Greetings from Main Street Church!
This is our first email newsletter in quite some time, and the first utilizing a new mailing format. We are grateful for your interest in the ongoing ministries of the church, and are glad to share with you what has been going on lately!
The Annual Peach Days Celebration!
"Peach Days" is Brigham City's annual city festival, which has been part of the fabric of this town for more than 100 years. It's a carnival, it's parades, it's a fair, it's a party! Tens of thousands of visitors are drawn to our small town every year for a weekend of in early September. Two blocks of Main Street are closed to auto traffic to enable pedestrians to wander about freely--and Main Street Church happens to be right in the middle of that high-traffic zone!
As our vision for being salt and light in our community has grown and developed, we have flung open our doors to the community during the festivities, and have sort of become the "unofficial hospitality center" for Peach Days! This year we offered something new--hourly free door prize drawings for fresh, hot peach cobbler (a huge hit!) We also gave away free popcorn (3,000 bags!), ice cold water, let folks use our restrooms (a much nicer alternative to the portable chemical toilets provided by the city), a quiet, private place to nurse babies or change diapers, comfortable seats for folks who wanted to rest a bit, and Christian music videos shown on the sanctuary's projector. A literature table offered books, brochures, pamphlets, even DVDs for free...and we saw those piles quietly and surreptitiously disappear over the course of the weekend. And there were many opportunities for meaningful conversations about Jesus to take place! It was a lot of work, but such a great experience. We can't wait to see what God has in store for next year!
Check out what the whole thing looked like! Click on the video on the left to see a timelapse of Saturday's activities and how it built up as the day went on!
Unveiling Grace is (almost) Ready for Release!
Since April, we have been working steadily to complete a new documentary film, Unveiling Grace. (A short trailer can be seen by clicking on the video image on the right.) It is the interconnected story of eight Latter-day Saints who have had a life-changing encounter with the living Jesus Christ. It's a moving, compelling story. It is the first film that has come out of our "Sacred Groves" ministry; and if the Lord permits, it won't be the last.
"Sacred Groves" (sacredgroves.net) is a ministry website that we set up to present video testimonies of people from Mormon traditions who have encountered Jesus Christ. The goal is to provide seeking Mormons with a chorus of voices that proclaim the marvelous truth of grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and to share the message that there is life on the other side of Mormonism--and not just life, but abundant life.
And this is the central message of Unveiling Grace. Among those featured in the film are members of the band Adam's Road, a group of talented young musicians, many of whom served as LDS missionaries in the not-too-distant past. For us it has been a privilege and a joy to develop a relationship with all the participants in this film; they have a genuine love for the Mormon people--their people--and a passion to share the good news of Jesus with them.
We've made this film for both the Mormon people, and for those who share our love for them and our desire for them to know Jesus as we know Him. But it's made specifically with a Mormon audience in mind. We frequently get questions from folks who have Mormon friends and loved ones, and they want to know how best to share the truth about Jesus with them. Of course, we know that the Holy Spirit uses many different things to reach out to those caught in deceptive teachings. Nevertheless, we believe this film will be something that you can confidently give to seeking Mormons that you know. We think you'll watch it and say, "Yes! This is exactly what I want my LDS friends to understand!"
The film is scheduled to be released on DVD in November. We will also make it available, in its entirety, online, so that anyone, anywhere will be able to view it, for free. The DVDs themselves will be available at minimal cost (essentially to cover the base costs of manufacture and distribution), and as long as funds allow, we will give the DVD away for free, no strings attached, to any seeking Mormon who requests a copy from us. We made this to share the authentic Jesus Christ with Latter-day Saints, and we don't want anything--and least of all cost!--to stand in the way of that.
If you would like to be on the Sacred Groves email list, and receive more detailed updates and news from the Sacred Groves ministry, we invite you to sign up here. (Don't worry, you won't get flooded with emails, and you can unsubscribe at any time.)
The Growing Outreach to Mormon Fundamentalists
Main Street Church has been actively involved in outreach to Mormon Fundamentalists (polygamists) for a number of years now. In 2007, we established A Shield and Refuge Ministry, with Doris Hanson at the helm. A Shield and Refuge exists to serve, in Jesus' name, the needs of those who seek to escape the bonds of polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism.
About two and a half years ago, God gave us a completely unexpected and awesome opportunity to produce a live, weekly call-in TV show during prime time on the subject of polygamy. The program is called Polygamy: What Love Is This, and is hosted by Doris herself. It's aired every Thursday night at 8:00 PM on Salt Lake City's TV-20, and can be seen throughout Utah (and into parts of the neighboring states) on both broadcast and cable/satellite systems. The potential viewership is several million people, and the station's weekly ratings suggest that an average of at least 50,000 people tune in to the show each week. And we know that many of them are practicing polygamists. So far we have produced more than 100 episodes, and we receive on a weekly basis many encouraging (and heart-breaking) messages from viewers.
In fact one letter we received a couple days ago came from a teen-age girl, "Lisa," from a fundamentalist group who is being pressured by her polygamist father to marry, and she desperately wants out of the polygamist lifestyle. She writes:
"...I have a friend who left the community and moved to a near by town. She has a television and she told me she had a TV show that she had taped for me to watch. I caught a ride into town and visited this friend. Your show [Polygamy: What Love Is This] is what she had taped for me to watch. I am now so confused. What you say seems right to me but it goes against all I have been taught. I don't want to live this way but I know if I am not sealed to a man of our religion I will never be able to live in the celestial kingdom or be able to live in the next life with my family...."
Please, please be praying for "Lisa" and the thousands of young girls like her who are living lives of quiet desperation, afraid to leave, bound by religious oppression and the belief that God requires polygamy to please Him, and not daring to hope that there is real life "on the outside." We of course will do all we can to help Lisa, but it's a daily struggle. Often we are contacted by people in a "fit of bravery" brought on by desperation, that quickly dissolves back into fear and timidity. Pray that Lisa retains her courage to seek for Truth.
Nevertheless, because of God's faithfulness and mercy (and none of our own doing) the program is having an eternal impact on the lives of many people, and He has given us the opportunity to be witnesses to a number of people experience freedom from polygamy, and more importantly, freedom in Jesus Christ. We pray that Lisa will be one of those stories someday soon. In the meantime, our hearts break for her, and for those still caught in the web of religious bondage, and our daily prayer is that God will set them free. And we stand ready to be used in any way He sees fit!
If you want to learn more about A Shield and Refuge ministry, we invite you to visit the website, shieldandrefuge.org. If you are interested in being on Doris' monthly physical mailing, you can submit your information on this web page.
Want to check out the TV program? The program's website is whatloveisthis.tv, and you can view all of the previous episodes (more than 100 of them!) on streaming video.
Thank you so much for your interest in, and support of the ministries of Main Street Church. We are grateful for your partnership and prayer support as together we share Jesus Christ with a desperately needy world.
Blessings to you in Jesus Christ!
The Main Street Church staff