If you are coulrophobic, you may not want to read this blog entry.
In the annals of my life on the staff of the strangest church in the universe, today we turn to the topic of the 1986 Calvary church directory, on the church staff page of which there is a picture of Daffa-Dilly, the Clown-in-Residence.
Now, I admit that I do not have as much church experience as some seasoned church professionals, but WHO HAS A CLOWN IN RESIDENCE ON THEIR CHURCH STAFF?????
Apparently Calvary did.
This fact inspired much spirited discussion at Church Council meeting just last night, including comments like, “Oh, yeah! Daffa-Dilly!!” from a few (okay, one) and looks of baffled disbelief from most of the rest of us. I do not think that it helped that our agenda last night largely focused on personnel planning for the future.
In the course of revealing this interesting historical tidbit about our church, we also discovered that our distinguished chair of deacons has a little, shall we say, aversion to clowns, and was deeply horrified by the thought of a Clown-in-Residence on the church staff. She brought up the very interesting issue that, if we have a Clown-in-Residence, we might not be creating a very welcoming place for people who are afraid of clowns.
Which, as it turns out, is a very real problem for some (that is, those who suffer from coulrophobia).
Apparently, though I am clearly joking about this right now, coulrophobia is nothing to joke about: it’s one of the top ten phobias from which people commonly suffer. Church moderator Amy Dale rightly made the sobering observation that, in these days when so many people are afraid of church in general, we may have been doing folks a disservice by having a Clown-in-Residence on our church staff. What about people who are afraid of church AND afraid of clowns?!?!
Not to worry, though. I heard on the radio yesterday that there is a movement afoot to provide treatment and support for folks suffering from coulrophobia. You can read more about it here, but it involves helping people face their fear of clowns by spending some time behind the scenes at the circus, learning how clowns do their work, and, in the most successful cases, sometimes putting on make up and becoming a clown themselves. I am not lying when I say that they call this new treatment “clownseling.”
Which leads me to rethink our future personnel plan yet again. If we go back to the Clown-in-Residence idea, we’ll probably also have to hire a pastoral clownselor, don’t you think?