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Local churches uniting for virtual event this month

Faith & Family

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Dozens of churches are partnering for Vision 2020 on Sept. 20. Watch a trailer in the video player above. | Photo and video provided by James Runcorn

IDAHO FALLS – A team of local pastors and ministers are partnering for a virtual faith-promoting event this month, and they’re inviting you to attend.

It’s called Vision 2020 and organizers say it’s designed to provide hope and clarity during these turbulent times.

“We don’t have to live our lives in fear and anxiety. There is hope. Everyone has a purpose,” CrossPoint Community Church Pastor James Runcorn tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Vision 2020 is happening Sept. 20 and will feature a musical performance from world-champion fiddle player Jacie Sites of Idaho Falls. Idaho Falls-based band McMurphy Brothers will also be performing. Runcorn will speak immediately following and he’s hoping his message will be encouraging for those who are struggling during the ongoing health crisis.

“This is only a season. It isn’t going to last forever. Hang in there. You’ve got people praying for you and rooting for you.”

Runcorn is working with a team of people for the event, including Pastor Patrick Murphy from Christ Community Church, Travis Ricks from Grace Falls, Andrew Williams from First Evangelical Lutheran Church and Pastor Todd Wood from Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church, Providence Downtown Church and the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission.

Another 22 churches in the area are also supporting the event.

The group began planning Vision 2020 about a year ago. It was originally supposed to happen in July at Sandy Downs in Idaho Falls, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to change the format.

“We liked the idea of having an event where we could bring the hope of Christ (to everyone),” Wood says. “We had no idea there would be a lot of crazy things (going on).”

Having a virtual event has the potential for a much larger reach, Runcorn says, and it’s particularly timely as many churches start to reopen.

CrossPoint Community Church held its first live service in months last Sunday. Though worship services have been streamed online every week since the onset of the pandemic, Runcorn says people are hungry for a renewed sense of faith and community that can only come from gathering in person.

“The church is supposed to be the community of believers. It’s not supposed to be a building. When we’re not allowed to be around that community of believers, it’s easy to lose faith and become depressed,” says Runcorn.

Living a lifestyle void of faith and spiritual connection is something Runcorn has firsthand experience with.

He spent 16 years in Los Angeles working as an actor. Being cast as Jesus in a play was a turning point that made him think about the path he had chosen.

“It was a heavy responsibility,” says Runcorn. “I was pursuing all these roles for a little bit of notoriety, but at what expense? I needed to do something with my life that had a bigger impact and had more value.”

He left Hollywood in 2015 to pursue a life of ministry. Family ties brought him to Idaho Falls and he says it’s been a great place for him and his wife, Tena, to raise their seven boys.

Sharing the gospel with others and helping them understand the grand purpose of life is what he finds most rewarding, and he hopes Vision 2020 will provide some hope and unity amid the chaos and darkness that pervades the daily news cycle.

“I’m not asking anyone to come to my denomination. I just want to share this message of hope,” Runcorn says. “We may be different denominations but we all stand for the same thing.”

Vision 2020 is free to everyone and will be streamed online Sept. 20 at 5 p.m.

Falls Baptist Church at 6070 South 15th East in Idaho Falls is also hosting a watch party. Members of the community are invited to gather outside the church at 3 p.m. for food and conversation prior to the event.

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