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Church invites everyone to its party in the park

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religion Farmington, 55024

Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

The members of Farmington's Hope Lutheran Church will use an afternoon of fun in the park to fuel their drive towards a new church building, but mostly they just want everyone to have a good time.

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Community Hope in the Park, which will take place from noon to 2 p.m. June 13 at Rambling River Park, will feature free barbecue, a performance by a magician and a raffle for prizes that include Twins and Gophers tickets, a $100 savings bond and Farmington sports apparel. It's meant as a fund raiser, but it's also a way for the 2-year-old church to introduce itself to the community and give Farmington residents an excuse to hang out in the park for an afternoon.

"It's really just an event ... to get people together and enjoy a free barbecue, a magician and prizes," said Shawn Owens, the church's donation and fund raising coordinator.

The church will start serving food at noon. The magician will perform at 1 p.m. and the raffle will begin at 1:45.

Anytime Fitness, which is located next to Hope Lutheran's office in the Tamarack Ridge shopping center, is a co-sponsor of the event.

This is the biggest event Hope Lutheran has held since the church started meeting in late 2007.

"We've had some small barbecues in the past, but we're really starting to make an effort to get our name out there and just invite the community to come out and enjoy an afternoon with us," Owens said. "If this is successful, we're really looking forward to doing it in 2011 as well."

The church

Hope Lutheran, which currently holds worship services at Farmington Elementary School, is already making an impact in Farmington. At the beginning of the church had just a handful of members but it currently draws 60 to 70 people to each of its weekly services.

When Hope Lutheran formally launched in 2007 pastor Dan Oberer said he hoped to build a permanent facility within three years, and the church is close to that schedule. Owens said the church has identified land it would like to buy and is working to raise the money it needs. He called Sunday's event a small step toward that goal.

"This is a drop in a very large bucket, this raffle," Owens said. "But the land purchase is only part of this. We really want to do this for the community."

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