25 August 2004

Conference looks at using films for Christian outreach

The 2004 Faith and Film conference will look at how churches can use modern movies to create opportunities for outreach. The event is aimed at church leaders, preachers, youth workers and others interested in the interaction between films and Christian faith. The three-day program brings together movie professionals, academics and theologians to provide a great opportunity to learn about movie culture and how to use it to spread the Christian faith.

The conference will discuss recent and upcoming movies, including, The Passion of the Christ, The Village and The Matrix. Andrew Wood, convenor of the Methodist Interface group, which is co-sponsoring the event, says "we are going to be discussing the impact of films on popular culture and how to use movies in the local church. We'll be looking at movies such as The Lord of the Rings, The Shawshank Redemption, Harry Potter, and Big Fish, but also upcoming titles such as Super Size Me! If you're at all interested in using films as a way of talking about faith with those inside and outside the church, this conference could be just what you need"

The event runs from 17-19 September at Collingwood College at the University of Durham, and day tickets are available. Andrew Wood says: "The Saturday program provides a fascinating overview of this whole area. For those who want a deeper look at the crossover between movies and Christianity, there are still some places for the whole weekend."

Anthea Cox, Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, says "The Faith and Film conference is an exciting opportunity to explore the dialogue there can be between film and religious experience. The conference will look not only at films that have a faith foundation but will also examine the relationship between mainstream film, contemporary society and church."

The speakers at the conference include David Wilkinson from the University of Durham (author of The Power of the Force: The Spirituality of the "Star Wars" Films), filmmaker Murray Watts (The Miracle Maker) and actress Cathy Sara (Topsy Turvy). The ecumenical event is aimed at all church workers or volunteers interested in using popular culture as part of their outreach activities. The conference program includes a range of lectures, seminars and discussions.

The 2004 Film and Faith conference runs from 17-19 September. Full board and attendance packages start from £155, while tickets for attending one day range from £7 to £20. For more information call 0191 374 4405 or email filmfaith@xiancomm.org.uk


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