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Puppets and prayer Alyssa Simental | Sat, Apr 07 2012 12:00 PM

Last year's Easter crowd pleaser had its start on another continent.

When Marc Lapointe was a missionary, he attended a children’s camp in Florida as a missionary speaker. There he encountered a puppet team that would give him a fresh perspective on a new way to spread the word of the Lord.

Lapointe, a 48-year-old pastor at the Sweetwater Community Church, said he and other missionaries were traveling during that time to Africa and he decided after seeing the puppet team to also begin using puppets on the mission.

“We decided to order African-American puppets and use them to present to the people,” he said.

For eight years, Lapointe and his family traveled around Africa reaching out to the people using these puppets. Then after returning to the U.S., he continued using puppetry at his home, the Sweetwater Community Church.

“Now, my family has been doing this for more than 20 years,” he said. “We really want to present this 2,000-year-old message in a creative way.”

Lapointe said that when the church first began to use puppetry to present sermons, it was directed at just the youth of the church.

“Very soon after that,” he said, “I got parents and adults complaining that they wanted to be able to see it too. It was instantly a crowd favorite.”

Last year for Easter Sunday the church put on a creative rendition of the Resurrection of Jesus, casting a puppet detective who is on a mission to find Jesus and reveal the reason for his missing tomb.

“It’s always a good attraction for everyone,” he said. “The children love it but it’s really been the seniors who seem to enjoy it the most.”

This year the church will give a new puppet presentation Sunday, April 15, at their regular 10 a.m. service. Lapointe said he expects about 180 to 200 followers to attend the show.

“The church is continuously receiving positive feedback about the popular puppet sermons,” he said.

Because of the popularity of puppetry among churches, the Sweetwater Church’s puppet team has become one of many that compete for medals and recognition at gatherings such as the One Way Street Festival.

This year, the Sweetwater Community Church’s puppet team has been invited to the 2012 festival as featured performers.

For more information visit www.sweetwaterchurch.net.

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