Support the Café

Search our Site

Does ‘Cinema Sunday’ count as church?

Does ‘Cinema Sunday’ count as church?

Dan Webster recently visited a Baltimore move theater that fosters a kind of fellowship through its “Cinema Sundays,” at which people gather on Sunday morning to watch a movie and then discuss its ethical and spiritual implications. He writes:

I saw community gather around bagels and coffee, a gospel story, and what some church people call a “dialogue sermon.”

As a church person, I am grateful to see so many people seeking food for body, mind and spirit. Maybe secular society is being influenced by church more than anyone is willing to admit.

One church friend who saw my Facebook check-in at the Charles Theater said she once called it, “church at St. Charles Cathedral.” That may be more than a clever observation. If people are finding inspiration, fellowship and nourishment in places like Cinema Sunday why would they want to put up with politics at a church community to get the same thing?

When I told the leadership of one congregation who, like many, is seeing declining Sunday participation, one person thought they should try their own version of Cinema Sunday.

Read his full post here. What do you think? Can churches make use of a similar model?


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bill Ghrist

Well, it doesn’t seem quite Church to me, but maybe sufficient Inspiration, Fellowship, and Nourishment will eventually lead some folks to recognize a need for a more explicit relationship with God. And anyway, wasn’t it Jesus who said that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath?

Marshall Scott

Well, Gregory, that depends on what we mean by “worship.” And, as you suggest, it depends an awful lot on the intent of the people gathered. There have been recent stories of “Sunday Assemblies” (such as at These folks do indeed gather for inspiration, fellowship, and nourishment, and they would be appalled at the thought that it might also be worship.

Gregory Orloff

Inspiration – check.

Fellowship – check.

Nourishment – check.

But what about worship? Or does the church no longer engage in worshipping God anymore?

While it’s good that people are getting “inspiration, fellowship and nourishment” (on their own terms, it seems), there doesn’t seem to be much focus on God and relating to him in this particular equation. It seems to be more about “me” and “meeting my needs.”

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café