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Church hosts gala premiere for The Fault is in Our Stars

Church hosts gala premiere for The Fault is in Our Stars

St Paul’s Episcopal Church held a screening party for the release of the film, “The Fault Is In Our Stars,” partially filmed at the church. It was more than your ordinary trip to the movies,Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:

It was like Oscar night and prom rolled into one.

Fault_in_our_stars.jpgThursday night, men and women of all ages gathered at the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon in anticipation of the night’s main event: a screening of the film “The Fault in Our Stars,” adapted from John Green’s best-selling teen novel. Wearing dresses and suits — or, for a fancy few, gowns and tuxedos — most of the filmgoers, more than 300, chose to go Hollywood.

But for many of these attendees, the film had added significance in their community. The evening, which began with a gala-style red carpet event before the screening, was organized and planned by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon — which was used as one of the film’s set locations. In the movie, main characters Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort), two teens who meet during a cancer support group that is held within the walls of a church.

Read more: here.

From CBS:

See trailer below:


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Michelle Boomgaard

After our gala event, I chatted with a retired clergy person who had served at St. Paul’s (where the movie was filmed). He was musing, “I don’t know whether this was a religious movie, or a Hollywood movie.” I think some of the comments above may also reflect this quandary.

Full disclosure – I am currently the associate rector at St. Paul’s. And I find that this movie sits in between those two categories. It is not a deliberately “religious movie,” in the sense of “Noah” or “Heaven is for Real.” But I don’t think it was a “Hollywood” movie, either, in the sense of “everything will turn out happily ever after,” or, “this is a church, which is basically a stage where we have weddings.”

Because it is in between, it is a great opportunity for evangelism. There are people who will see this movie who would never go to see a “religious movie.” There are people who will see this movie who have never been inside a church, and have no idea why anyone would do so. And, I dare say, the teenaged characters in this film probably fit this category – you don’t have any sense that any of them have grown up in a church. In this way, they represent a lot of society today.

Having gone to see this movie, people will see that churches have relevance for people. That people gather here when they are hurting or pondering deep questions – even if there are no easy answers. That the Church is not going to judge you or ignore you when you have difficulty in life. Where else – in the movie or in society – do people get that message?

Lisa Brown

I have read criticism that the church doesn’t come off well – the support group leader is buffoonish, the minister ineffectual. I think, in a some ways, those portrayals are an incomplete form of honesty. There is nothing to say that the kids who meet in the support group are members of a faith community and have strong personal connections to a faith community. Even if they are, I would say that there *are* aspects of the church that teens may find irrelevant; there are people and practices that may strike kids, at best, as ineffectual and, at worst, hypocritical. Maybe we as adults in the church don’t like seeing our institution through their eyes. But when push comes to shove, when it’s time for Hazel to eulogize Gus, they seek out a sacred space. They so desire to be in the presence of the Holy and infinite that they break into a church. They crave that sacred, eternal space for that which is most profound in their lives – their relationship to one another. And that’s what I see in real life teens. There are aspects of church that they push back against. They may ridicule some of the “church people” (and don’t we all?). But DESPITE that, they have faith. Deep faith. And when they seek it and connect to it – they are able to look past that which they ridicule and find what they need. And I would still contend this book and movie are a great jump off point to have conversations about how the church is a community of imperfect people who sometimes fail one another; but that there is a truth that is bigger than all of us and our failings.

Charlotte Greeson

Kit, you are right. There is little of church-faith in the book or movie. But the story is very real to and wildly popular with teenagers.

That’s why it is so important to talk to our teens using the book and/or movie as the bridge.

If we continue to ignore popular culture because it isn’t Church, we won’t have any impact at all.

Kit Carlson

I was so disappointed. I read the book a few days ago after reading about the Episcopal connection here on ECafe. But although they meet in a church and the group leader says “Jesus-y” things, there is no sense that any of these people have any sense of faith, the presence of God, or the hope of the resurrection. The best thing the Episcopal Church could have offered this scenario was our Burial liturgy, and the funeral in the book is held in a side room of the church, doesn’t mention God and is no different from what you might get at the local funeral home. There was nothing Episcopal in this book, and nothing even particularly Christian.


I think the only real danger, Andrew, is if your gf gets from the movie “If I come to an Episcopal church, I might meet someone even cuter than Andrew!” ;-p~~~

Best of luck, bro.

JC Fisher

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