Utah's famous 'Footloose' church in need of repairs

While the American Fork Presbyterian Church’s spirit is as strong as ever, the 140-year old building needs some work. / Ginna Roe, KUTV

(KUTV) — A piece of Utah’s cinema history is in need of repair.

American Fork Presbyterian Church is known for its role in the 80s hit "Footloose." In 1984, Hollywood stars like Kevin Bacon and John Lithgow rolled into little American Fork to film most of the movie’s church scenes.

Members of the congregation say they remember it like it was yesterday.

“Oh, it was fun!” Barbara Hymes said. She’s been a member of the church for nearly 40 years and jumped at the chance to play an extra in the chorus of the movie.

“I would have paid to be in it, but they paid me,” Hymes said.

“It was such an exciting time for our church. At least a fourth of the people who came to this church were extras in the movie and we had never been an extra in anything,” Jenny Valentini, a former member of the church, said.

Fast forward three decades and the church is still going strong.

“It’s fun every time I watch the movie and see some of the little old ladies that still come here,” Michael Heil, the pastor of American Fork Presbyterian, said.

While the church’s spirit is as strong as ever, the-140-year old building needs some work

“We make repairs as they come, but a building this old does have leaks and it does have problems,” Heil said.

The sanctuary and community center are both in need of new roofs. Years of patching is no longer holding up. But right now, the church can't afford it.

“It’s a small congregation that doesn’t have a lot of money but there have been many people coming here that love this building," Valentini said.

A building with a star-studded history wants to preserve its future for the people that love it most.

“The movie isn’t the core of who we are. It’s a part of our history, but it’s not who we are. Jesus is the core of who we are,” Heil said.

The church has started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a new roof. They will also be holding a 140th Anniversary celebration to help fund-raise on July 21 at the church.

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