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And the Oscar goes to...a new cinema club that's growing church

First published on: 19th March 2024

New people are coming to church services, thanks to a recently-launched community cinema club.

Worshippers at St Lucius Church, Farley Tyas have a hit on their hands since launching the club in Autumn last year, said Chris Thompson, one of the founders.

“We have run the Farnley Tyas Community Cinema Club for 7 showings with an average audience of 60 people with the recent films generating over 80 people each time, which means we have a total audience of well over 400 people so far,” said Chris.

“This is a huge success for us as we normally have around 15 to 20 people at a Sunday service and the Cinema Club has encouraged a lot of new people to come to worship.

“So, we have engaged with the community and encouraged new members of our congregation.”

The idea for the Cinema Club came from Richard Wood, a long serving member at St Lucius.

“We saw it was a chance to reach out to people, as loneliness and isolation are critical factors in both rural and urban communities. That is even more apparent amongst retired and widowed people, who currently make up the majority of our congregation,” said Chris.

“The Cinema Club encourages people to meet, engage socially and have an enjoyable shared experience. We are also keen to open our church to wider use by the community and in doing so we are able to encourage more people to engage with our Christian message.”

They made contact with Moviola, which exists to support community cinema clubs in bringing film to an audience in village halls and community locations and to broaden interest in film generally. It provides all the films and deals with the licensing and royalty payments for each film, in return for 35 per cent of the takings on the door, plus an admin fee. Ticket prices are held low to encourage new people.

“We were lucky enough to receive a donation from The Rochester Bridge Trust, who are extensive landowners in our village, and from Kirkburton Parish Council, as well as the generous support of our congregation. As a result we purchased the equipment which included a projector, motorised screen, Bluray player, amplifier, speakers and cabling.

“As St Lucius is a grade 2 listed building, we initially installed all the equipment on a portable basis. However, we have now been granted a faculty and are in the process of completing a permanent installation,” said Chris.



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