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Circus Train delivers message to kids … Jesus loves you

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
SPENCER ó A sound snafu put a temporary halt to the Circus Train Saturday night at Central United Methodist Church in Spencer.
Specifically, Eric Lentz, the show’s sound technician, was having a tough time finding the CD rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” that’s played as part of the show.
And so, everything ground quickly to a halt.
“We’re trying to worship God, but it ain’t working right now,” said Patti Kluttz, the Circus Train’s director and the woman who commands the lion puppet, the creature that serves as the show’s master of ceremonies.
The lion had told children in the audience that the CD rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” that Lentz eventually found was sung, “Rock-‘n’-roar style.”
“We’re experiencing technical difficulties,” Kluttz explained as everyone waited. “It happens to the best of productions.”
But the delay was temporary and in moments, the Circus Train was back on track, entertaining children and their parents alike, much as it has been doing for the past 11 years.
“Our only purpose,” Kluttz said, “is to tell kids of all ages that Jesus loves you.”
It’s a message that the Circus Train has over the years delivered to numerous children. Saturday marked the second week of this year’s production. The show is staged at 7:30 p.m. each Saturday through most of the summer at the rear of the church on Fourth Street.
Kluttz has headed the production for 10 of its 11 years.
“I love it, love it,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
The Circus Train started as part of Sunday school at Central United Methodist, but soon grew to take on a life of its own. While the production started at the church, it moved for a number of years to nearby Library Park. Performances were returned to the church last year, largely because moving the Circus Train to the park is a fairly major undertaking.
“It’s heavy,” Kluttz said. “It’s not something you can just pick up and move.”
The train is wooden and includes a number of colorful cars with windows for the puppets to stick their heads through and speak to children. The message the puppets is a simple one, pertaining to God’s love.
Once the 30-minute show is completed, children are given T-shirts and treated to sno-cones. The show is free, and the public is invited.
Kluttz said the wooden train was built by church members. Church members also operate the puppets.
“The church supports us financially, prayerfully and with manpower,” Kluttz said.

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