Former Barnum Bailey Ringmaster Turned Preacher Visits Afton

©2010 : Former Barnum & Bailey Circus Ringmaster, now Rev. Jim Lavender from Discovery United Methodist Church in Richmond, shows kids in Afton one of the many animals as part of his recent stop here in Nelson.

Nelson County, Virginia

The circus recently came to town, sort of. Rodes United Methodist Church in Afton brought Reverend Jim Lavender and his Thank God For Kids tour to the stadium at the Rockfish Valley Volunteer Fire Department. “”It’s a very big deal. He’s been all over and the world with animals. He was a ringmaster Barnum Bailey Circus before he went in the ministry. He uses these animals as part of his worship service on Sunday mornings, says Richard McDowell, the pastor at Rodes UMC.

Reverend Lavender moves a kangaroo in place as part of his Thank God For Kids tour that recently stopped in Afton.

Reverend Lavender uses the animals to teach children about Christianity and goodness toward others. All of the animals are rescues that have found a permanent home with Discovery UMC in Richmond. “He brings some of his animals and gives a presentation with a christian message to it,” Reverend McDowell continues.

The stands were packed with kids and adults during the Thank God For Kids stop a couple of Saturdays ago in Afton.

Discovery United Methodist on the web:


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