photo of children in costumes lined up to sing at a nursing home. text over picture: HLS in the Community: Visiting Nursing Homes and Care Centers

At Hampton Lutheran, students are encouraged to witness their faith to the community and form connections with older people through choir and puppets performances in nursing homes and care centers.

Witnessing to the Community with Puppets and Choir

In October, our pumpkin party is always a service project to the nursing homes or assisted living facility. This year, we visited Memorial Health Long Term and East Park Villa in Aurora to sing and play bingo with the residents.

In November and December, we bring our puppets performance to the Senior Center, and choirs sing at nursing homes. We have also taken the puppets to churches and the Mosaic Client Support Center for the Handicapped in York. We will be at the Senior Center in Aurora Dec. 13 and at East Park Villa in spring 2020.

The puppets and choirs are both in-school activities, and all students get a chance to participate. The choirs are incorporated into Hampton Lutheran’s music curriculum and fine arts requirements by the state. Although puppets don’t fill a role in our required curriculum, the program has a long tradition at HLS.

M & M Puppets

Kathy Gloystein founded the puppets group about 30 years ago after going to a conference session on puppetry. Mr. Thies, the principal at the time, asked her if she would consider starting a puppet program, and Kathy remembers brainstorming names for the puppet ministry in the current HLS library. That’s when the name M & M Puppets, which stands for Miniature Ministers, was born.

Now, fourth through sixth graders practice puppets every Thursday. Pastor Wells from Cross of Christ organizes the programs and works with the kids. The students perform two shows each year, one at the Senior Center in the fall and at Gathering of the Talents in Seward in April. They have gained a following at GOTT, and the judges look forward to seeing the kids and their puppets.
Students performing puppets at Gathering of the Talents in 2018.

The goal of the puppets ministry is to provide a platform for the students to comfortably witness about Jesus. They can tell the gospel story through the puppets. It’s amazing how a puppet can break down walls between an elder person and our students. The puppets are very good at telling about themselves and about Jesus. What an opportunity to witness to the older members of our community!

We are called as Christians to be ready to give an answer to our faith. That is not always easy to do, but with a puppet, the children open up and are able to reach out to our older friends. The residents of East Park Villa and Westfield Care Facility can talk to the students about their puppets and to the students. There is something special in those connections.