Giving at church has been about as flat as, well… attendance in church since the bottom dropped on the national economy. However, when God is alive in your heart, quit is nothing more than a dirty four-letter word.
Just ask Archbishop Dorian Baxter who holds church services in a Royal Canadian Legion Hall as a notable Rock and Roll singer. (Shout out to another brick on the Wall, Bene D the Canuck).
Baxter knew the secret to driving attendance into his hallowed halls – a certified gimmick.
And he found one in the most obvious of places – his mirror.
It seems this raven-coiffed, seemingly half-baked son of the 60s shares an obtuse and no-way-close resemblance to a young man named Elvis.
At least that’s what his friends say, but who am I to argue?
I’m sure he gets slammed enough with that shingling he’s rocking around his ears.
Baxter, who also performs as impersonator Elvis Priestley, is quick to point out, the main reason they assemble in the Spartan surroundings of the Royal Canadian Legion hall is to praise God. “We honour Elvis’s commitment to the Lord,” said Baxter, 59… “Like Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, we worship Jesus, the King of Kings.”
Church is free and I would pay money to see that tomfoolery.
What’s next? A Christmas message proclaiming when there was no room at the Inn, Mary went to the “Heartbreak Hotel” instead? How about testifying to the omnipresence of God? You’ll never have to cry out “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”
Evidently, the Elvis dedication hour got him in hot holy water with the Bishopric as Baxter was removed from his original parish in 1998. I know what some of you cynical Wall Watchers are thinking, “At least he has a career in Vegas at the local chapel.” Not according to the Anglican parish, he was stripped of his right to perform marriages. How daftly ironic is that?!
Despite the irony and impersonations, Baxter forged ahead glorifying God while sporting his mutton chops and pompadour when he formed the – wait for it – Christ the King, Graceland Independent Anglican Church in 2003.
Obviously, someone is being more than amused by this stage show – it’s more of a blessing. Baxter is exalting God by toasting a peanut butter and banana sammich. Who would have thunk it?
Baxter’s church sponsors a breakfast program, Christmas hampers and 92 orphans. He said he thinks Elvis would have liked that. He’s also made peace with the main body of the Anglican Church, but has rejected offers to rejoin it.
Ah well, God’s word never returns unto him void, we read in Isaiah 55:11. Or would that be “Return to Sender,” I can’t remember.