African American News and Genealogy

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Films help church stir education discussions

By LESSIE SCURRYFor the Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 09/08/05 A church rich in history is using modern film to solve an old problem. Friendship Baptist Church, at 437 Mitchell St., is sponsoring free film forums to creatively open discussion among students, parents and teachers about the problems with education.The church's Film Forum Ministry is using films such as "Lean on Me," "Antwone Fisher," "The Life of Ozell Sutton: An Eyewitness to History" and "John Q" to start discussions that may boost the educational process. "We show pieces of the films, and the panelists respond to what they've seen or have comments or questions about," said forum member Ernestine Glass. "Then we open it up to the public to respond. We chose these films because they contained topics that would interest the community and that needed to be addressed." Glass said the films' themes of education and leadership, self-discovery and success, cultural history and civic responsibility, and family and health crises all affect the educational process in some way. "They're all connected," she said. "They all influence the level of education a child receives." The forum series is sponsored by the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment of the Humanities. "We wanted to do something different to get a target audience of teachers, administrators, parents and students who have an interest in education and an involvement in education," Glass said. "The idea is, 'What can we do to make the learning environment a place where learning can take place effectively?' " Film Forum Chairman Willie Allen said the gatherings are a way to bring the diverse community together. In addition, "I hope to awaken the whole community to the necessity of young black men and women getting serious about their lives and education," Allen said. Glass, a former literature teacher, said film can be an effective tool in a high-tech world. "We're dealing with students who are visual, impressed with visual things because of technology and computers," she said. "Film is more impressive to them." The Saturday morning forums for 2005-2006 begin at 10 a.m. Sept. 17 in the Pastor's Auditorium on the second floor of the church. Another forum is scheduled Nov. 19. The 126-year-old church has been at the forefront of education for more than a century, having educated newly freed slaves almost immediately and housing several schools, including Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta) and Morehouse and Spelman colleges. "This Film Forum is a continuation of efforts to look particularly into the challenges in education for black youth," said the Rev. William Guy. "This is very important for our community, for the total community. We're looking forward to an enjoyable and enlightening time." For information, call 404-688-0206.


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