Our Lady’s Film Evenings
Everyone, regardless of belief is invited to our film evenings. Admission is free and there is always a joyful, lively, and inclusive atmosphere!
They started in 2011 as an initiative of St John Fisher Church’s long established Our Lady’s and Padre Pio’s Prayer Group. Today, the film evenings are better described as Our Lady’s Film Evening at St John Fisher Church Bexley as they have developed beyond a parish apostolate.
Each year we aim to have a balanced programme of movies and documentaries. We started this year with a film on Mother Teresa of Calcutta and have a programme planned that films on Fátima, St Thomas More, Pope Pius XII and Abraham.
Apart from August, we have one film evening per month, usually on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, for license reasons, we cannot promote the actual film titles outside of St John Fisher Church (including billboard, websites etc). Consequently, they are advertised with generic titles. Whenever possible subtitles are employed for the hard of hearing.
We occasionally host special supplementary events such as showing the “Catholicism” series by Bishop Robert Barron, and on the Camino de Compostela (the well-known pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain). We also occasionally have a charity stall raising money for severely disadvantaged children in the Ukraine by selling cakes, jams, and quality handmade goods. Each evening is promoted by e-mail (contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be included), parish newsletter entries, word of mouth, and posters.
We are delighted with the large range of attendees (Catholics, non-Catholic Christians, priests, nuns, and at times Jews and even Muslims), some who routinely travel considerable distance for the evenings. We have even had one visitor from Australia and another from Crewe! Many now travel collectively by bus or by car (the hall has a free car park), and more than a few find that they reconnect with old friends after years of separation. Some attendees even have their evening meal during the showing on their way home from work. We want to ensure everyone knows that they are most welcome!
The number of people attending varies on the film itself, prevailing weather conditions, and time of the year. A typical attendance is approximately 50, but we have had almost twice that number on one occasion!
Our aim is to provide:
- wholesome and top quality spiritual entertainment and education
- inspirational examples of a variety of heroic role models (saints)
- a joyful social evening providing opportunities for building community and for networking, especially between local churches
Our long-term hope has been to occasionally host dinner evenings where attendees can get to know each other better and to discuss previous films at length. We welcome anyone willing to take on this initiative.
Admission to the evenings is free, but donations are gratefully received for charity. To date we have raised more than £2,800 which has been allocated as follows:
- £950 activities for seriously deprived children in Ukraine (AIC)
- £900 children’s orphanage in Goa
- £400 Third World Deanery Project (see following slide)
- £200 refugees in Syria and Iraq
- £200 to Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)
- £100 St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP)
- £50 Saturday Friends work with the homeless
Each evening has a common structure of: welcome and introduction; a scrolling educational presentation on the theme of the film; and an interval for socialising, during which tea and coffee are served and the bar is reopened. In parallel there is a free books stall (book donations on religious themes always welcome!). At Christmas we have a special celebration with mince pies and mulled wine!
The support team for the film evenings is growing and now involves people across the diocese in various duties, not least those spontaneously helping out in the kitchen during the interval and those integrating newcomers. Nonetheless, we currently need a deputy with basic computer skills who could help with setting up on a very occasional basis. The principal contact is Tim Bowman who can be contacted via the Parish Office by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone 01322-524813.
Our next film evening will be on Wed 15th Nov 2017 when we will show movies on: St John of the Cross, Spanish mystic, reformer of the Carmelites and Doctor of the Church; and St John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, and renowned for his priestly and pastoral work.
The films will be shown in St John Fisher Bexley Church Hall, admission is free, light refreshments will be served, bar open, charity stall, and all are welcome. Arrivals from 7 pm for 7:30 pm start.