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St. Luke Movie Club Report Annual Meeting January 2004

By Ken Stevens

In 2003, the St. Luke Movie club, part of the Education Ministry, continued it’s discussion primarily around "secular" movies that provided a forum for inspirational and thought-provoking discussion focused around Christian morals and values. At monthly gatherings of interested St. Luke parishioners (with the exception of summer months), the group discussed contemporary movies in the context of Orthodox Christian meaning and values. The discussions are always led by Fr. Andrew Harrison, pastor of St. Luke, and a self-avowed movie enthusiast. Throughout the year, we held most movie club meetings in private homes, with an average attendance of 6-8 persons/session. The selections in 2003 included:

  • February 16 - "Traffic"
  • March 28 - "The Mission" immediately after Akathist in the Fellowship Hall. This lends itself ideally to Lenten thought.
  • March 30 - "A Beautiful Mind"
  • May 4 - "Resurrection " held in the church building.
  • May 25 - "Man Without a Face."
  • June 28 - "Lion King" Kid's Day held in the church. Only 4 children and 6 adults attended - very disappointing.
  • October 26 - "Lord of the Rings" Part 1 - about 10 movie-goers attended - a respectable turnout at the Stevens’ home.
  • November 30 - "Lord of the Rings" Part 2.
  • December 22 - "Lord of the Rings" Part 3 seen at the theatre.

    We introduced a few modifications to the viewing ground rules in 2003. Generally, members independently rent and view pre-designated videos prior to each meeting, and then meet together socially to discuss the significance and relative merits of each film on an informal basis. Father Andrew moderates each session, playing selected video clips and raising provocative questions to spark discussion and debate. This year, in order to add a touch of diversity, we collectively watched several of the selections, such as "Lord of the Rings" all together in their entirety, followed by a brief discussion of themes, pros/cons, etc. We will continue to "mix it up" in 2004, based on individual selections. We will also take off-site trips for new releases, such as those noted below on the 2004 Movie Schedule.

    In selecting movies for review this year, we wanted to focus exclusively on films that were edifying in content and message. Just as edifice means "building", edifying means "building up." These movies aim to strengthen us as human beings made in the image and likeness of God. Movies we selected should answer the litmus test question -- "When I hit that VCR or DVD eject button, am I a better person for having seen this movie?"

    The films selected are not necessarily pious or dripping with moral earnestness. But these movies revolve around God and justice, freedom and resistance to tyranny, love and family, heroism and the struggle for personal virtue. Movies enter our hearts and can be either wise or foolish companions. Accordingly, movies such as these can inspire and inform, educate and enlighten, evangelize and entertain. The Movie Club is by no means exclusive. Anyone in the parish as well as friends can participate. Moreover, it is a good opportunity to get to know each other better, while examining contemporary issues - often gray -- in the light of Orthodox Christianity.

    For Year 2004, our 3rd Movie Club year, an equally noteworthy and stimulating list of movies have been chosen for preview and discussion. That *list will include:

  • February 8: AWAKENINGS
  • February 29: THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST New release, off-site Movie
  • March 28: THE ELEPHANT MAN
  • April 25: MY LEFT FOOT
  • May 30: SHINE
  • June 27: SOPHIE’S CHOICE
  • July and August - Summer Break - No Movie Club
  • September 26: THE EXORCIST
  • October 31: ORDINARY PEOPLE
  • November 21 (Family Day): OCTOBER SKY
  • December 19: PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

    We look forward to continuing the St. Luke Movie Club tradition of promoting open dialogue around Christian values, and bolstering our membership along the way.

    *A listing with brief descriptions of each film was distributed in early January