A Viewing Platform for Faith
By Paulette Tobin Herald Staff Writer "Armageddon" was playing in the basement of Calvary Lutheran Church on Wednesday night as about 30 teenagers sat and sprawled around the new, two-tiered movie viewing platform built by one of their peers as his Eagle Scout project. Jordan Green, 16, a sophmore at Grand Forks Red River High School, built the platform seating area for the church's youth groups, including MediaPray, a high school group that uses movies and other popular media to start their discussions about their faith. At the same time, the platform divides the movie-viewing area of the youth room from the ping-pong , foosball and pool table area. The platform seating area has slicited plenty of "wows" from congregation members who've tramped down to the youth room to see it. "Lots of them said they didn't expect it to be that nice or that big," Green Said. Green joined Cub Scouts when he was in the first grade and Holy Family Scouts Troop No. 13 as a fifth-grader. He'd been looking for an idea for an Eagle Scout Project for some time when he approached Calvary Youth Ministry Coordinator Dave Adams. "Jordan comes regularly to Wednesday nights," Adams said. "He asked me at the end of February if I had any ideas for his Eagle Scout Project, and I kind of jokingly said, 'How would you like to build a theatre for the basement?' The next day, he showed up and started measuring." After he and Adams finished measuring, Green said, he designed the project himself. "Dave told me how big he wanted it and I drew it up on graph paper," Green said. "I put it all on computer. It's mostly just goofing around with the computer." The seating platform was built in the shape of a quarter circle, about 20 feet long from one end to the other. At the back it is 6.5 feet tall. In front it has two levels each 2 feet high and 3 feet wide. Built with 2-by-4s and plywood, it's supported by cross braces and held together with drywall screws. The back was faced with Luan plywood that was painted dark burgandy, with doors that open to multiple storage areas. The seating area is covered with navy blue carpet and multicolored throw pillows. Green said he decided to have the carpet instaled by professionals because he wanted it to look good. Building materials cost about $900, plus another $530 for the carpet. Scouts who are working on their Eagle Project are allowed to have a certain amount of help, and Green's helpers included members of his Scout Troop and his father, Troy Green. All in all, they spent about 200 hours building the viewing platform. Money for the project came from the congreggation. As the seating area was built, congregation member Brian Harris, a co-owner of Century Electric, helped build and wire a home entertainment center with a big screen TV, again with donated materials and electronic equipment. Harris said Green's building project had been well thought out with lots of attention to detail. "It just doesn't look like it was built by an amateur," Harris said. Just as impressive, Harris said was Green's follow through on the project. As soon as Green had approval from the church, he got his materials and began building, Harris said. MediaPray, one of the groups that will be using the new movie viewing area, is a youth-driven program in which teens use the media, including movies and television shows, to jump start its discussions about the Bible and their faith, Adams said. For example, the group watched the Bruce Willis/Samuel Jackson movie "Un breakable" and talked about identity issues, from body image and weight loss to homosexuality, he said. "It was one of those conversations we could have carried on for three weeks, and it was all because of this movie that sparked the discussion of, 'Who are we?'." Adams said. "If you really believe God is present in everything, there's no reason the media can't be a platform to help kids in their faith walk." Tobin covers education, teen news and special events.
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