Sheri Brubeck wants to get one thing straight. Puppets are not just for kids.
Brubeck, of Buffalo Grove, leads s puppet team, which provides entertainment while delivering outreach messages.
The Glory Fingers team, which is in its 19th year, uses a variety of creative art forms, including puppets, sign language and interpretative dance to reach its audiences.
“A lot of people think puppets are for kids. But the message is, ‘God loves you.’ Our outreach is a Christian message,” Brubeck said.
The 18 members, who range from seventh-graders to adults, went through a six-week training program to learn how to operate the puppets. They meet for two hours each week to hone their craft.
“If you don’t operate a puppet correctly, it’s like watching a foreign film that’s not dubbed properly,” Brubeck said.
Brubeck, who works as a nurse, said she got her start as a puppeteer while teaching children’s ministry using sock puppets. In the early '90s she began taking classes and created Kingwood's puppet ministry team.
Since then, she has gone on to train others to become puppeteers, traveling as far as South Africa to share her skills.
Meanwhile, Kingswood’s puppet team competes regionally and has collected a number of awards over the years.
Brubeck said the ministry offers a way for youths to share their faith outside of church.
Kingswood member Denise Gates was a member of the puppet team for four years. “I definitely feel like I learned a lot,” she said. “I went through my own personal Christ journey, and puppets were a big part of that.”
The team performs a musical at Christmastime and another one in the spring, which the team takes on the road. Performances are done on stages with professional lighting and sound.
Glory Fingers will perform Oct. 15 at Harvest Fest. The annual festival, which is open to the community, will also feature a performance by Kingswood’s Praise Band, directed by Jim Koppenhager.
“Harvest Fest is our church’s gift to the community,” Brubeck said.
Other activities will include games, a petting zoo, pumpkin decorating, music and pumpkin sales.