2/24/2009

While pews remain empty at many British chapels, it's standing room only at Holy Trinity Church in Hackney on the day of its annual clown service. The Reverend Roly Bain wore grease paint and wobbled atop a large blue ball while telling the faithful that all things are possible with God's help. "Judging from his precarious position on the ball, I was unsure whether it would be wise to take his advice," says this correspondent. Yet the service is not all giggles and floppy shoes. The recitation of names of those clowns who died in the past year -- Bozo, Boxcar, Uncle Dippy -- added a poignant note.

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