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Inspiring film showing in park

A recent Hollywood movie containing an inspiring Christian message and receiving public acclaim for its touching story, professional acting and quality production values will be shown Wednesday at a free screening in Desloge City Park.

The screen will be set up in the open area between the swimming pool and tennis courts.

The movie, “I Can Only Imagine,” stars Dennis Quaid, Cloris Leachman and Trace Adkins, among others. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the movie is “the inspiring and unknown true story behind [the contemporary Christian group] MercyMe’s beloved, chart topping song that brings ultimate hope to so many is a gripping reminder of the power of true forgiveness.

Hanna Mahaney’s American Family Insurance Agency — the company that presents Summer Movies at the Pool in Bonne Terre and Desloge with the sponsorship of New Era Bank — is behind this event, as well, but Mahaney’s husband, Todd, said this is something completely different.

“The film, ‘I Can Only Imagine,’ is just Hanna and I and the city of Desloge,” he said. “Hanna and I agreed from the get-go that we did not want to affiliate this with any church or denomination or with any business or charity outside of the people who are putting it on.

“Aside from the fact that our name is on the screen, we’re not hyping the agency. This isn’t a business event. This isn’t about publicity for American Family. We’re blessed that we’re able to do something like this for the community.

“The Disney movies are a little different. That is more about the business for us. This one was put on my heart by God to do. I appreciate the Disney movies, but I would love to see 3,000 people jammed in the park trying to figure out where to sit and having the headache of where to put cars and how to get everybody out of here. I would prefer that more than anything because I want this message to get out.”

Mahaney admitted that many people have seen some Christian films through the years that weren’t all that good but stressed “I Can Only Imagine” is different.

“We were aware of the film before it came out in theaters,” he said. “It looked like it was going to be a very moving and emotional film. We went to see it on opening day. It was immediately put on our hearts that this needed to be brought to our community in a manner where people could see it free of charge, just for the message.”

“MercyMe has been around forever and this song has been out for almost 20 years. It’s a great message. This is the story of how lead vocalist Bart Millard wrote it. The MercyMe band really has a strong hold with contemporary Christian music and the younger generation because they are fairly upbeat. They deliver some excellent messages.”

According to Mahaney, there were several things that stood out with he and his wife about the film.

“One, it is very well made,” he said. “The way it was produced, the story — it’s a movie you just want to keep on watching. It is actually entertaining. Dennis Quaid is phenomenal in this movie. I was shocked at how well he portrayed his part.

“Then the message itself of what heaven might be like is so intriguing and something I think we all think about, ask ourselves about and God about. To have it put into words that well, it was a homerun in the way it was made.”

The movie starts at sunset, with music and prayer beginning at 8 p.m. Individuals, families, youth groups and congregations are invited. Those attending are asked to bring lawn chairs or blankets. There is no charge to watch the film, but the city of Desloge will have the pool concessions open for those wanting to purchase refreshments.

For more details about the event or for groups who will be coming in vans or buses, call 573-518-7915. In case of wet weather, the rain date is set for June 20.

“It was immediately put on our hearts that this needed to be brought to our community in a manner where people could see it free of charge, just for the message.” — Todd Mahaney

The inspiring film,

The inspiring film, “I Can Only Imagine,” will be shown Wednesday in Desloge City Park at no charge to the public. The movie starts at sunset, with music and prayer starting at 8 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring chairs and blankets. The pool concession stand will be open for the purchase of drinks and snacks during the film.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or

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