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New Joy Member Organizes a Christian Storytelling Café

Story by New Joy Fellowship Staff
Published 10/31/12

Phyllis Washington, Children’s Ministries director for the North American Division, shares how to put pizzazz into Bible stories for children at the Christian Storytelling Café soiree.

Phyllis Washington drew from her 40 years of Children’s Ministries experience to address storytellers at the Christian Storytelling Café’s soiree in Hagerstown, Md., earlier this month. The Children’s Ministries director for the North American Division engaged representatives of five faith groups and local business owners in the various ways of putting pizzazz into Bible stories for children, including making balloon characters, face painting and paper cutting.

Faith Crumbly, café owner and a member of New Joy Fellowship church in Hagerstown, organized and facilitated this event for an adult audience in the social hall at the John Wesley United Methodist Church.

Many attendees were drawn to the event by Crumbly’s announcements that 80 percent of Americans do not know basic Bible stories as she facilitated the café’s monthly storytelling sessions held in a local art gallery and in other venues around Hagerstown. She established the café in January as a friendship evangelism project, and the Hagerstown Area Religious Council has promoted the café.

Seated at far left is Fanny Crawford, a well-known storyteller in the Hagerstown community. In the row ahead of her, at left, is Kyle Powderly, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown.
Stories for this event were in three groups: life experience, family legacy and basic Bible stories. The cast of six storytellers included two Seventh-day Adventists. Candace DeVore, editor for Kids Ministries Ideas, told a life experience story. Crumbly did a musical telling of Naaman the leper with audience participation. A Presbyterian minister rendered the story of David and Goliath that he titled “God-fellas” and at times assumed the voices of mafia “goodfellas” portrayed in the 1990 Oscar-winning film about organized crime.

Participants lingered after the three-hour event that included time for fellowship and refreshments. Many attendees expressed delight with the menu, which consisted entirely of vegetarian finger foods.

The remaining 2012 Christian Storytelling Café Sunday sessions will be held at 3 p.m. on November 4 and December 2 at the Contemporary School of the Arts and Gallery, located at 4 W. Franklin Street.

The scheduled 2013 Christian Storytelling Café’s Sunday soirees will be held in Hagerstown at 3 p.m. The March 3 session will be at the New Joy Fellowship church. The June 2 soiree will be held at the outdoor cross, a meeting area at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church with an indoor rain site in the St. John’s social hall. Any congregation in the Hagerstown area who wants to bring the October 6 soiree to their church is invited to send their invitation to

Faith Crumbly, a member of the New Joy Fellowship church, started the Storytelling Café to share Bible stories and storytelling tips.

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