Local man spreads good news through dance, creativity in worship

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Randall Bane teaches churches to be more expressive

Photos by Tom Rivers – Randall Bane is founder of David’s House, a religious education organization that aims for “fully expressive worship.” Bane teaches Christians to use banners, garments, flags, drama and dance in church services. He is pictured at his house in Medina, where he has created an altar and chapel. He wants to show how Christians can express their faith in bold and charismatic ways.

MEDINA – Randall Bane said church services don’t need to feel boring. For the past four decades, Bane has taught Christians use color and symbols in banners and flags, and to include dance and drama for “fully expressive worship.”

Bane is the founder of David’s House, a religious education institute. He advocates using creative talents in church services.

“The visual expression of the faith is endless,” Bane said. “But a lot of churches have a retrenched style of worship that can be very boring.”

Bane and some guests will give a performace at the Beegarten in Medina on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The shows at 113 West Center St. are free and open to the public. They will also be teaching some Israeli folk dances that Bane said are easy to learn.

Bane, 74, left small-town Lyndonville a half century ago and headed to New York City to work as an actor, singer and dancer. (He also was a taxi driver for two years.)

Photo courtesy of Randall Bane – Randall Bane performs during the Creation Festival in 1983.

After about a decade as a professional actor, Bane became a Christian at age 33 and turned his focus on using his theatrical and performing arts skills as a ministry for God. When he became a Christian, he was living in Columbia, Missouri, on a professional theater contract in St. Louis.

He would travel the country and the world the next 40 years performing and teaching churches to bring movement and visual arts into worship. He is considered a pioneer of Christian dance.

He developed characters such as “Obie the Love Clown” and performed at Christian festivals, on Christian television and numerous venues around the country while he was living in Kansas City.

A year ago he bought a house in Medina, a 10-room building he is using as the base for David’s House, a religious education institute. His home at 801 West Ave. includes a fabric workshop where he teaches people to make banners, flags and garments.

Bane is pictured as Obie the Love Clown in this program from more than three decades ago.

He leads classes on drama and dance, and helps worship leaders at churches to bring all the performing arts disciplines together for a service.

Christians have long used art in churches. Bane notes stained-glass windows, sculptures, language and architecture have all brought out the best in peoples’ creative talents.

“Dance, drama, and architecture are all ways to express our love to God,” Bane said.

Churches were more charimastic in worship, Bane said, until he observed a significant drop off in the 1990s. Many African-American churches remain expressive, and some congregations even have dance teams, he said.

But Bane said more churches should incorporate dance, drama and bold colors in their services.

He has travelled to Singapore and China, where churches utilize performing arts.

“The underground churches in China are very lively,” Bane said. “In Southeast Asia there has been a tremendous flowering of faith.”

Bane has returned to his roots to be near his mother Mildred, who he said is 98 and going strong. He also thinks God may have a plan for him, using his house in Medina as a base for helping Christians to enliven their worship services.

Bane is pictured near the altar he made that is displayed in his Medina home. “The visual expression of the faith is endless,” he said.