JEFFERSON CITY - State lawmakers didn't have to wait until Wednesday for the premiere of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." Over 100 members of the legislature saw an advance screening of the film Monday night at Jefferson City's Capital 8 Theatre.
The sneak preview was presented free of charge to legislators by members of Concord Baptist Church of Jefferson City.
"This was a jesture on our part to show that we appreciate them," Rev. Monte Shinkle said.
Shinkle is the pastor of Concord Baptist Church.
Concord Baptist is one of many churches around the country that has reserved theaters for advance screenings of the film. The church bought out a total of four screens with another church from Jefferson County for the Monday showing. Three were reserved for members of the congregation.
Kerry Messer, president of Missouri Family Network, said inviting the lawmakers presented a unique opportunity to give the film exposure.
"There's no other group that meets in a central location and represents such a wide area of the state," Messer said. "Our hope is that they will be touched by the film and then in turn go and tell people in their area and congregations about it."
Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, said he looked forward to seeing the film early.
"I'm very curious," Engler said. "I've been following it in the media and I hear it's very moving."
Engler said he plans on taking his family to see the film after its official release.