Prayer for Good Humor, by St. Thomas More
Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others.
Roly Bain (1954 – 2016)
Roly Bain was a famous clown minister who performed in his native England, Europe, the United States of America, and around the world. In 1954 Roly Bain was born, part of a set of triplets, to Richard Findlater, biographer of the first great English clown Joseph Grimaldi.
At the age of 8, having read the biography of Coco the clown, he wrote in his school book that he wanted to be a clown in Bertram Mills Circus. However, his life didn’t go that way — at least, not directly. In 1978, Roly Bain was ordained a minister in the Church of England. But Roly still felt a calling to clowning, and in 1982 he co-founded the Holy Fools.
In 1990, Roly resigned his parish in London and spent a year at Fool Time, the circus school in Bristol (now called Circomedia), and embarked on a gospel-centered clown journey that lasted the remainder of his life. Roly Bain was one of the clowns showcased in Janet Litherland’s books, The Clown Ministry Handbook and Everything New and Who’s Who in Clown Ministry.
After a year’s battle with cancer, Roly Bain passed away on August 11, 2016.
Awards for Roly Bain
- 1994 – Clowns International Clown of the Year
- 1999 – Clowns International Slapstick Award
- 2001 – Clown Impact Award (USA)
- 2003 – Member of College of Evangelists
- 2010 – Barbara Miller Award
Books by Roly Bain
The Day the Circus Came to Town, written by Melody Carlson, illustrated by Ned Butterfield
The Day the Circus Came to Town is a nicely written and beautifully illustrated childrenâs book set in the early 20th Century, in an unnamed small town in the United States of America. It tells the story of Billy, a young boy, who is initially excited to hear that a traveling circus is coming to town for the first time in his life. Some of his friends, however, are trying to âpooh-poohâ the whole idea, as âcircuses are for sissies.â Once the circus comes into town, one of the circus clowns, Zino, comes across the boys and offers them free tickets to the performance. Billy, giving into peer pressure, refuses, and later refuses to go along with his family to the circus. He goes to visit with his friends, only to find they they have all gone to the circus, save one. (more…)
The Clown of God, an old story told and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
The Clown of God is a touching story, a children’s story, a Christmas story, and a clown ministry story — all at the same time. In a nutshell, an orphaned street urchin goes begging from door to door, juggling for his food. He joins a traveling troupe of entertainers, and gains fame and fortune as a juggler, until he grows old, and again becomes a homeless beggar.
On one cold night, he seeks shelter in a nearby church, and falls asleep. He awakens to the site of the townspeople offering gifts to statues of the baby Jesus and his mother. The crowd leaves, and our juggler approaches, to see that the statues are sad. He puts on his clown face, and juggles as he never has before, to put a smile on the divine Child’s face. (more…)
Jingle the Christmas Clown, by Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola’s Jingle the Christmas Clown is a very sweet story, set in Italy, where a traveling circus comes to the small town where they traditionally perform on Christmas Eve before moving into a nearby larger town for a longer engagement. This year, however, the town is nearly deserted. Crop failures have forced most of the people of the town to move away, leaving only the elderly people of the town behind. The townspeople cannot afford a circus, and so the circus decides to move on.
However that the baby circus animals have been walking all day, and need a rest first. The circus ringmaster (or Impresario, as he’s called here – one of many touches of Italian flavor to this tale) decides the the youngest clown, named Jingles, can stay behind to take care of the animals for a few days while the rest of the circus moves on. (more…)