You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Let the Church Say Amen

"I'd rather have Jesus than silver and gold," goes a lyric from one of the spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.'s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for "Let the Church Say Amen," David Petersen's modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those who seek only God's glory as their reward. Populated by characters whose commitment to humanity supersedes religious affiliation, docu should receive a warm reception from festival auds and from television viewers when it airs later this year on PBS' "Independent Lens" series.

Cast:
With: Pastor Bobby Perkins, Dr. JoAnn Perkins, Brother Ceodtis Fulmore, David Surles, Darlene Duncan.

“I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” goes a lyric from one of the rousing spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.’s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for “Let the Church Say Amen,” David Petersen’s modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those who seek only God’s glory as their reward. Populated by memorable characters whose commitment to humanity supersedes religious affiliation, docu should receive a warm reception from festival auds and from television viewers when it airs later this year on PBS’ “Independent Lens” series.

Located in the shadow of the White House, the World Missions Church seems held together by faith like the lives of some of its parishioners. A true storefront operation, the building is a makeshift assemblage of pews with stained upholstery, unadorned light bulbs and carpet held together by electrical tape. But when Pastor Bobby Perkins steps to the pulpit, his fiery orations are so impassioned that all other considerations fall by the wayside.

Perkins is a reformed drug addict who credits the church, originally formed by his sister JoAnn, with his salvation. Now, he has become an important leader in the community, using his own self-empowerment to reach out to others in need. As “Let the Church Say Amen” unfolds — spending a year in the company of its subjects — it catches viewers up in the elation of once-broken lives repaired and of people driven by an irrepressible desire to do good.

In addition to the Perkinses, pic follows David Surles, a homeless jack-of-all-trades who first came to the church to repair a plumbing leak and never left; Darlene Duncan, a nursing student and mother of eight who makes no distinction between her real family and her church family; and Ceodtis “Brother C” Fulmore, whose dream of spreading the faith through gospel music was only strengthened by the tragic death of his eldest son. Long before pic’s end, Peterson has made viewers care deeply about these people, and he does it without ever once asking the viewers for pity.

Let the Church Say Amen

Production: An Independent Television Service presentation. Produced by David Petersen, Mridu Chandra. Executive producer, Henry Louis Gates Jr. Directed, edited by David Petersen.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Brett Wiley. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (American Spectrum), Jan. 19, 2004. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Pastor Bobby Perkins, Dr. JoAnn Perkins, Brother Ceodtis Fulmore, David Surles, Darlene Duncan.

More Film

  • James Franco Issa Rae Kuamil Nanjiani

    Inaugural Indiewire Honors to Celebrate James Franco, Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani and More

    “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” goes a lyric from one of the rousing spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.’s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for “Let the Church Say Amen,” David Petersen’s modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those […]

  • Uber Sexual Harassment

    Uber Sexual Harassment Movie in the Works With Susan Fowler

    “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” goes a lyric from one of the rousing spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.’s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for “Let the Church Say Amen,” David Petersen’s modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Thor: Ragnarok' Creates Thunderous Buzz on Social Media Ahead of Debut

    “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” goes a lyric from one of the rousing spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.’s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for “Let the Church Say Amen,” David Petersen’s modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those […]

  • Sad daughter of unemployed Tennessee coal

    Harvey Weinstein Is a Monster of Hollywood's Own Making. What Are We Going to Do About It?

    “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” goes a lyric from one of the rousing spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.’s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for “Let the Church Say Amen,” David Petersen’s modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those […]

  • Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges to Star

    Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges to Star in Drama 'Ben Is Back'

    “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” goes a lyric from one of the rousing spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.’s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for “Let the Church Say Amen,” David Petersen’s modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those […]

  • Daniel Day Lewis The Phantom Thread

    Watch the Stunning Trailer for Daniel Day-Lewis' Final Film, 'Phantom Thread'

    “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” goes a lyric from one of the rousing spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.’s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for “Let the Church Say Amen,” David Petersen’s modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those […]

  • Judith Light

    Judith Light, Roberta Colindrez to Star in Drama 'Ms. White Light' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold,” goes a lyric from one of the rousing spirituals sung by members of Washington, D.C.’s World Missions for Christ Church. It could also serve as an alternate title for “Let the Church Say Amen,” David Petersen’s modest but affecting portrait of grassroots community activism undertaken by those […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content