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Bridge Christian Life Center has open invitation for public's participation

SPRING HILL — The welcome mat is out at Bridge Christian Life Center — for the congregation and the public.

"Our events are oriented for the brothers and sisters and anybody they want to invite, because God can touch people in so many different ways," said Gary Coddington, assistant pastor and head of family ministries at the church. "We just want to open a door to anyone who comes in. Whatever we do for the church members, we also try to include the community."

That applies to people walking by who read the church marquee and ask if they can attend an event at the church, Coddington said, noting that that's happened a few times.

The two main outreach events are Movie and Dinner Night at 6 p.m. the first Saturday of each month and Open Mic Night and Coffee House at 6 p.m. the third Saturday of the month. Both events are free and run throughout the year. Dress is casual.

The movie ministry has been in operation for about a year and draws between 30 and 50 people each month. Four couples work with Coddington to plan the dinner and decide what movie will be shown.

The evening begins with fellowship.

"The people have plenty of time to meet each other, and the kids run and play together," Coddington said. "When it comes time to eat, everybody just grabs a place to sit."

The church sets up round tables with six chairs and provides the drinks, plates and utensils. Those attending bring a dish to share.

Lately, there has been a theme to the dinners. The one in May had a Mexican theme to go along with Cinco de Mayo.

"People brought in enchiladas, tamales, tacos and Spanish desserts," Coddington said.

The movie that follows dinner is always family friendly.

"Nine times out of 10 they are rated G," Coddington said.

While many of the films would be considered Christian films, there are some that are not.

"The ones that are not are encouraging kind of movies," Coddington said. ""We've had The Blind Side and a bunch of different ones that are family oriented. We try to gear it to that."

Young children have the opportunity to view a separate movie in the nursery.

Due to copyright laws, the church does not publicly announce the titles of the movies.

"People can call the church to find out the name of the movie we will be showing," Coddington said. "We have a license that will cover us to show it, but (productions companies) don't want us to put it on our marquee outside. Because we're showing it for free, they are losing money."

The next film will be shown July 7.

Christian singers and musicians show up for Open Mic Night and Coffee House, Coddington said.

"Our praise team usually opens with three songs, and then we'll introduce the next group," he said. "Each group does about three songs to leave room for everybody else."

Those who are not musicians may sing with accompaniment tapes.

"It's totally up to them" Coddington said. "However they want to come in and perform their praise and worship to God is all that we want. That's what it's for — the Christians to come together and, if possible, to invite somebody to come and (partake in) fellowship."

People talk and visit with each other during the performances.

"As the music's going, it's very talkative," Coddington said. "It gives people an outing to just sit down and have a cup of coffee and let their kids go to the nursery and come listen to music."

Coffee and snacks are free. A donation box is made available. The next event is June 16.

Coddington said he hopes people will join the church for both nights of fellowship and relaxation.

"We just want to make it a place where people can go to have a friendly, good time in a safe atmosphere," he said. "And hopefully they will be introduced one way or another to God."

. If you go

A time to gather,

a time to enjoy

Movie and Dinner Night is offered at 6 p.m. the first Saturday of each month at Bridge Christian Life Center, 7279 Pinehurst Drive, Spring Hill. Open Mic Night and Coffee House is from 6 to 8 p.m. the third Saturday of each month. Both events are free. Call (352) 683-2863 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays.

Bridge Christian Life Center has open invitation for public's participation 06/08/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 5:25pm]
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