Clinton, New York
“Alive! The Easter Stories of the Four Gospels”
Stone Storytellers is a vibrant ministry of Stone Presbyterian Church in Clinton, New York which tells biblical stories in a variety of ways and venues. We pass on to you what they are doing this Lent/Easter season for your inspiration. Perhaps this year or another you might follow their example. Contact Rev. Dennis Dewey for details. If you live in upstate New York, treat yourself to one of the performances Spring 2014.
This year’s Epic Telling by Stone Storytellers is a program they’re calling, “Alive! The Easter Stories of the Four Gospels.” It will be presented at Stone at 7pm on Palm/Passion Sunday (April 13) and is being offered for presentation at other churches on the evenings of Sundays, May 4 & 18. The group is also planning to arrange a performance at one of the prisons or county jail sometime during the season of Easter.
THE STONE STORYTELLERS’
Scripture by Heart
The Stone Storytellers meet monthly at Stone Church (usually on the third Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m.) to tell stories and make plans for telling the texts by heart in worship. Over 50 texts from the Revised Common Lectionary were learned and told by heart in worship over the course of last year.
The biggest accomplishment of 2011 was the Tellers’ partnering with others in the church and community to mount the first annual “Stone Soup Storytelling Festival” on the Village Green in Clinton in June. Over 400 people attended this full day of storytelling, music, food and crafts. (www.stonestoryfest.com). The headliners for the event were Bil Lepp, five-time winner of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, and Dan LeMonnier, whose “banjotales” appealed to young and old alike. Plans are to hold the second annual SSSF June 9, 2012.
Every year the Stone Storytellers present an “Epic Telling,” a 90-minute public performance of stories from scripture. The 2011 Epic Telling was a smorgasbord of stories from Genesis to Revelation called, “In the Beginning and All the Way to the End,” which was presented for large audience at the church the evening of Sunday, April 3.
The tradition began when the Rev. Dennis Dewey (www.DennisDewey.org), began his ministry at Stone Church by telling the Gospel of Mark on the evening of his first Palm Sunday 2007 as Stone’s pastor. The next year he invited a dozen other to join him, each telling one story, as together they presented “Stories from the Gospel of Luke.” In 2009’s “Stories
from the Gospel of Matthew” involved the Stone Storytellers’ taking a larger share of the stories. And in 2010 the Stone Storytellers told most of the stories from the Gospel of John, with the pastor taking the “leftovers”—a sign of the continued growth in skill and confidence on the part of the tellers!
In the summer of 2010 three Stone Storytellers (Donna Goodfriend, Dave Forbes and Scott Leonard) accompanied Dennis to the annual Festival Gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers in Black Mountain, North Carolina. There they attended lectures and workshopsand took part in various storytelling opportunities. All four participated in the Seed Company’s “Blank Bible Project” [http://www.blankbible.org/], each of them videotaping two stories for the collection of 48 videos to be used internationally by this subgroup of the Wycliffe Bible translators.
Donna, Dave and Scott brought back some of what they learned and shared it with the congregation in worship in October as they took different approaches to telling one of the theme stories of the Festival Gathering, Luke’s parable of the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge—Scott and Dave telling the story as “embedded reporting” and Donna doing a first person monologue as the widow.
The Christmas Eve at Stone each year features many of the Stone Storytellers taking part in the group telling of Luke’s Christmas Story and other narration parts in the service.
Several of our tellers are available to take storytelling to other venues and to lead workshops. In addition, we have hosted several “Story Swaps” at the church, the Kirkland Art Center and the Kirkland Town Library—venues at which the people are encouraged to tell stories. We see this outreach to the community as part of our mission as Stone Church. Our mantra is the old Hassidic maxim, “God made
humanity because God loves stories.”
Going forward, the Stone Storytellers will be focusing more on the spiritual dimension of having the texts of scripture by heart, on improving our skills and on taking what we have to offer out to other churches. We are uniquely blessed by God to have these gifted and committed people who so eagerly share the joy and vitality of telling the sacred texts by heart, and we always welcome newcomers!
GOD MADE HUMANITY BECAUSE GOD LOVES STORIES.Hassidic Maxim
Contact: Scott Leonard
Stone Presbyterian Church
PO Box 33
8 South Park Row
Clinton NY 13323