AUBURN — The United Methodist Church on Park Avenue hosted its first “drive-in” movie night Saturday, complete with boxcars, snacks and beanbag chairs.

Megan Skilling, a volunteer at the church who helped organize the event, said she picked the movie with the aid of Facebook.

“I took a survey of the Sunday school kids, what movies they would want to see, and made a poll about the ones not in theaters,” Skilling said.  

Saturday’s feature presentation was “Finding Dory,” a family-friendly sequel to the classic “Finding Nemo.” 

Skilling said “The Secret Life of Pets” was a close second. She hopes to hold another movie night soon and show the film. 

“It didn’t cost us anything, except for the snacks,” she said. 


Cherie Downing, superintendent of the school, had the idea to give the movie night event a drive-in theme after seeing a post on the internet about a boxcar competition movie night. 

About 20 people from the church and public came to the screening, some with their own seating. One family brought plastic storage bins and filled them with pillows and blankets for seats for their children. 

Ben Carlton, 3, showed up with his Thomas the Tank Engine boxcar, attached to him with yarn suspenders.

“Would you believe he made this all himself?” asked Jen Gendron, his mother. 

Mary and Edith Coffin also brought in their car creation, complete with working headlights and room for them to sit side-by-side. 

A prize was to be awarded to the contestant with the most creative boxcar, but Downing couldn’t choose — so both cars won. 


The entrance fee was the donation of a new or used book, which were all given to the High Street food pantry. 

The United Methodist Church recently started holding “film school” during its Sunday School classes for middle- and high-schoolers.

“We watch current movies and there’s a curriculum, a set of Christian-based questions that go along with the discussion,” Downing said. 

Skilling said they’re trying to host more activities that will get the community into the church.

“I teach a Zumba class here, and local Boy and Girl Scout groups meet here,” Skilling said.  

She said the church is planning to hold a parent-and-child dance and a breakfast with the Easter Bunny in the spring. 

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