Michigan Church Draws Community with Outdoor Movies

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River Rock Church, a Christian Reformed congregation in Rockford, Mich., is showing outdoor movies as a way to help the community become familiar with its location.

Church member Jen DenOuden said the idea for the series came as church members brainstormed ideas on how to promote its summer festival to be held in late August. “We were talking through ways to bring people to River Rock ahead of that event so they would be familiar with our location and who we are as a church,” DenOuden said.

The family-friendly movie series not only gives the church the opportunity to invite visitors to the festival but also to worship on Sundays, DenOuden said.

The series opened in June with the animated comedy Minions, followed by the Disney animated movie Up. The series will close in August with another Disney feature, Finding Nemo. About 75 percent of those who attended the first movie had no ties to River Rock, DenOuden said.

“River Rock is blessed to be situated in a wonderful space, with lots of fields and beautiful creation all around us,” she said. “The outdoor movie allows us to make use of this space and invite others to enjoy it with us.”

The movies are free, and visitors can purchase concession items and glow sticks to help enhance their viewing experience. A freewill offering is also taken to help River Rock cover expenses for the movie series and its festival, DenOuden said.

About the Author

Greg Chandler is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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