SUNDAY AT THE CINEMA
ENTERPRISE People are showing up at the OK Theatre Sunday mornings at 10. But they're not coming to see the latest Bruce Willis film or buy candy or popcorn.
They're attending a new church called The Crossing where they can worship God in a contemporary setting.
The theme of the new, independent church is "meeting people where they're at," said The Crossing's pastor, Brent Reimer.
"We try our hardest to teach Jesus in a tangible, relevant way using drama, movie clips on the screen and skits," said Reimer, who has been a building contractor in Enterprise for 10 years while also serving at times as part-time associate or youth pastor at Enterprise Christian Church or at the Community Church.
While feature-length films are not shown during The Crossing's services, Reimer said he and his associate minister, Dave Duncan, sometimes will take a concept out of a movie clip and teach on that theme.
He said Biblical messages focus on real-life issues, such as dealing with resentment. A recent sermon encouraged people to accept everyone who comes to church, and "not shut anyone out," Reimer said.
"There is no such thing in this church as a newcomer," the minister said.
"We're family, and the blood we have in common is the Lord's blood."
Reimer said he and the church's other organizers have been excited to see the response of the community to The Crossing. About 200 people showed up for the inaugural service at the theater the first Sunday in April. And attendance has been holding steady, not far from that number.
About 120 adults attend the service while tiny tots are cared for in the nursery.
A puppet-show program during that same hour for 3-to-5-year-olds, called "The Barn," is drawing about a dozen youngsters.
And another program for 6-to-12-years-olds, called "His Stars' Production," has about 40 children attending.
Reimer explained His Stars', led by Jeff Turner, the drama teacher at Wallowa High School, and Laura Spear, instructs children how to be actors, how to build props and do the other things necessary to put on a play.
"It's a drama school in which the children learn about God," Reimer said.
The pastor said the foundation for The Crossing was laid in January when he, his wife, Diane, and two other couples, Sean and Laura Spear and Dave and Steph Duncan, began meeting in the Reimers' home in Enterprise.
"We as three families would commit to this; none of us would be paid for this," Reimer said.
Meanwhile, the OK Theatre, owned by David Brandt, was being remodeled.
Brandt had been able to obtain new seats, drapes, a new screen and carpet from a theater that was being disassembled in Walla Walla. Reimer volunteered to offer his building skills and put together a team to give the old movie-house a new look.
"We're not totally done," Reimer said, "but we're close."
Reimer, 41, graduated from Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Biblical studies at Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle and a master's in Biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas. He and the other organizers have tried to create a "very casual, laid-back atmosphere" at The Crossing.
The adult service includes contemporary worship music. Reimer, his wife and others are members of the worship team. He plays bass and Diane is a vocalist.
He said people from all walks of life are attending The Crossing's service, which runs a little more than an hour.
"We have retired people who show up, lots of teenagers, and many from the working, baby-boomer class."
Reimer said he has not given up his full-time work in construction as his duties as pastor have unfolded.
"Construction is what keeps me in touch with what's going on in the county," he said.
He explained why he believes 150 or more people are attending the new church each week.
The Crossing, he said, is a "comfortable place for people to be."
"It is bringing real encouragement to a county that is going through some tough times right now."