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Published: Saturday, 4/17/2004

Churches get a little brighter

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Gloria Parker (left) and Ruby Burkey hold size 18 shoes that belong to Yuk Yuk the clown, who will be part of their Bright Sunday celebration. Donna Mohn (back left) and JoAnn Diefenthalaer look on.
Gloria Parker (left) and Ruby Burkey hold size 18 shoes that belong to Yuk Yuk the clown, who will be part of their Bright Sunday celebration. Donna Mohn (back left) and JoAnn Diefenthalaer look on.
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If Easter seemed to come and go too fast, there is a way to keep the holiday spirit going: Churches around the world are extending the holy season with Bright Sunday services, a day that focuses on the joy of Jesus resurrection.

Faith Community United Church of Christ is one such congregation that observes Bright Sunday each year on the Sunday after Easter.

The church has a few special events planning for its service tomorrow morning:

• The sermon will be delivered by Yuk Yuk the Clown (played by Cynthia Meyers).

• The congregation is encouraged to wear brightly colored clothes and funny hats.

• The program will be fi lled with exuberant humor and song.

w An after-church coffee hour will include foods that are bright in color, such as Jello squares and veggie pizzas.

• Balloon sculptures will be created by Yuk Yuk after the worship service.

Tomorrow s service will be the fourth Bright Sunday observance at

Faith United Methodist, according to Gloria Parker, head of the library committee.

She said the idea was brought to Faith by a church member who attended a Bright Sunday service while on vacation in Florida.

Like a hearty laugh, the joyful event quickly spread throughout the congregation.

The people really like it. Several people have said they are really looking forward to it, Ms. Parker said.

Bright Sunday, also known as Holy Humor Sunday, is an ancient tradition that was observed for centuries by Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christians who held picnics and parties to celebrate the resurrection, according to the Fellowship of Merry Christians.

The fellowship, based in Portage, Mich., said on its Web site (www.joyfulnoiseletter.com) that the Sunday after Easter is a time to celebrate both the power of Jesus resurrection and the

joy and humor exhibited by Christ.

They cite Jesus words in John 15: 11: These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.

In addition, early theologians such as Augustine and John Chrysostom have said that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead.

Although Faith UM s library committee has been active in planning

activities for Bright Sunday, this is the fi rst year the pastor, the Rev. Judy Shumaker, will be out of town for the service.

This is the fi rst time it s totally my responsibility, Ms. Parker said a bit nervously.

In addition to the fun and games, there are serious aspects to Bright Sunday, Ms. Parker said.

For one thing, Ms. Meyer, who plays Yuk Yuk the Clown, is a cancer survivor and her sermon will speak about the resurrection from such a serious disease.

And while it's nice to have time for silliness in church, there's another motive for Bright Sunday services, Ms. Parker said: To hold a church service that will keep the "C&E crowd" - as in people who usually only come on "Christmas and Easter" - coming back for more.

The Bright Sunday service begins at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Faith United Methodist Church, 1201 South Byrne Rd. at Arlington.

Contact David Yonke at: dyonke@theblade.com or 419-724-6154



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