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HUG Puppets help embrace God’s Word

By Staff | Apr 8, 2008

These two brightly-colored puppets sing a tune made popular by The Muppets, Mahna Mahna. EDN photos by Michael Tidemann

The Hug Dinner Theater embraced the Word of Jesus as good fellowship and good food also enveloped the event Friday night at the Estherville United Methodist Church in Estherville.

The show featured the HUG Puppets which has been a positive presence at the church for the past four years under the direction of Edna Lutzow.

“There was a puppet group here when I was in high school and I always thought it was a neat idea,” Lutzow said. Through her involvement with the church and youth, she started the HUG Puppets group.

Asked if the idea was popular in the beginning, she answered, “I started HUG Puppets with one puppeteer!”

But soon interest grew and at times, there have been as many as seven participants. When students enter fifth grade they are eligible to join the group. “We will take anyone who wants to join and has a strong commitment to the group. Age is not an issue. We just want to get the word of Jesus out to everyone,” she explained.

Veronica Studer, 2 1/2, enjoyed the pasta as much as watching the puppets on Friday at the United Methodist Church. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

The HUG Puppets is not structured to perform to audiences of little children only. The performances can be watched by individuals of any age who will find the energy as well as the scriptural message enlightening.

Friday’s performance was no exception. The audience included “children of God” from all age brackets.

The puppeteers selected music, practiced the routines and gave a delightful show that included inspirational songs, lively motions and the message of God’s word and promise.

Songs included “Mahna, Mahna, “Live Like You Were Dying,” “Jesus Take the Wheel” and “Me and Jesus.

Puppeteers include Shayla King, Ashley Lindell, Kevin Miller, Alysha Pettyjohn and Gretchen Probst. Technical director was Terry Lutzow, director Edna Lutzow and assistant Julie Miller.

Other parents were involved in the church kitchen preparing the delicious three-course meal of salad, pasta and dessert. The serving of each course was weaved in between the show’s numbers.

Many of the puppets and props were created by the Lutzows with the help of Marvin and Eileen Boon.

“The puppeteers selected the music presented,” she explained, nothing they were very dedicated to practices leading up to this performance as they are with every performance they plan.

The group has performed during Methodist Church services, the Emmet County Fair, nursing homes, Forest Ridge, Rock Valley Senior Center, Hull Senior Center, Lakota Eagle Center, Snow Globes and the talent show at Estherville Lincoln Central Middle School.

Persons interested in more information about the group or to schedule a performance can call Lutzow, 712-362-7083. She said individuals who belong to other denominations are welcome but must adhere to a strict level of commitment for practices and performance scheduling.

Every participant must sign a contract annually.

At present the participants are planning to attend a one-day training event in Wisconsin this summer.