Shepherd's Own Sheep Puppet Team

The S.O.S. Puppet team was established in August of 2002 as an arm of Christian witness from Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church in North Ridgeville, Ohio. We came together out of a situation of necessity. We were in need of a special way to present the Gospel at the annual “Corn Festival” in our town. Our congregation provides a hospitality tent for festival goers to sit, rest, and eat the food they have purchased or enjoy a cool drink of spring water. The previous year we engaged a Christian Puppet Troupe to present the Gospel message. Their performance and message were well received and we wanted them to come and assist us again. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts they were not able to return. We tried without success to obtain another troupe. Time was getting short and we decided we would take a leap of faith and do the puppet performances ourselves. We were a small group of three, but we were sincere in our desire to do our very best. We sought out a few people who had experience in working puppets to give us a crash course. We found a book that told the story of Noah’s Ark from the animal’s perspective. We drew on the artistic talents of our members and made up a whole zoo load of animal stick puppets. One of us played the narrator and the others were the voices and workers of the stick puppets. This was our beginning!

In September of that year we attended a Puppetry Seminar in Dearborn, Michigan and we returned home with four full-fledged real puppets. Now we were truly committed and infected with the puppet bug! Each of us felt that God was truly leading us to experience this new ministry of the Gospel.

Since our inception, we have presented our puppet ministry for Sunday morning children’s messages, the closing services for our VBS programs, the Mother/Daughter banquet, our “Mom’s Day Out” sessions during the Christmas holidays and of course the annual “Corn Festival”. Over the last several years we have been invited to various churches and so we have taken our troupe on the road. We have constructed a new puppet stage (a bit bigger than our original cardboard stage), added a sound system and collected over 70 puppets. 

There are now three of us on the team and several congregational youth members who help us out from time to time. Puppeteer No. 1 is Glenna Greenwald, who works for Cleveland Clinic’s Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation as a speech pathologist. Glenna is the keeper of our puppet inventory and the puppet team pictorial history. Puppeteer No. 2 is Gayle Schoerverth, who works for the Ridge Tool Company as a manager of import/export compliance. Gayle is also a Certified Lay Worker in the LCMS graduating from the Lay Ministry Program at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin. Gayle is the keeper of our music and audio equipment. Puppeteer No. 3 is Denise Manke, who joined us several years ago. Denise is an Academic Information Specialist for Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. As you can see we each come from different occupations, but we all have a real love of ministry, puppeteering and children. This makes a winning combination.

Our statement of purpose is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to both young and young at heart through the ministry of God’s Word, Christian music, and the medium of puppetry. We are also investigating some new avenues of ministry through “dowel rod” routines and the new medium of “human video”. Both incorporate the Gospel message through Christian music and interpretive methods.

We, pray that our presentations will bless everyone who listens and watches in a very special way! We want you to know that Jesus loves you so very much and so do we!

Yours in Christ,

S.O.S. Puppet Ministry Team