LAUGHLIN – Six men without shirts with lubricated and suntanned muscles from the Australian Thunder from Down Under floor show exhibited outside the gleaming box office spectator area. This group will be hitting and crushing at Don’s Celebrity Theatre on Sunday. However, even a bigger crowd of worshippers is attracted by the 60 year old Rev. Charles Urnick or Father Charles at the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino three times a week. This casino resort is situated at a distance of about 90 miles south of Las Vegas. There are 11 casinos on the Nevada side of the Colorado River in this gambling area.
Urnick who is the supervisor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was dressed in green clothes and has white hair with a round shape face. The two Sunday morning gatherings of Father Charles at the casino will be attended by around 300 people. While getting ready to listen to the declaration of guilt by people in front of crowd, he stated that he is devoted to his work and likes to execute it in the casino. He further informed that his church is the sole Catholic Church in United States that gathers crowd in a casino.
Attending an overhaul allows you to purchase a keepsake from the gift table of church that has a St. John the Baptist casino chip framed in blue and white with a statement Pray With Us. It’s A Sure Bet. Urnick considers gathering of crowd at the casino in accordance with the bible as well as practical too. Citing example of Jesus, he stated that Jesus also went to places where people were. In a casino town, people are mostly found at casinos. Some people make fun of it stating that to be in a casino means to be in a criminal city. However, a number of people who sing or are shepherds are blackjack dealers or are serving in casinos or couches.
At time, the superstars such as Lynn Anderson, Larry Gatlin who perform in Laughlin also join the mass and they come to Urnick and talk to him. Frank Sinatra also attends the gathering of Father Charles at least two times a year as the superstar comes to Laughlin from the Rio in Las Vegas to perform in the accolade show The Rat Pack is Back.
In 1992, the township was started as an assignment and has achieved its present status of River Palms Casino and shifted to Riverside in 1996. Both casino people and church people are nice to each other. The church draws people counting in thousands to the casino every week. Urnick has been engaged with township right from 2008 and has a petite church at a distance of 5 miles from the casino chain of Laughlin.
As informed by Urnick, around 500 families are residing in township and thousands of snowbirds come to Laughlin in winter from across the globe. In February, when vacationer period is at its peak, more than 2,500 people come to join the congregation held two Sunday and one Saturday afternoons in three weekends.
According to Barbara Nicolson of Sedona, Ariz., who resided at the casino with her husband Robert, it’s somewhat fanatical to play video poker at the casino down below the stairs before moving up to the church. However, she considers it to be awe-inspiring and finds Father Charles to be wonderful.
Mini Granados who resides in Bullhead City with her husband Danny visits congregation of Father Charles regularly. From the church, they go for a breakfast and play for sometime at the casino.
The current week witnessed presence of Judy and Ron Laughlin, the son of Don Laughlin at the church. Don was the originator of the town. His sons stated that their children obtained their foremost spiritual union and were deep-rooted at the casino church.
According to a doorman named Clay Slieff at the theatre, the Catholic congregation at most of the time gathers more people as compared to the show presenters. The church people in fact horde the crowd as well as keep them captivated.