United Methodist Church to host movie night for the community

Published 9:00 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

John Mitchem, pastor at Albert Lea United Methodist Church since 2015, is bringing a familiar activity to a new place, as the church will host a free outdoor screening of “Clifford the Big Red Dog” during a movie night Friday. 

“One of the things that’s important for this church is that we just do things for the community,” Mitchem said. “… We just want to bless the community.”

Mitchem had done previous movie nights at other churches he served, but this will be the first time having a movie night at Albert Lea United Methodist Church, and he’s been there for seven years.

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“Just as we looked at our summer events and what we wanted to do for the community, we felt it was time to do this,” he said. “We try to do different things, and it was just what we decided to do this time.

“I just think, especially after COVID and those things, people being together is great. Inside makes people nervous though — and if the weather cooperates in Minnesota — what a great thing to be able to do.”

According to Mitchem, the church believes in loving and caring for its neighbors, and said this was a way of showing that love.

Besides the movie, food vendors will be on hand for people who do not bring their own food. Mitchem himself admitted he could not pass up a good food truck.

“We’ll have a food vendor with snow cones, we’re going to have one that does mini donuts, we’re going to have one with popcorn that you can buy,” he said.

People also will have the opportunity to bring their own snacks.

Mitchem encouraged people to bring lawn chairs and blankets for the free big-screen showing. Overflow parking will be directed towards Southwest Middle School.

“It’s just a great family event, and the best part of a community the size of Albert Lea is we can do community events together,” he said.

Rev. Mitchem said people can arrive at the church around 8:30 p.m. to get a spot. The movie will begin at 9 p.m.

“Albert Lea church just believes in just loving our neighbors and caring for them, and this is just one of many ways that we love our neighbors,” he said. “And we want people just to have a great evening, period. That’s it. No strings attached, no alternative motives, no agendas except that we all get to sit down, watch a really funny, good movie and enjoy Friday night in Albert Lea.” 

Should the weather not prove conducive to seeing a movie, a rain reschedule will be announced in July.

“Bring your kids, grandkids or spouse or the one that you’re dating to just enjoy a nice Friday evening out,” he said.