Sunday, June 15, 2014

Charlotte St. Peter’s Episcopal Church series will focus on reconciliation

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church will show a series of documentaries this summer to spark conversations about reconciliation.

The movies focus on different aspects of family, whether it’s how babies are raised around the world or how discrimination can affect relationships. The idea is that as people learn more about others, they are more likely to peacefully coexist.

“The concept of reconciliation is rooted in our baptismal covenant,” said the Rev. Ollie Rencher, senior pastor of St. Peter’s. “We all agree to respect the dignity of every human being.”

• The first documentary in the series, “Babies,” will be shown at 4 p.m. June 15 in the church’s parish hall. The film, produced by Alain Chabat, follows babies from Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and the U.S. from birth until they take their first steps.

• On July 13, the church will show “As We Forgive,” which documents two Rwandan women after the 1994 genocide that killed one in eight Rwandans.

After the genocide, the Rwandan government was overwhelmed with legal cases and released more than 50,000 people back into the communities where they had tried to kill others.

“As We Forgive” focuses on two women who encounter men who murdered the women’s families and raises questions of whether survivors can forgive the killers and whether the church, which failed to provide moral leadership, could be part of the forgiveness process.

• “A Class Divided,” which will be shown Aug. 10, examines an experiment conducted by Jane Elliot, a teacher in a small all-white town in Iowa, in 1968. Elliott divided her class into groups based on eye color and gave them a lesson in discrimination.

The film shows the story of that lesson and how it affected the children for decades.

Each film will be followed by a question-and-answer session, Rencher said.

The series is part of St. Peter’s new vision, adopted in 2013, and includes a commitment to engaging the community. The church recently hosted a community concert series, a community Ash Wednesday event and other movie showings.

The church looked at reconciliation in fall 2013 when it showed “Traces of the Trade,” a documentary about the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history.

More than 200 people watched the film, and two members of the family depicted in the documentary attended to answer questions afterward and talk about reconciling with that part of American history.

“Our commitment is to be more intentional about community engagement,” Rencher said. “Reconciliation is at the heart of how the world, and especially the city, can bridge gaps and deepen the sense of community.

“This series falls very much in line with what we’re hoping to do.”

All three movie showings are free and open to the public. All movies start at 4 p.m. in the parish hall at St. Peter’s, 115 West 7th at North Tryon Street.

For more information, visit
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at

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