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Dear Pastors, Church members and Conference leaders,

Are you facing a problem of finding meaningful programs for your adult church members?  

If the answer is yes, I may be able to help you. As a professional storyteller and workshop leader, I can lead you in a fun, educational and exhilarating storytelling program or workshop.

Allow me to give you an example.

Last winter I was contacted by a church conference organization. They were planning a weekend of activities to celebrate the installation of their new conference minister. And they had a problem.

They planned to hold an evening of "Fellowship" that included a covered dish supper in honor of their newly appointed minister. Their problem ? - They were trying to locate a speaker. They needed a storyteller who could relate to the audience and present entertaining stories, which included folktales. Over 100 adults, coming from Virginia, western North Carolina and across the Piedmont, were expected to attend this event.


As I listened carefully to the problem over the phone, I asked several questions, to be certain that I understood their need. I promised that I would check my calendar, study their request and be in touch within a couple of days.

The following day, I returned the phone call and gave them the assurance that I could deliver the type of program that they were seeking. I sensed relief and some excitement on the other end of the line.

On the evening of the program, I arrived ahead of schedule after anticipating a possible two-hour drive, and allowing for slow Friday, bumper-to-bumper traffic.

I was greeted warmly at the door and met interesting folks from various areas of the state. Many were bringing in lovely baskets, filled with scrumptious looking casseroles. The wafting aroma began to tease my taste buds and my stomach.

After a delightful meal the program got under way. When my turn arrived to speak, I began by opening the hearts of the audience with a story filled with humor that provoked laughter. Then to a more serious folktale, wrapped with an application of wisdom. The final folktale, having great emotional and thought provoking impact, ended with a full banquet hall - 150 people, sitting motionless in their chairs.

What followed added to an uplifting evening, as others involved in the program did their part to welcome the minister to his new appointment. I had an inner sense that the Holy Spirit was present during the entire evening.

I was overwhelmed and in awe at the close of the evening. It was exhilarating! I received handshakes, words of thanks and hugs from so many people. This was my first meeting with them, but they truly were not as strangers. Their hearts, filled with warmth and love, opened up to me in their response of appreciation. To me, this acknowledged that I had definitely fulfilled their expectations of me during this memorable evening.


I later learned that this program opened up an avenue for some of the people to recall their own personal stories. One member shared with me the chilling story of her family's narrow escape during the middle of night from an apartment fire.

I received email from another member, requesting my storytelling schedule for her area of the state.

A letter from the activity director of a senior citizens group stated, "I thank you for broadening their horizons on the issue of storytelling. I have always enjoyed a good story, and I plan to have a monthly storytelling day to give residents the chance to share their stories and experiences." These folks realized that they each had something important to share. After my presentation, they continued to share their stories with each other and had fun doing so.

© 2004 Sylvia Payne