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Barclay Square ready for annual Church in the Park event

July 25, 2012

The community church choir is shown practicing at the First United Methodist Church for Saturday's Gospel Singin.' The program will be held at 7 p.m. at the church under the direction of Doug Temchulla. Gospel Singin’ is part of the weekend’s sixth annual Church in the Park event. (Photo by Zak Lantz/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY —If you think that summer is going by too quickly, here's proof, as the sixth annual Church in the Park services will be held this weekend in Barclay Square under the sponsorship of Punxsutawney area churches.

"Six years ago, Church in the Park was began by Pastor Greg Tibbs and the First Church of God in Punxsy, which joined together with Pastor Jim Pond and the First United Methodist Church in Punxsy for the second year," said Pastor Al Kimmel, of Crosstown Ministries, who is also serving as coordinator for the event.

Kimmel said this is the third year during which many community churches have joined together to sponsor the event.

"Last year, there were over a dozen churches that joined together, and this year it has risen to over 20, he said.

Kimmel said the Park activities will include a family movie, gospel singing and a church service.

“The Movie in the Park will start the weekend events at 8:30 p.m. on Friday," Kimmel said, adding that this year’s free movie will be “Big Miracle,” a movie that all ages will enjoy.

According to the movie’s website, it is based on the true story of a small-town news reporter and a Greenpeace volunteer who team up to help save a gray whale family threatened by weather conditions in the Arctic Circle.

Kimmel said that everyone should bring their lawn chairs for the evening’s program.

In case of rain, the event will be held at the Punxsutawney Area High School auditorium, he said.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, community church members will join together to present Gospel Singin’ at First United Methodist Church, directed by Doug Temchulla, music director for the church.

"There will also be an opportunity for a sing-a-long with some familiar old hymns," said Kimmel, adding that the culminating activity for the weekend will be Church in the Park at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

“This has grown over the years to be the largest ecumenical event in our community,” he said. “I look forward to worshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ and hope we can reach others with His gospel.“

Kimmel said the keynote speaker will be Pastor Gregg Parris of Muncie, Indiana.

"Pastor Gregg believes that we are not supposed to be perfect, but we are to strive to be better," Kimmel said.

"Being a better you also means making your community a better place for everyone in it," he added. "We were led to him by Wayne Anderson, interim pastor at the First Church of God who has worked with Parris at numerous ecumenical events over the years.”

A special children’s service will also be held during the Sunday worship service.

The theme for the children is “Dare to be a Daniel" and will be held at Harmon Field.

Following Sunday’s service, participants will have the opportunity to join in a fellowship lunch, which must be ordered ahead of time by calling First Church of God at 938-6670 for more information.

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