Tricks of the Trade - Salvation Army Canada

Advertisement | The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda

The Voice of The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda
View RSS Feed


  • Mar4Wed

    Tricks of the Trade

    Sawyer Bullock has something up his sleeve he wants everyone to know about: his faith. March 4, 2020 by Ken Ramstead
    Filed Under:
    Faith & Friends
    Sawyer Bullock performs a card trick
    Sawyer Bullock performs a card trick
    The main lobby of the Mosaic, a resort located in the Blue Mountain area north of Toronto, is packed with guests of all ages, some coming in from the slopes and others registering. But time has stopped in one area just off the front desk.

    Sawyer Bullock—aka Magician Ordinaire, as it says on his business card—is holding his audience spellbound as he performs feat after feat of sleight of hand.

    He astounds some youngsters with his three-card trick, where he asks them to deal a trio of cards out of the deck and hand them back to him—only when they do, they keep handing a quartet back. He withdraws the fourth and returns three. Yet despite numerous attempts, they keep giving him four cards.

    “And that’s the three-card trick!” he smiles.

    But the most amazing trick occurs when Sawyer asks one woman to take a coin out of her own purse, write her initials on it with a permanent marker and then hold it in her fist. At no time does he touch the loonie himself.

    Sawyer asks her to imagine the coin as a chocolate melting in her hand. When she opens her palm, abracadabra: the loonie is now folded over!

    “I felt it move in my hand!” she says. “How did you do that?”

    “Years of practice and social isolation,” Sawyer comically replies.

    The actual folded coin mentioned in the textThe actual folded coin mentioned in the text
    A Course in Faith
    Sawyer, 24, was born and raised in Stayner, Ont., just outside of Collingwood, Ont.

    “Thankfully,” he recalls, “both my parents are strong Christians, so there never was a time in my life when I didn’t know God’s love and the personal work of Jesus.”

    Growing up, Sawyer was fortunate to have good mentors and pastors in his studies right up to and including Tyndale University in Toronto, where he graduated with a degree in philosophy.

    “I originally went there for a business degree because I thought I’d need one to manage my magic career,” he says. “But I had to take some required philosophy courses, and I not only enjoyed them but found they helped me with my faith.”

    In the Spotlight
    When Sawyer was seven, he attended Muskoka Bible Centre, a Christian retreat in Ontario, where he took in a magic act.

    “The magician passed out a little booklet showing a couple of easy-to-do tricks. I remember reading those, then going to the local library in Stayner and borrowing all their magic books—they had two

    He kept checking and rechecking the books out and showing the staff what he had learned until one librarian said, “Sawyer, why not do a show here?”

    The youngster was ready to step into the spotlight.

    “Sawyer Does Tricks”
    How did that first show go?

    “It was awful,” Sawyer laughs now. “I didn’t know you had to have an act or anything planned out ahead of time, and I was doing some tricks on the fly. The audience was a social and support group for young mothers and their babies, so they were just hanging out. But they were very supportive. I couldn’t have asked for a better opening-night crowd.”

    Living in a small town and being part of a faith community, word got out that “Sawyer does tricks” and he was soon asked to perform at birthday parties, barbecues and church events.

    Almost by necessity, Sawyer started expanding his act to keep up with demand.

    “I kept being invited back to the same places,” he explains. “Some locations have been booking me year after year for almost a decade now, and for 50 to 60 days a year during the season, over and above my private bookings.

    “It’s like being a musician,” he explains. “You learn your first couple of songs and then you start adding more to your repertoire. The same with tricks. And you start to get a feel for what audiences prefer.”

    Sawyer Bullock performs a card trick sitting at a tableSawyer is in the process of securing a permanent location for his magic act and hopes to have a show up and running soon
    A Restored Whole
    Depending on the audience, Sawyer will bring his faith to bear.

    “Most of my show is fast-paced and upbeat and I interact with as many people as I can,” he explains.

    But when he starts winding up the show, the house lights are dimmed and he puts things into a lower gear.

    “The whole universe in a piece of yarn,” Sawyer says, holding it in his and.

    Piece by piece, he starts breaking it apart while talking about “the reality of pain, loss and suffering, tragedy and misplaced hope, which are the realities of this life on earth.”

    Sawyer then rolls the separate pieces together into a ball.

    “How do you fix something that’s so broken?” he asks the audience. “This is where the gospel comes in.

    “It shows us what could be, what should be and maybe what will be—the broken made whole, the shattered restored.”

    As he says these words, Sawyer opens his hand and displays what were once a dozen different lengths of yarn are one restored piece again.

    “That is the Christian message of restoration and redemption.”

    In His Blood
    Depending on if he is performing at, say, a Salvation Army function, Sawyer will also share his own faith journey and engage with the audience.

    “It’s a big decision, probably the most important thing that you can do with your life,” he’ll tell a young audience at a Christian youth outreach retreat. “Let me tell you what it’s done for me. Let me tell you why I think Jesus is worth it.”

    And then he does.

    Currently studying at Ryerson University in Toronto, Sawyer has no idea if magic is in his future.

    “I do know that this is something I like to do but what I’ll be using these shows for is yet to be determined. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life just doing birthday parties,” he says. “I think there’s more to the Christian life than that. So whether performing is how I’ll pay the bills or whether I simply use it to support my local church, either as a member of the congregation or in a more formal ministry capacity with some kind of campus outreach group, that’s still up in the air.

    “But one way or another, magic will always be in my blood."

    Photos: Courtesy of Sawyer Bullock

    Leave a Comment