Clowning Around To Spread The Teachings Of Jesus

Neighbors/ Glen Burnie

March 18, 1992|By Bonita Formwalt

Never before have the streets of Glen Burnie been so lovely. Never before have I attempted to merge with Beltway traffic with such glee. And never again will I have to repeatedly circle the Sears parking lot in search of TWO parking spaces so that I can pull through one and park in the other.

Yes, my car has been repaired. Not only can it once again go faster than 35 mph, it can go in reverse.

Driving in this town without a fully functioning transmission requires a great deal of advance planning and even more creativity. For those of you with a P-R-N-D-1-2 problem may I offer the following observations:

* Parking can be a major problem. On more than one occasion I have found my exit from a parking space blocked while waiting for the owner to return. I suggest you use this opportunity to balance your checkbook, clean out expired car registration forms from the glove compartment or tweeze your eyebrows. (I am a firm believer that woman should not even bother tweezing at home because as soon as you look in the car's rearview mirror you discover 20 or so hairs that escaped your efforts.)

* The Glen Burnie Post Office should be visited only during off hours. This is because the parking lot has a limited number of spaces built on a slight incline. As you prepare to leave, a push with your foot (a la Fred Flintstone) and gravity will assist as you drift backward. As an added bonus of using a variation on the excuse, "the check is in the mail," try "I couldn't find a parkingspace at the post office I could drift out of so I couldn't buy a stamp."

* Because most of my friends were embarrassed to death to beseen in my car -- I think it was the Flintstone footwork -- they always offered to drive when we went out. As a result, I have used only 17 gallons of gas since 1990.

Please note: Anyone calling my housein the next few days will get my answering machine. I'm on the road.

*

Valerie Wilburt doesn't get offended if you accuse her of clowning around with God. In fact, this Glen Burnie resident would be flattered.

A member of a Westminster-based clown ministry for four years, Wilburt uses humor to spread the teachings of Jesus. She is hoping to initiate a similar group in the Glen Burnie area.

"The phrase 'fools for Christ' is in the New Testament," said Wilburt. "In one of the letters by Paul it says, 'You must first become a fool to follow Christ.' "

Dressed in full white face and makeup, the troupe presents a parable, or a moral story, often updated with a modern format.

"We don't use jokes or gags. We never speak -- at least not with words. Sometimes we use music in the background," said Wilburt.

The presentations in Glen Burnie are performed by clowns visiting from the Westminster troupe. Wilburt would like to expand the clown ministry to include her home parish at Holy Trinity. The Westminster troupe offers workshops to teach anyone interested in performing.

"This is very effective because people trust clowns," said Wilburt. "With clowns people have a tendency to relax so the message comes home and hits you."

Anyone interested in joining the clown ministry or inviting the group to perform can contact Wilburt at 768-1870.

*

The Glen Burnie Volunteer Fire Department is again sponsoring the annual Miss Fire Prevention Pageant. Young women, age 16 to 21, and girls 9 to 12 are invited to participate in the competition, scheduled for 2 p.m. on June 7 at the Glen Burnie Improvement Association Hall.

Before the pageant, contestants are given a list of questions and answers pertaining to fire prevention. Questions include information on emergency phone numbers, escape plans, fire extinguishers, and smoke alarms.

Each contestant will be asked why she wants to be Miss Glen Burnie Fire Prevention and what fire prevention means to her. Inaddition, contestants will answer two questions randomly selected from the prepared list.

The contestants will be judged on poise, personality and accuracy of their answers.

Jennifer Shumake, 16, is ajunior at North County High School and the senior Miss Glen Burnie Fire Prevention 1991. She said the experience was very positive.

"It was a lot of fun. We went to monthly meetings with the firemen, parades, the Odenton Fire Prevention Fair, the Family Fun Fest and the county pageant," Jennifer said.

Last year's junior winner was 12-year-old Chrissy Weedon, a student at Chesapeake Bay Middle School. Chrissy went on to win the Miss Junior Anne Arundel County Fire Prevention. First runner-up Stacia Muehler took over the Glen Burnie responsibilities.

All three girls are expected to be on hand to present the 1992 winners with their awards.

Anyone interested in participating in the competition should contact Dawn Franklin, 760-3680 or Barbara Stumpf, 766-1671.

*

Music by the band Pizazz will be the highlight of a dance conducted by the Glen Burnie Chapter of Parents Without Partners, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday at the Orchard Beach Fire Hall on Solley Road.

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