Church-goers rolling in the pews with clown priest

Laughter: South African priest Michael Fourie brought his clown ministry to Leyland
Laughter: South African priest Michael Fourie brought his clown ministry to Leyland

A wacky service at a Leyland church put a smile on the faces of the congregation.

St Ambrose Church in Moss Lane opened its doors to two visitors from South Africa, one of whom brought his unique clown ministry to the town.

People were literally ‘clowning around’ when Rev Michael Fourie held a special service with magic and fancy dress on Sunday.

The reverend of St Ambrose, Duncan Clarke, said there was a serious message behind the mayhem though.

“It was a fun way of presenting the gospel message that Jesus died to take our sins away,” he explained.

“It was just a different way of getting the message across, and it was something we haven’t experienced before.

“It was quite enjoyable, and the people who attended really liked it.

“A lot of people took part and it was great fun.”

The visit was arranged through the church’s link parish of St John the Baptist in Harrismith, and the congregation in Leyland paid the air fare from South Africa.

Joined by his wife, Dr Elaine Fourie, Rev Fourie has been in town since November 5 and in that time the couple have staged some interesting workshops, including a clown workshop last week, which gave people the chance to develop their own clown character, ahead of Sunday’s service and an interpretive dance and communication workshop by Dr Elaine Fourie.

Staying at the vicarage, their trip has also involved meeting people from the Diocese of Blackburn, including the Bishop and the Archbishop.

Dr Elaine Fourie will be ordained as deacon in December when she gets back to South Africa and will be involved in the training of clergy and readers.