Doug Brummel, a lay evangelist recently appeared for two nights
at Morgan Hill’s St. Catherine Roman Catholic Church.
“One day a man had a dream that he was walking along the beach with the Lord. The Lord said, ‘I need you to do mission work and share with my people my love for them.’
“The man replied, ‘But Lord, I hate snakes and don’t want to go to rain forests and jungles to do mission work.’
“The Lord laughed and said, ‘My child, I want you to do mission work in this country. In other countries people may not have heard of me, but in this country they’ve heard and seem not to care. Please share with them the joy that my resurrection was meant to bring.'”
This anecdote explains the career of Doug Brummel, a lay evangelist who recently appeared for two nights at Morgan Hill’s St. Catherine Roman Catholic Church.
Born in Texas, Brummel has degrees in mass communications (Illinois State University) and counseling psychology (Benedictine University). After serving as a youth minister and retreat director, he began his own creative ministry in 1992, traveling throughout the country to give keynote addresses at conferences and present missions (short-term educational, faith-building workshops) at churches.
He calls his parish performances “Lighten Up!” and they feature a cast of characters he presents himself, crediting this technique to the influence of comedic greats like Red Skelton, Carol Burnet, and Bill Cosby.
First to be introduced was Estelle, a middle-aged woman who apparently was in the church by mistake, looking for the “Lighten Up Aerobics Class” she had heard advertised. Estelle was interested in becoming a Catholic, mainly because she likes the color purple and noticed that Catholic churches use that color often.
Her questions about the seven “saccharine mints” allowed a discussion with the audience of the concept of “sacrament” and a review of the meanings of the seven recognized by the Church.
Estelle noticed that “Jane Fonda must not have invented aerobics.” Observing a daily mass (“the quicker picker upper”), she was amazed at the amount of energy needed to rapidly stand, sit, and kneel multiple times in a short amount of time.
Another visitor was Andrew, a college student wearing a backwards baseball cap. Andrew explained how his religious studies class equipped him to correct his friends’ misconceptions about Catholic beliefs. For example, rather than worshiping statues Catholics use them like family photos, “as visual reminders of those who have gone before in the faith.”
Joe, “an older gentleman,” told about the loss of his wife of 57 years and their 12-year -old daughter and how his faith sustains him in his grief.
Through humor, inspirational stories, and music Brummel kept the audience of children through senior citizens engaged for two hours: laughing, singing along with his piano accompaniment, and enthusiastically joining in the closing prayers.
For more information about Lighten Up! or to see a schedule of upcoming performances check the Internet at www.dougbrummel.com.