BALTIMORE — When Eric Lorick bought an old apple-green Plymouth in 1973, he couldn’t wait to take his high school sweetheart, Andrea, to the Carlin Drive-In in northwest Baltimore.
“I remember that box for the sound and how we had to roll down the window in the winter, and the car would be cold,” said Andrea Lorick, whose husband, Eric, now serves as minister for the Inner City Church of Christ in Baltimore. The couple laughed as they reflected on watching movies from their car.
Flash forward 47 years, and a second-generation Lorick also loves drive-in movies, so much that he created his own outdoor movie business. Joseph Lorick, Eric and Andrea’s son, owns Backyard Movie Theater LLC, a home entertainment company. According to his website, the younger Lorick first dreamed of owning an outdoor movie business when he was managing a Lowe’s Cineplex more than 20 years ago. In the age of COVID-19, his business has also become a way to serve and evangelize in his Baltimore community.
“Because of the coronavirus, this is a way that we can bring something to the community and spread the word of God,” Joseph Lorick said.
PAYING TRIBUTE TO A SUPERHERO
On a recent Sunday night, Joseph’s parents were among the moviegoers parked on a grassy lot of the Inner City congregation. Instead of those old rusty boxes, the audio for “Black Panther,” played on the FM car radio.
Backyard Movie Theatre provides the screen, projector, portable lounge chairs and popcorn machines in addition to obtaining rights to show a film.
Joseph said the drive-in event “was definitely for outreach and to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood,” adding that about 125 people watched the award-winning Marvel superhero flick on an inflatable 33-foot screen.
The congregation had planned to show a Disney film but shifted to ”Black Panther” in recognition of actor Chadwick Boseman, who died Aug. 28 of colon cancer at the age of 43.
“We needed to do something to let the community know who we are,” Eric Lorick said.
The Loricks and the 60 members of the Baltimore congregation have used Community Days and Movie Night to spread the word of God in a community that struggles to win a battle over crime and vice.
Inner City began in January 2014 with about a dozen members as an outgrowth of the East Baltimore Church of Christ. Before coming to Inner City, Eric Lorick served as a deacon, elder and Christian life minister at East Baltimore for 18 years.
Inner City first met in a storefront above a liquor store.
“God has blessed us,” Eric Lorick said. “Two years ago, we were able to purchase a sanctuary and a church house on 1.3 acres of land in the middle of the neighborhood.”
From that square, red brick building, the small church has launched ministries that include a Sister 2 Sister program for women, a young adult network and a Bible education ministry to train future church leaders.
It sponsors community events ranging from symposiums to back-to-school parties and a masks-required Trunk or Treat.
MOVIES AND THE GOSPEL
Joseph Lorick coordinated another recent Movie Night at the Edgewater Church of Christ in Harford County, Md.
Although he had planned to pack up his blow-up screen for the winter, he recently found an indoor location.
“My son has found a room, normally used for painting cars, to show movies,” the elder Lorick said. “Now he can show movies and spread the Gospel day or night.”