by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — It’s all about the laughter — and saying thanks.
A comedy show taking place this weekend is funneling proceeds from its sold-out ticket sales to Emmaus Mission Center at the behest of members of Logansport Church of the Brethren. The church member in charge of local coordination of the show, Brian King, said a committee at the church had decided to use some grant funds to “give back” to the city.
The church had applied for a grant from the Lilly Foundation to send its pastor, the Rev. Aaron Gross, on sabbatical. With the grant came some funds earmarked for community outreach programs, King said.
“We wanted to really connect the community some way, somehow, and to get out as a ministry,” said King — and members decided to pursue their goal through comedy.
“Life is pretty tough and there’s nothing better than to laugh sometimes,” King explained. “It makes life so much more fun.”
The church also wanted to do as big an event as it could pull off, said King. It booked nationally known Christian comedian and author Ken Davis, who hosts “Lighten Up!” daily on more than 1,500 radio stations around the world, according to Davis’s website, including WFRN 93.7 and 100.1.
Davis, a Tennessee resident, is also president of Dynamic Communications International, an organization teaching speaking skills to Christian ministry professionals and corporate executives.
“We shot big and thought, if you’re going to do anything, do it big,” King said.
The show, taking place in McHale Performing Arts Center, sold out its 800 seats about two weeks ago. King said he had actually expected a sold-out crowd because of Davis’s popularity.
The church decided to try raising $2,500 for Emmaus Mission because of the center’s contributions, which King described as “not so much giving handouts but giving a hand up.” When King presented the idea to Emmaus director Jason Mitchell about three months ago, Mitchell said he was speechless.
“It doesn’t happen very often, me being speechless,” Mitchell said. “I don’t have many words to express just how thankful I am because this was all done without any impetus from us.”
A few people active at the mission center are volunteering as ushers or staffers for the merchandise table, Mitchell said. During the intermission, he’ll take the stage to inform spectators about the work the mission does and to receive the check for the show’s proceeds.
King said that though he didn’t have an exact total yet, he figured the proceeds would top the $2,500 goal set for the show.
“It took a team effort to get this thing rolling,” said King, but “the sponsors were all on board right away.”
“It was great reception because they knew we were giving back to the community,” he added.
After Saturday’s show, the church hopes to make it the first of several lighthearted events. Each year, said King, the church hopes to bring in a comedian or musician to do a show in Logansport.
They’ll keep with the comedic theme, King said, on purpose.
“It makes the day go by quicker,” he said of laughter. “And God loves the laughter of his children.”
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5151.