, Knight said: “She is a fascinating character, but little is said about her in the Bible. We don’t even know her name.”

Knight said she believes Mrs. Noah had “an incredible sense of humor and an amazing faith. To get through what she had to get through, she had to hold onto the hand of the Lord the whole time.”

Her other theatrical segment is based on work she did for an audio tour of the Waldensian Trail of Faith in Valdese, N.C., at the request of former North Carolina Sen. Jim Jacumin.

Knight explained that the Waldensians were faithful Christians centuries before the Reformation in 1517. They lived in the Italian Alps and continued to read their Bibles and maintain their faith despite their actions being punishable by death for more than 400 years.

“Even though it meant massacre, torture and eventual exile, they survived as a people because of a deeply rooted faith in God and the undaunted courage inspired by loyalty to the Bible and the truth it contains,” she said. They founded Valdese, and the trail there includes monuments and buildings that represent their history.

“It gives you goosebumps to hear their true stories,” she said.

The stage where Knight and others will perform has been named the Rev. Norman Huff Memorial Christian Music Stage as a way to remember the active area pastor who died last year. A taped version of a special song by Huff will open the stage. It will be followed by Schmidt giving a message before the Alliance Praise Band takes the stage. Pastor Roy Garthwaite of Grace Baptist Church also will speak followed by the Grace Baptist Praise team.

Shafer will give a message during Knight’s transition time, and afternoon stage events include music by One Heart from Good Shepherd Church and Signs of Faith.

But before any of those activities take place, the day will begin with prayer.

The second annual prayer walk will begin at 9 a.m. Participants will meet at the M&T Bank parking lot.

At prayer points, participants will pray for leaders and residents of Tyrone including law enforcement officers, council members, the mayor, military, first responders, firefighters, church leaders, veterans, hospital staff, school officials, teachers, students and children and families of the community. A spiritual guide will lead prayer at each location. To register for the walk, call Sarah Ewing at 931-2827.

Acts of kindness will be shared during the Scavenger Hunt, which is being held throughout the day. Clue sheets will be available at the Thrivent Lutheran booth. Pastor Sharon Erb of First English Lutheran Church said her church is involved in the scavenger hunt for the second year.

In addition to looking for items, participants will be given a bag of goodies to share “acts of kindness” with others. The bags will contain a flower, a dog treat and a smiley face among other items.

Erb said participants often take photos on their phones to share their experiences, and the hunt encourages participants to visit booths and get to know others.

Booths, sponsored by churches and other vendors, will include crafts and food.

Pastor David Keyworth of Wesley United Methodist Church said his church will be distributing pamphlets about its December musical and inviting kids throughout the community to participate while Grace Baptist will be asking people to complete a questionnaire on the strengths and needs of Tyrone and how the churches can meet those needs. Jeffrey said the responses will be shared with other churches.

Hillside Community Church, Tyrone Campus, will provide a bounce house and face painting as well as games for kids. At the end of the day, it will show the movie “Badge of Faith” at 8 p.m. at Reservoir Park. The free showing will include free popcorn and water.

Randy Zitterbart, pastor of the church, said it is the true story of a Roanoke police officer, who becomes injured and finds his faith in God being tested. Movie-goers are to take a chair or blanket, and in the event of rain, the movie is to be shown at Grace Baptist Church, 2308 Adams Ave.

For Benjamin Crum, pastor at First Assembly of God, Faith Day is a new idea. He has only been at the church a few months, but wants to be part of the event. He will be among the pastors willing to be dunked.

“It’s a great idea,” he said of Faith Day. “It’s encouraging to see churches working together and connecting with families in our community.