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Juggler reflects on ministry
Juggle WEB 1
Terry Dodd juggles for customers at Hobby Lobby in Cumming. He uses his act as part of his Christian ministry. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie

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Learn more about Terry Dodd and Juggling for Jesus at terrygdoddbooks.com.

Tossing three pins in the air and dropping them promptly afterward, Terry Dodd joked that his act is “picking up.”

The 73-year-old juggler isn’t as agile with the pins as he once was, but he says it’s all right.

“The audience may not be forgiving if you drop a pin,” Dodd said, “but God is.”

He recently retired his ministry, Juggling for Jesus, after about two years of performances for residents in senior living facilities.

Dodd journaled during the experience and published the book “Journey with Outstretched Hands” this spring.

He had spent some time at the Cumming home for seniors that his mother was staying in, and he’d seen the monotony of their lives.

He took some of his clubs to the assisted living facility to juggle for them.

“It’s a big deal to those folks because they don’t get out much,” Dodd said. “Anything visual is a real blessing to them, a change of pace.”

After his mother’s death at 90 in 2007, he put together a full routine and in 2010 began traveling to different senior homes about two or three times per month.

“I’ve used humor and juggling to help get across the message [of the Bible],” he said.

The 45-minute performance was designed for adults rather than kids, and so the commentary and the jokes are a central part of his act.

Dodd says he can juggle “anything from soup to nuts.”

Then he starts to toss around two coconuts and a can of tomato soup.

Some of his other tools include rings, scarves and even knives.

He learned the art while he was trapped in his Ohio home during a blizzard in 1977. But he didn’t pick it up again until he felt the calling for the juggling ministry.

Like juggling, faith wasn’t always a part of Dodd’s life.

Though raised in the church, he describes himself as a “Christian in name only” until age 58.

“There was something missing in my life, and I didn’t know what it was,” Dodd said.

He found a flier for a nearby church that welcomed people to stop watching “Elvis” reruns and come learn about the true King.

Dodd had found what he was missing.

On Christmas of that year, 1996, Dodd accepted Christ as his Lord and savior.

His faith became central in all aspects of his life, including his longtime passion for writing.

Dodd, now a member of First Redeemer Church, has written seven books — both fiction and nonfiction — that explore the messages of the Bible.

“Journey with Outstretched Hands,” his most recent publication, will also support one of his other passions in life — the Northside Hospital-Forsyth Auxiliary.

From each book sale, $5 will go toward supporting the auxiliary’s scholarship fund and other needs for the hospital community.

Dodd has been a member of the hospital’s volunteer group for five years, shortly after he lost his wife of 45 years to cancer.

He spends a couple days a week volunteering and has volunteered in several roles. He’s currently at the helm of interviewing volunteer applicants.

Past president of the organization, Barbara Moran, said Dodd has been an asset for the auxiliary.

“He’s humorous. He’s serious,” Moran said. “Wherever your feelings are, he can be there for you.”

Since meeting him those five years ago, she always knew he was an author, but he didn’t reveal his juggling hobby until a Christmas party for the group about two years ago.

Moran helped Dodd with a recent fundraiser for the auxiliary and book sale at the Hobby Lobby in May, as he entertained customers with his act.

“One of the lines I like to use is: How many tries does a 73-year-old juggler get?” he said. “As many as he needs.”