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An attentive audience of puppets listens to the sermon during the Eastridge Church of Christ's livestream service.
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Photo by Mike Singleton

Empty pews? Praise God for puppets!


Members of the Eastridge Church of Christ got a bit concerned when they tuned in for their congregation’s Sunday livestream. 

At first glance, it appeared that the Rockwall, Texas, congregation was violating the state’s shelter-in-place mandate prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people — not to mention the distinct lack of social distancing.

At first glance, the Eastridge Church of Christ in Rockwall, Texas, appears to be forgoing social distancing.

At first glance, the Eastridge Church of Christ in Rockwall, Texas, appears to be forgoing social distancing.

Closer inspection, however, revealed that most of the congregants were unlikely to spread COVID-19 due to their complete lack of feet.

A closer, side view reveals a mostly-puppet audience, plus Larry the Cucumber.

A closer, side view reveals a mostly-puppet audience, plus Larry the Cucumber.

The church borrowed puppets from its children’s ministry to use as seat fillers, said Alan Middleton, youth and associate minister. The puppets had plenty of time, since they weren’t able to make their annual trip to the Leadership Training for Christ conference in Dallas with their young puppeteers. However, they didn’t return for the next week’s sermon, Middleton said, “because the preacher was too animated.”   

In Dallas, the Prestoncrest Church of Christ  also employed puppets to give their preacher a “live” audience. These special worshipers are thought to be immune to the virus, Prestoncrest senior minister Gordon Dabbs joked, “so we may end up installing the puppets as elders and deacons to help us with herd immunity in our church.”

These puppets seem to be absolutely enthralled by the preaching at the Eastridge Church of Christ.

These puppets seem to be absolutely enthralled by the preaching at the Eastridge Church of Christ.

Their counterparts seem less enthused about Gordon Dabb's sermon for the Prestoncrest Church of Christ in Dallas.

Their counterparts seem less enthused about Gordon Dabbs’ sermon for the Prestoncrest Church of Christ in Dallas.

In Fayetteville, Tenn., members of the Howell Hill Church of Christ filled the pews with nearly 75 stuffed animals — representing many of the members’ personalities — as a surprise for their preacher, Tim Hall. 

Howell Hill, we are coming to you live at 10:30! We had a little fun with the preacher before worship this morning!!

Posted by Howell Hill Church of Christ on Sunday, April 26, 2020

“We believe Jesus expressed every emotion we express: joy, peace, anger, laughter, all of them,” Hall said. “This was one way our membership at Howell Hill felt they could share some love and encouragement to others.”

The special guests at the Howell Hill church reflect the personalities of the congregation’s members.

The special guests at the Howell Hill church reflect the personalities of the congregation’s members.

Filed under: #ChurchToo Church of Christ Coronavirus COVID-19 Features puppets social distancing Top Stories

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