Let the Church Say Amen (2004)
In this documentary director David Peterson takes us to World Mission for Christ International, a tiny black Pentecostal storefront church a few blocks from the nation's capitol. I think I counted four pews in the sanctuary. But the thirty or so parishioners have followed the advice of a sign on the wall: "keep the fire burning." They take up offerings for each other to fix a car, and pass out free food and clothing to the neighborhood. The film follows the stories of three people in particular. Darlene is a single mother raising eight kids and studying at night to become a nursing assistant. David works in the church's homeless shelter and wants to buy a house. Ceodtis, "Big C," is a street singer who wants to cut his first gospel CD with his ten-year old son, and who wants to find out who murdered his son. You'll have to watch the film to learn their fates. The dignity, resilience and joy of these urban saints reminded me of Hebrews 11:38, "people of whom the world is not worthy." Director Peterson never prompts his subjects, and there is no narrative voice over; he simply lets these people tell their own stories in their own words. It is a story worth seeing.