Christ Clown College was founded by Dr. Dick Hardel in 1977 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The college is designed to train Christian people in the art and theology of clown ministry. Christ Clown College, designed after Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, is perhaps, the most formal and longest training available in clown ministry. To receive a diploma, a student must complete 60 hours of class time and over 35 hours of practice and performance time.
Students will study the history of the clown, especially in the American circus, and deepen their faith through the study of the theology of clown ministry. They will develop their own clown character from the inside-out, learn skills in make up, costume design, skit development, staging, props, mime, physical comedy, and more. If you are interested in this exciting ministry and committed to work hard, see the Contact page and email a boss clown for an application and more information.
Dick “Dr. H” Hardel
Proprietor of the Life in Christ Circus & President of Christ Clown College
Dick practices the faith and living well in Christ as husband, father, grandfather, godfather, and friend.
For over 20 years, Dick served as a Lutheran pastor in congregations in South Dakota and Florida. He served for over three years as assistant to the Bishop in the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA. In 1994 he accepted the call to serve as the Executive Director of The Youth & Family Institute were he served the Lord, either as Executive Director or as Senior Fellow.
He has been an adjunct teacher at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. He also has been guest lecturer at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN, Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, the Mennonite Seminary in Winnipeg, Canada, Princeton Theological Seminary, Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, and School of Theology of the South in Sewanee, TN.
Dick has been a speaker for pastor conferences and pastor/teacher conferences, national men’s organizations, women’s organizations, Synod Assemblies, Diocese Conferences, District Conventions, National Health Ministry Association, Lutheran Education Association, and youth gatherings for many denominations throughout North America. He has been a speaker in Australia, Norway, Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
As a retreat leader he has written and facilitated over 400 retreats. Trained by older Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus clowns, Dick is the founder and proprietor of the Life in Christ Circus and the founder of Christ Clown College.
Lyle Shaller had described Dick as “one who colors outside the lines!” Dick is an author, editor, publisher, educator, pastor, creative thinker, retreat leader, speaker, columnist, coach, consultant, and clown.