The Life of a Christian Town Crier
Peter Wooding : Dec 8, 2011 : ASSIST News
"In my role as a crier I have become so used to striking up conversations with complete strangers that witnessing has become immeasurably easier than it was before I first clad myself in a proclaimer's robes." -David Mitchell
(Chester, England)—David Mitchell has plenty to shout about the varied opportunities his role as Town Crier of Chester provides, as he continues this centuries old tradition of proclamation. In the days before you bought a newspaper on the way to work, or read the news on your phone, you might have heard about the latest financial crisis from your local town crier.
David Mitchell a Christian proclaimer is Chester's Town Crier in the North West of England and his insights into the spiritual and historical roots of the art of public proclamation have been heard by over 400 audiences in his after dinner speeches and one man shows.
"People book me to do a whole gamut of things which is why the job is endlessly varied. But by far my favorite booking is to make my costumed presentation entitled For Crying out Loud!
"I make this presentation in an after dinner context, or as my one-man show. My material is mostly humorous, but from a faith perspective we learn about the earliest origins of public proclamation in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. We note that Jesus' first words in His public ministry are to declare Himself to be a proclaimer.
"Exploring Jesus' teaching on Lake Galilee from a crier's perspective we discover that "the greatest distance over which the human voice is audible, is not on land but across calm water. Jesus was evidently a very proficient proclaimer, technically as well as in every other way. In proclaiming, therefore, as in everything else, He is our perfect example."
"I also tell the story of how the very handbell that announced salvation 'from sulphurous flames' to prisoners, was also miraculously saved from the flames that destroyed the building in which it was kept during the Great Fire of London."
So how does David's Christian faith affect his role as Town Crier?
"Being a Christian affects every part of my life, but the relationship between faith and crying doesn't happen in the way you might imagine. When I am working as a town crier I am usually being paid to promote the message of whichever organization has employed me on that particular occasion, so that is not the time to be proclaiming the Gospel.
"But it does affect my witnessing in a more indirect way. Surprisingly for someone who became a town crier, I am shy and introverted by nature. But as Shakespeare observed, 'habit can almost change the stamp of nature.' In my role as a crier I have become so used to striking up conversations with complete strangers that witnessing has become immeasurably easier than it was before I first clad myself in a proclaimer's robes."
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