Puppets Serve God Through Illustrated Worship

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Dale Lewallen of Payson Christian Fellowship uses illustrated preaching during his services.

Lewallen adopted the technique from another man.

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Sharon and Deelight are two of 60 puppets of Behind the Veil Puppetry. They enjoy talking to children and singing praise and worship songs. Behind the veil in her 15-pound walking stage is Kathryn Lewallen. Pastor Dale Lewallen is beside her.

"Jesus taught using sowing seeds or catching fish. Illustrative preaching uses the things of everyday life to make the message come to life," said Pastor Dale. "For a message to really touch people's live now it has to be relevant."

Member participation combined with the use of puppets makes the United Pentecostal church unique.

The Lewallens became interested in puppetry in 1996.

"Our daughters grew up and flew the nest so we started traveling full time in an RV," said Kathryn, Lewallen's wife.

They towed a trailer on which they could set up their three-tiered puppet stage. They took their ministry, "Behind the Veil Puppetry" around the state.

Puppets allow the Lewallens to deliver a serious message in an entertaining way. The puppets speak and sing in Spanish too.

"We strive for believability so that people who are watching it will be moved by the music," Kathryn said. "People are unexpectedly touched."

"Teenagers, leave God when they don't have something to connect them," Pastor Dale said.

By training and incorporating teenagers and young adults in this ministry the Lewallens hope the connection will remain unbroken.

Interested couples or older teens serious about learning how this special ministry works are welcome to contact the Lewallens.

"We're out of people's lives until they let us in," said Pastor Dale. He feels that there is no higher calling than being a preacher. He loves watching people's lives change with the hope God's word brings them. "It's a hurting world and to be able to manifest a little bit of what God brought us is wonderful."

The congregation of Payson Christian Fellowship has been meeting in Payson for a couple of years. Dale became its pastor in February of 2004.

Dale was licensed in 1985 through United Pentecostal church.

Pentacost Sunday services are at 2:30 p.m.

Worship and word services are Thursday at 7 p.m., Sunday School is Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Payson Christian Fellowship meets at 700 E. Wade Lane. The phone number is (928) 468-2171.

This story is a another part of the Roundup's continuing series on how the churches in the Rim country add beauty and grace to our community.

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