Woodland Hills Church Clears the Air Regarding The Plaza Theatre
Posted by Matthew Deery on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM By Matthew Deery / October 11, 2013 Comment
few weeks back discussing how the Plaza would be changing, as current theatre manager Nathan Block would not be continuing his oversight of the local icon. This 'change of the guard' has brought plenty of controversy, many people thinking Block is being forced out. The church who owns the property, Woodland Hills, is taking all of the heat -- so they contacted Minnesota Connected to try and battle against all the misinformation about The Plaza's upcoming change. I sat down with Senior Pastor Greg Boyd and Communications Pastor Charley Swanson to talk over the church's future with the 46 year-old movie theatre. "We want to clear up all the misinformation out there," said Swanson. "We still want to operate the theatre in the way that has made it a fixture in the neighborhood -- we will still have the same prices, snacks and movie selections." The misinformation in question starts with the Save the Plaza website. Before I even knew the full details about the Plaza's new management, I signed the petition -- mostly because I like Block -- every time I've been in contact with him, at the theater, his garage sales, or even online, he has been an excellent steward for the theater. **The "saving" website now has over 1,100 signatures and specifically highlights one comment from Rich Rudin that reads:
This statement infers the time on the Plaza is running out -- but really, the Plaza is not running out of time, it's just moving in a different direction with the actual owners of the property. If you read many of the comments from the 'electronic signatures' on the site, most accuse the church of using their wealth to buy out the property, a business strategy to occupy more money and power, a chance to steal the theater from Block, and so many vow to never visit the theatre again. It's downright disgusting what some people are commenting on the site -- everyone is so bold hiding behind their keyboards. Most are spewing venom based on completely false information. The hatred and dislike for the church is one of the reasons Swanson contacted us -- he wanted to clearly state that the church has no nefarious agenda here. "People have made a connection with Nathan and I understand their grief," Swanson said. "To Nathan's credit, he brought the Plaza to what it is today, and we want to build on that foundation and continue what has made the place cherished in the community."
"Let us come together as a community and save The Plaza before it's too late."
*First, the change will be in management, not the misspelling above. And again, the church wants to stress that prices will not increase, the regular showings will not become "Kirk Cameron Christian flicks," and the church will not be standing at the door handing out Bibles. "Our church is involved in a lot of non-religious things," Swanson said. "Going 'door-to-door' is not our style -- we want to get to know people though relationships and try to simply be a good example in the community." Despite the church now having an influence on the Plaza, you won't see crosses or scripture verses before movies. The Woodland Hills website shares a message of the church acting as a bridge -- operating the theatre can help the church act as a bridge, even if movie-going patrons never want to cross that bridge. The theatre will still be the same, minus Block of course. Part of the backlash against Woodland Hills is that they are working to make a profit from the theatre -- one of the comments on the Save the Plaza site even stated that Greg Boyd "sleeps on a pillow of money." As I'm sure most of you can assume with two dollar movie tickets and the condition the theatre is in, the Plaza isn't a real big money maker. "The money we take in will not help the church financially in any substantial way," Boyd said. "Our goal here is not to make money." The goal expressed by these two is to further their mission as a bridge using the space while also continuing to use the Plaza as a movie theatre. TwinCities.com *The intention of this statement was not to ridicule the Save the Plaza website. The intention was to publish the information as it appeared on the site and to ensure readers didn't think I was also misspelling the word "management." **Also, it should be noted the Save the Plaza site has since removed some of the nastier statements appearing in the comment section and they have changed quite a bit on the site. Since this article was published, much of the information on their website has changed.
Say "NO!" to the change in managment. CHANGED MANAGEMENT MEANS A CHANGED ROSTER OF MOVIES AND CHANGED PRICES!!