By Crystal Garcia
Tribune-Star, Clinton

CLINTON, Ind. - Two Clinton churches are breaking down denominational walls with a common denominator - youth.

On Friday nights from 6 to 10 p.m., kids can go to a large metal barn next to the First United Methodist Church in Clinton to skateboard, scooter and ride their bikes on a half-pipe, a quarter-pipe and various fun boxes and ramps.

This outreach began when Glenn Parrish and his wife began talking to the children and teens they saw out late at night.

Parrish said they were trying to find out what their interests were and what they'd like to see in Clinton. Most importantly, he said they wanted to know what the youth were doing out so late.

"They just didn't have anywhere to go," Parrish said.

Thus, Christian Street Invasion, or SCI Clinton, was formed. Parrish and his wife belong to a Pentecostal congregation, New Life Family Foursquare Gospel Church.

A common thing he and his wife heard the kids want was a skate park, so he had a half-pipe built and put in this driveway for them to ride on instead of damaging private property around town with their bikes, boards and scooters.

Between 15 to 20 children regularly showed up at the Parrishes, but when First United Methodist Church got involved things really started to take off for this special ministry to kids.

With a large, empty barn next to the church, the Parrishes approached First UMC's officials to ask if they could put the half-pipe in the barn to get the children out of the elements.

That was three months ago. Since then there has been an average of 95 kids utilizing the facility, Parrish said, with a high of 127 kids one time.

By joining together, Parrish said the two churches are "breaking down denominational walls."

CSI Clinton even has its own MySpace page, although Parrish said he won't add the kids as "friends" until he's checked their pages and made sure there's nothing offensive on them.

Adults supervise inside and outside of the facility. Theresa Rennick, First UMC lay leader , said more volunteers are needed to supervise.

Rennick said the church wants to add heating and air conditioning and expand the facility so it can be used for other community events such as basketball, meetings and wedding receptions.

"It's not about anything but to glorify God," said Parrish.

This story is abridged from a longer story published in the Jan. 12, 2008, issue of the Tribune-Star of Terre Haute, Ind. Used by permission. Tribune-Star © 2008.