SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ --  What does Christian faith have to do with  movies like "Superman" or “Chocolat” or “Apollo 13”?

This summer The Rev. Cynthia Cochran-Carney, Pastor of Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains, will explore spiritual connections between a variety of movies and Bible stories. The series runs through September 4. 

Sparking people’s imagination is really the point. “Jesus used parables and stories to convey deeper truths and move people toward lives of faith, love, and compassion. I think of most good movies as visual parables,” said Rev. Cochran-Carney.

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“Explicitly connecting popular culture with people’s faith is always a sound idea. The arts inform all aspects of our lives, including our spiritual lives. The Willow Grove congregation offers opportunities to worship God in ways that creatively engage people's hearts and minds.”

For 12 weeks this summer, all those who come to worship may see familiar and less well known movies with new eyes and learn life lessons from Superman aka Clark Kent, George Burns, and a family superheroes known as The Incredibles. Each Sunday’s worship theme is tied to a movie.

Rev. Cochran-Carney and other speakers will explore religious connections that are sometimes obvious, sometimes not. For example, when the service focuses on Superman: The Movie, which features Christopher Reeves, people will reflect on themes of a father’s love and ways God is like a father who loves us and wants the best for us.

Other movies slated for this summer include ChocolatForbidden PlanetMcFarland, USA, and Oh God.

In addition to Sunday worship services, the congregation invites the community to come to Saturdays at the Movies. On five Saturdays throughout the summer, people are invited to watch a full length movie in air conditioned Alexander Hall starting at 2:00 pm  Free popcorn and lemonade will be served.  The first one will be on June 25 and the movie will be “Superman.” Other dates are July 9, July 23, August 6 and August 20.

The congregation looks forward to adults, youth and children of the community coming to this summer series, which runs through September 6. Worship services are held on Sundays at 10 a.m. with refreshments served after the service. On the last Sunday of each month (June 26, July 31 and August 28), the worship service will take place at 5:00 pm with dinner at 6 pm.

Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is located at 1961 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains, diagonally across from the Southside Firehouse. All services take place in air-conditioned Alexander Hall with activities provided for children. For more information, visit willowgrovechurch.org, call 908-232-5678, or email office@willowgrovechurch.org