UPDATE: Due to the rain, the church has postponed the screening of ‘Frozen’ until Oct. 18.
by MIKE CHAIKEN
This Saturday, unless Mother Nature comes calling and wants to spoil the show, the First Congregational Church was slated to continue its October tradition of screening family-friendly movies on an outdoor screen in their parking lot on Maple Street.
This year, the plan is to show the Disney animated favorite, “Frozen.” (If it rains, the rescheduled date will be Oct. 18.)
The associate pastor of the First Congregational Church, The Reverend Kathleen Cunliffe explained via email that “Our Outdoor Movie Night is offered as one of our gifts to the local community, a chance to join with neighbors and friends and enjoy something fun.”
Cunliffe explained the annual event helps transform people’s views of church, in general, and of the First Congregational Church in particular.
“These days,” she said, “there are often misconceptions about church. There are a great variety of options out there. Some communities are more vocal about what they believe. There are certain rules and requirements for participation. Sometimes people have had a negative experience in the past. But not all faith communities are exactly the same.”
At the First Congregational Church in Bristol, Cunliffe said, “We are members of a wider denomination known as the United Church of Christ. We believe we are called to welcome all people without regard to race, ethnic, or socio-economic background, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, physical or mental challenges or age. We believe it is important to help nurture their faith and spirituality. And we believe that as Christians we are called to help transform the world with love.”
The outdoor movie is timed to coincide with the assorted Mum Festival activities in the city. And Cunliffe said the event is an appropriate fit for this year’s festival theme, “Volunteers, the Heart of Bristol.”
“The logo features a big heart and many colorful hands,” said Cunliffe. “Our church is passionate about outreach and service in the community. We believe in having a big heart and many helping hands. There are so many exciting activities going on in our city during Mum Festival time. We wanted to be a part of it and offer a fun family night for the whole community to enjoy.
“Frozen” was chosen as the film this year because it “has garnered quite a following and is definitely the most popular movie of the year for all ages,” said Cunliffe. “It has great music and a surprising plot twist where the act of true love comes from family, not simply romance with the prince. In a world that needs more acts of love, it is a wonderful message.”
After several years of presenting the outdoor movie, Cunliffe said, “Everyone who attends… really loves it. It probably reminds some folks of the fun of drive-in movies except in this case, you simply bring your own lawn chair or blanket.”
“It is so much fun to sit under the stars and watch a great movie on a giant inflatable movie screen,” said Cunliffe. “We offer free popcorn to everyone and a free glow stick necklace to every child. The ice-cream truck and a food vendor are always on site selling food and drinks.”
The Fifth Annual Free Outdoor Movie Night hosted by The First Congregational Church will be held at the church, 31 Maple St., Bristol at 7 p.m. Attendees are asked to arrive by 6:30 p.m.
The movie will be shown in the church parking lot on an inflatable movie screen.