The sun was setting on Rehoboth Beach when I drove up for my final night of the On Screen/In Person tour.
The spire of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church threw a long shadow over the many graves nestled on the small well-kept grounds.
Perhaps growing up in a small town made me nostalgic, but the village of Loews emitted a sense of place that reminded me of simpler days. The fact that we were showing the film in a church that has served the community since 1681 certainly added to the mood.
An Episcopal preacher, Phillip Brooks, visited Bethlehem in 1835 and wrote the hymn “O’ Little Town of Bethlehem”. A sense of the peace embodied in the song rested on me as I sat in the quiet courtyard outside the parish hall. People walking their dogs strode past the old brick walls. A small fountain amidst the ancient headstones gave a pleasant sound, and the inviting aroma of a wood fireplace promised warm against the growing night.
The audience was much larger than expected and we kept adding chairs in the back until there were no more. Representatives from many faiths had come as well as many people active in various peace movements.
It reminded me of another evening in the Church of the Nativity while we were making the film. The setting was different but the hope and longing of the people was the same. Peace is illusive, but not so far away as we think. For in Bethlehem, where it is said that God became man, I saw Israelis and Palestinians regarding each other as human. And in Rehoboth Beach, at the last night of the On Screen/In Person Tour, I saw a diverse community share their experience.
Post by Jim Hanon, OSIP Touring Filmmaker. Thanks for sharing all of your tour experiences, Jim!
Photo from http://stpeters.episcopaldelaware.org/