Church hosts biblical storyteller

Published 5:15 pm Monday, May 25, 2015

A world-traveling Biblical storyteller will give new life to the Scriptures when he stops by North Suffolk’s St. Andrew Presbyterian Church next weekend.

Dennis Dewey, who was classmates with St. Andrew’s Rev. Dr. Keith Curran at Princeton Theological Seminary, has performed his biblical storytelling across North America, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Israel.

His Hampton Roads visit was put together by First Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, before he takes a group from there to Greece on a “Christian storytelling trip,” Dewey said.

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While in the area, he’ll also be visiting Royster Memorial Presbyterian Church and Temple Israel in Norfolk.

He will perform at St. Andrew on Bridge Road on May 31 starting at 6 p.m. The all-ages show will be followed by an ice cream social.

As well as Princeton, Dewey also graduated from Hartwick College, where he says he “majored in philosophy but lived in the theater,” and the State University of New York, where he studied for a master’s degree equivalency in education.

He lives in Utica, N.Y. with his wife and three children.

Before starting as a biblical storyteller, Dewey said, he already had experience in theater, and had learned the passion narrative from the Gospel of Mark — the arrest, trial and execution of Jesus.

“I performed it as a dramatic monologue as an actor, and people were just blown away,” he said. “The difference between hearing it performed and hearing it read from the book is night and day.”

When he expanded his repertoire and the invitations started, Dewey said, he left his post as a church pastor, intending to hit the road for a year “to get it out of my system.” But that stretched into 14 years.

“I pretty much took the work when I could get it,” he said. “It was never a goal of mine to make much money, and I have been very successful in achieving that goal.”

Approaching 60 and having grown weary of the road, Dewey said, he returned to parish ministry. “But I formed another group within the parish, and started doing this on a less-frequent basis,” he said.

“Now I’m about to retire from the parish ministry and might start again.”

Dewey last performed at St. Andrew in 1999.

“Being a trained storyteller, he really does put meat on the bones of the story,” Curran said. “He really puts voice and heart into the stories, and that’s what makes it special.”