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Church in the cinema

Lu Snyder

SUMMIT COUNTY – Beginning next month, the Skyline Cinema will open its doors on Sunday mornings – for church.

“This will be a new approach – a different approach,” said Brent Smith, pastor for One Community Church, which is opening its doors for worship Sept. 7.

One Community Church will take a unique approach to religion in Summit County and is filling what Smith refers to as a “void” in the local religious community.

In other words, Smith plans to offer his congregation “culturally relevant” and “down-to-earth” teachings and use modern music by live rock bands instead of traditional hymns. In doing so, the church is targeting the 25- to 45-year-old, post-modern mindset, he said.

“They just want to know what’s real,” Smith said. “They’re not going just to read a book and take your word for it. They need proof.”

Originally from Michigan, Smith was raised with a very traditional and conservative perspective on religion. But he’s also experienced the opposite end of the spectrum, where religion is more liberal and churches focus on religion through emotion and experience.

Typically, he said, those two styles don’t mix within one church.

“What we want to do is create a radical middle where there are no walls that separate,” Smith said.

Smith was working as a pastor at the Dillon Community Church when a small group approached him about starting a new church in Summit County and asked if he’d be willing to lead them.

After three months of praying for guidance, Smith and the group “stepped out, scared to death, but knowing in our hearts this is a new movement of God in Summit County and we want to be a church that makes a difference here,” he said.

“We are really seeker-minded people, people who are asking God questions,” Smith said. “We want those kind of people all around us because we want to help them on their spiritual journey. We have a heart for the not-yet-convinced.”

Though One Community Church is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, it is also a community church where all denominations are welcome.

“You don’t have to be a Free Methodist to come,” Smith said. “We don’t say, “You can’t come because you’re a Catholic or a Baptist. Anybody and everyone can come.”

The church will offer teachings for children simultaneously with services for adults.


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