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Fitz family spreads Gospel through acrobatics

May 20, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Five Forks Brethren in Christ Church was a whirlwind of activity Sunday: Juggling pins, unicycles and balloon hats flew across the room where worship services are normally held.

Between their entertaining antics, members of the Fitz Family Ministry subtly incorporated the Gospel message that everyone should let their God-given talents shine.

The talents of the Fitz Family - the stage name of the Schoepp family - were clear during the three-hour-long performances at the Waynesboro church.

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The family, which is from Nebraska, includes Mark Schoepp, his wife Rebecca "Mother Fitz" and children Isaac "It Fitz," Sam "What Fitz" and Gideon "Quitz Fitz." Daughter Jenica "Miss Fitz" no longer travels with the family.

The two youngest, Sam, 14, and Gideon, 12, entertained by juggling on unicycles.

Isaac, 18, was a master performer, able to juggle nearly everything the audience threw at him.

From a diaper to a sneaker and a lollipop, Isaac wowed the crowd of more than 100. Though he tried, he couldn't juggle the folding chair two audience members suggested.

The Fitz Family is a troupe of jugglers that has been performing since 1992. Its goal is to encourage people to discover and celebrate their unique gifts.

"The one-word theme for this afternoon is 'shine,'" the eldest Schoepp said as he began the show.

He interspersed his Gospel message between the humor and juggling.

"God blesses us with talents so we can shine on behalf of God," he said while making a balloon hat for a young girl.

The Fitz Family finished the show with the sons juggling machetes.

Mike and Kristy Jenkins of Hagerstown said they heard about the show from a friend and decided it would be a fun way to spend the afternoon with their four daughters.

"It was all neat," said Rebekah Jenkins, 9.

Julianna Jenkins, 6, agreed. "I liked all of it."

Clara Jenkins, 4, and Gloria Jenkins, 2, were equally impressed.

Joyce Cordell of Greencastle, Pa., was plucked from the crowd to participate in the fun.

Cordell stood in the middle of the stage as juggling pins tossed by Sam and Gideon whizzed passed her head.

"They flashed by but didn't feel that close," she said. "They did things I've only seen on TV."

Her son Nick, 10, said he was most impressed by the brothers' ability to juggle the machetes.

Intrigued by the family's juggling abilities, Cordell's son Andrew, 12, bought a set of juggling balls from the Fitz Family minutes after the show ended.

Director of Youth Ministries Sherri Flohr met the Fitz Family at a youth event in Tampa, Fla., last year.

The family travels 10 months a year performing at youth and church events, and when they realized they were going to be in Pennsylvania this month, they contacted Flohr about performing at the church, she said.

The Fitz Family logs about 50,000 miles a year in the United States and Canada in a specially converted Freightliner truck.

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