Pop’s Puppets help teach ministry to variety of people

Winston “Pops” Jones, director of Pops’ Puppets, introduces the puppets to an audience Thursday at Whisperwood Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center. (Photo by Luke Backus)

Pop’s Puppets entertain elderly people at nursing homes, churchgoers at Shadow Hills Baptist Church and children at birthday parties. But the puppets do more than just entertain.

Winston Jones, known as “Pop” to children and young adults at Shadow Hills, has been doing the puppet ministry at the church for about six years. When the minister there asked for volunteers to do puppet shows, he remembered having worked with puppets before and felt it would be interesting.

“It was fun, so I just started buying puppets and everything I need and went on from there,” said Jones. “Altogether with my small animals and human-type puppets, I’ve got about 100 of them, which is quite a bit.”

Jones said he has stereotypical puppets of girls, boys, grandparents and such, but he also has puppets of specific religious figures, including Moses, John the Baptist and King David. He also has built a stage for the puppets from PVC pipes with a curtain for puppeteers to stand behind while making presentations and a sound system to play recordings.

“Most everything I do at the moment is on a CD, as far as the voices of the puppets,” said Jones. But he said the church does one weekly program on Sunday evenings where three adults do the voices for puppet skits.

Each Saturday, Jones meets up with one of his alternating puppet teams, consisting of three to four children and parents, at Whisperwood Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center.

“What we do at Whisperwood, we do five secular songs, which are normally kids’ songs. Older people seem to enjoy those,” said Jones. Then the group does five religious songs with the puppets. To close the event, the group does a four-to-five minute skit.

Margie Kife, a resident of Whisperwood for three years, along with her Dachsund named Baby, said she looks forward to the puppet shows put on there each Saturday morning. It is one of the few times she sees children at Whisperwood, and she really enjoys the shows.

“Oh, I think it’s great. When I’m not sick, I never miss it,” Kife said just after a show.

The children helping to put on the puppet show also enjoy the opportunity to perform for the Whisperwood residents.

“When you do puppets, it’s kind of hard because you have to hold up your hand for a long, long time,” Mikayla Teeter, 11, said after a performance. “But the people at the nursing home really love it. It just makes their day for us to come over.

“It’s really fun. I like doing it instead of sitting at home watching TV.”

Teeter said she also learns from the Christian themes of the skits the children perform.

“When I do puppets, I listen to the words, and it helps me to become a better Christian,” said Teeter.

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