History of the Los Angeles Fellowship of Christian Magicians
LAFCM chartered in early 2000.
The charter members were included Harvey Simpson, Robert Hill, Joe Marotta, Bud Bartlett, Bud Ireland, Ed Sollis, Mark Paralitici, Kevin Brennfleck, Bill Sy, Mike Saivipoo, and Garry Hickman.
The original board was Harvey Simpson as President, Ed Sollis as VP, Joe Marotta as Secretary, Robert Hill as Treasurer. (Robert Hill may not be accurate, but don't know for sure...and at the time...no money was collected...so it was a pretty easy job then.)
At the helm (the presidents) over the years have been:
2000-2001 - Harvey Simpson
2002-2003 - Kif Anderson
2004-2005 - Ed Sollis, (replaced during the term by Barney Kinard)
2006-2007 - Rob Watkins
2008-2009 - Michael LaFond
2010-2011 - Robert Miller
2012-2012 - Jefferey LeMasters Tahir
2012-2013 - Robert Miller
2014-Present - Roy Baughman
The first gathering was in late 1999 when an number of potential members and they met at the Magic Castle. They decided to give it a go, but moved to them meetings to the Pillar of Fire church, where Harvey Simpson attends and teaches, so non 21-year-olds could attend. After the meetings, some folks would occasionally go on to the Magic Castle. By mid-year we received permission to gather at the Magic Castle and have met there pretty consistently for our 15 years in existence.
The initial beginnings of the group, which many times was only a hand full of folks, grew in 2002 when it was decided to have club dues in order to be able to afford outside speakers to come and present lectures to the club. And while there have been many paid guest lectures, most of the meetings teach times are by fellow members, as the organization decided early on that it wanted to develop its members every way possible.
Some of our guests speakers over the years have include Andre Kole, who has dropped by a couple of times and couple Tim Ellis and Susanne Weber from Australia. Both of these events were advertised to members of the Academy of the Magical Arts (the organization that runs the Magic Castle) and were "outreach" events. The first one we did with Ellis and Weber was written up and published in The Christian Conjurer Magazine, the FCM's bi-monthly publication, sharing how we used the opportunity to share the gospel to secular magicians.
In early 2007, the group, representing FCM, was featured in a magazine television show American Bible Society Presents. Several of our members were featured in the program and a few were interviewed. This turned into a segment that aired in April of that year. It was also played at the business meeting of the International FCM convention in July. The television exposure also got the attention of Magic Magazine which did an article about the experience on our group.
In 2006 and 2007, the LAFCM held conferences inviting fellow performers and children's ministry workers to attend. Guest presenters at these events have included, Steve Axtell, Steve Varro, David and Teesha Laflin, Mary Rice Hopkins, and Ralph Dewey. Again, the membership did the lion's share of programs offered, continuing with the desire to build up our membership.
While the fellowship is not limited to gospel performers, it has encouraged many to begin doing outreach programs. Because of this fellowship, several ministries have developed including Starburst the Clown (Nancy Aposhian), Oz and Wilde (Gene Oswald and Kif Anderson), Michael LaFond, Mike Ferrari, Joe Marotta, Jeff Martin, and several others. It has grown on the experience and input from those who have been doing gospel performances for years by the likes of Robert Hill, Harvey Simpson and Barney Kinard.
Several members have submitted articles to The Christian Conjurer over the years, and two, Gene Oswald and Kif Anderson together had a regular column, until Brother Kif was diagnosed with cancer and eventually passed away.
American Bible Society Presents - November 25, 2007