Minister believes humor can calm stormy waters

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A Louisiana-based minister and humorist, the Rev. Dennis Swanberg, says there is a greater need in troubled times for people to laugh and pull together.

"We are all in this boat together," he said in a phone interview. "Let's encourage one another even when the times are tough. And don't be too judgmental, because, hey, it could be your son or daughter next week or your son-in-law in five years. Or it may be you.

"So, just back off, Jack, and love people and try to help them."

The "minister of encouragement," as he is known, has delivered his folksy humor with Christian messages for about 30 years through his books, DVDs, CDs and former nationally syndicated TV series, Swan's Place .

His latest book is The Man Code: Keys to Unlocking A Balanced Life .

He will be the featured speaker at a free wild game supper at 5 p.m. Saturday at Sweetwater Baptist Church, 198 Sweetwater Road, North Augusta. Call (803) 613-0344.

The Rev. Swanberg learned early that he had a knack for impersonating people.

One of his first was that of TV's bumbling Deputy Barney Fife (actor Don Knotts) on The Andy Griffith Show .

He once did his Billy Graham impression when the evangelist was only a few feet away.

The Rev. Swanberg's influences include the late Grand Ole Opry humorist Jerry Clower, Mr. Griffith and the late Baptist preacher Grady Nutt (who was on the TV show Hee Haw ).

"Jerry Clower made a clear cut for me through the forest of entertainment," the Rev. Swanberg said. "He made a way for me to go out there and impact people with humor and my impressions and story telling.

"People need to be entertained. They need to laugh. They need some times of refreshment."

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 38 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at don.rhodes@morris.com.

BEAST FEAST

WHAT: Wild game supper with all the fixings; guest speaker, the Rev. Dennis Swanberg


WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday


WHERE: Sweetwater Baptist Church, 198 Sweetwater Road, North Augusta


CALL : (803) 613-0344


ONLINE: dennisswanberg.com


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