Mime team adds dimension to worship at St. James

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Cierra Gordon, 10, of Austintown holds her breath as white powder is applied to her face to look the part of a mime.




The mime team at St. James Church of God in Christ offers participants an avenue to express creativity, channel their energy, engage in positive behavior and express their faith.

Sybrena Robinson, director of the mime team, said the activity evolved out of another youth group that had run its course. The 12-member mime team was formed about six years ago, she said, with participants ranging in age from 9 to 22.

“I believe the mime team helps young people learn and builds character,” Robinson said. “It brings them out of their shell, and they develop poise.”

Robinson said members also learn to function individually in solo parts and as members of the team, both valuable educational experiences. “The older ones teach the younger ones,” she said.

The mime team performs regularly at St. James, 75 S. Prospect St., and has presented programs at other churches. On Friday, the team will participate in the Leaders for Progress talent show in Wick Pavilion at Wick Park. They will perform to the song “Rebuild.”

The team uses the traditional idea of mime, defined as acting out a story through body motions without use of speech, but also incorporates sign language, music, dance and even dialogue. “We mostly perform to Gospel music,” Robinson said, adding that the kids “feel the song.”

They wear a “uniform” of white shirts, gloves and faces and black pants.

Robinson said her experience of working with youths comes from being mother to Desiree, 20, and Doricia, 15. “I started with my own daughters,” she said. They studied the Bible together. “It was a good experience,” she said of what they learned and shared.

The mime team, part of the youth ministry at the church, has been well-received at St. James, said Pastor George Moore. The team performs as an element of worship twice a month. “Everyone, young and old, likes the spirit of this blessing on the church,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity for the youth to express themselves in a positive way,” Pastor Moore said. This activity fills up time, he said, and may help prevent “negative” behavior.

“It also is another way to bring God into their lives,” Pastor Moore also said, adding it may “touch and inspire.”

The pastor said he appreciated the mime team for the “visual experience” it provides during services. “It adds another dimension to worship,” he said.

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