Flora Methodist Takeover

In S4F's first out-of-state venture to Flora Methodist Church in Flora, Indiana, the team encountered some unexpected opportunities that resulted in one of the oddest and perhaps most enjoyable shows in its history.

The Arrival

On Sunday morning, the members attended the Flora church services to familiarize themselves with the venue they would be playing for the youth group that evening and to introduce themselves to the members of Flora's church. At that point they discovered that Flora Methodist was in fact two churches - Flora United Methodist and Bringhurst United Methodist. The pastor would preach a sermon at one building and drive to the other building to deliver his second sermon at another service.

Upon conclusion of the first service, the pastor spoke to the team members before heading to the other building. He said something along the lines of, "Well, you guys have already heard the sermon once. I don't want to bore you. How would you like to do the second service as a performance instead." Without thinking, Adam Netzel, who was in no position of authority on the team, shouted, "Definitely - that would be awesome." He remembers volunteering the team as the resulting dirty looks are still difficult to suppress in his mind.

With the matter settled in the pastor's mind, and with no one on the team wanting to un-volunteer, the van ride over was spent in a mild state of panic as the team had to decide what games to play, and exactly how they should handle comedy in a church service. Ultimately, the games that were decided included Expert and a game of Slideshow based around the story of Jonah and the Whale.

The Service

Being guests, the team was invited to occupy the front rows of the church where their singing could be clearly heard by the pastor. This led to another impromptu performance. After a round of congregational singing, the pastor's wife, having heard Dan Aumiller harmonizing loudly (as Dan was wont to do), suggested that, with the choir sick, the improv team should sing. With several members of the Olivet men's choir on the team, the group members figured this might be a good move. Ultimately, the group decided on a well-known hymn, "How Great Thou Art".1 Fortunately, no one was off-key, and there was even some spontaneous harmony. Overall the mini-concert was well-received by the congregation.

Following announcements, the pastor surprised the church by inviting the team to the stage to perform for the remainder of the service. It must be noted at this point that there were few members of the audience below middle-age. Performing improv comedy in a church on Sunday in front of a conservative, traditional, Methodist congregation was daunting at best, but the team threw themselves into it.

Perhaps the best memory from the service was Steve Foxworthy as the Expert. When asked for a suggestion from the audience as to what he should be an expert regarding, the answer was "The Bible." The nervousness went up a notch. At one point, David Moore asked Foxworthy, "In what ways is the Bible being improved in the 21st century?" Following a collective gasp from the audience and a brief moment of panic in Foxworthy's eyes, he responded along the lines of: "Well, some people have begun carrying metal Bibles2, and I've heard that in many Bibles the entire book of John is now digital." The audience responded with uproarious laughter.


To the team's considerable surprise, not only was the performance well-received, but many people stayed afterward to talk to the team, expressing how much they enjoyed it, some saying that they felt blessed that morning by the gift of laughter. One grizzled, sullen-looking man who seemed as if he hadn't laughed in years even mentioned that he rarely found anything funny but couldn't help laughing at the team's performance. Some of the parents said they might attend the evening's youth group performance with their children based on what they saw in church.

All in all, it was a friendly takeover that the friendly denizens of Flora United Methodist will hopefully remember as a benevolent occupation that left them with a little more happiness than they had before.

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