Local nonprofit Wonderfully Made is celebrating Pride this month with the release of its documentary “A Call to Love.” The new work features a collection of stories from nine locals – including members of the LGBTQ+ community and several allies – mothers of children who have come out, a nondenominational pastor and a clinical psychologist.
Free screenings of “A Call to Love” will be online through Eventbrite every weekend in June. For more information, visit eventbrite.com and search “A Call to Love.”
When Jennifer Burrows co-founded Wonderfully Made in 2019, she did so with the intention of helping to create a dialogue, especially within local religious communities, surrounding the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and the ways they are treated because of their identities.
Burrows had originally planned to bring a series of speakers and other advocates to the area beginning in October 2019, but once COVID-19 health guidelines were put into place last year, Burrows and other organizers were forced to find a new approach.
Burrows first reached out to filmmaker and journalist Nichole Mischke to help in the production of several shorter-length videos, each focused on individual stories. But eventually the team decided a full-length documentary with multiple sources would prove more effective.
“It’s scary to tell your story,” Burrows said, explaining how grateful she was to the participants for sharing their experiences.
“Every story builds on the next … and every one carries a level of nuance that maybe you had never thought of … just because of what that particular person went through.”
In addition to several members of the LGBTQ+ community, the documentary features pastor Russ Davis of the nondenominational New Community church, who preaches an inclusive position, and clinical psychologist Dr. Shawn Horn, who speaks about the mental health impact of religious trauma and rejection.
“As someone who grew up Christian myself, this has always been a huge pain point for me,” Mischke said, explaining what she sees as a great deal of hypocrisy in the more conservative areas of her community with respect to acceptance and what it means to be a Christian.
Mischke said she and the other filmmakers have been deliberate in their attempts “to rise above” the anger and pain that can come from both sides of the issue.
“We’re in such a divisive time. Everyone’s picking sides … whether it’s politics or race or religion,” she said. “No one is stopping to listen to stories of actual people. They’re just trying to argue over who’s right or who’s wrong.
“If we would just stop the arguing and sit down and ask, ‘What’s your story?’ ‘Why do we think the way we do?’ ‘What’s been your experience?’ we might understand it’s very possible that every human on the planet has had a different lived experience.”
To that end, Mischke made a point of focusing the documentary on personal stories from individuals in the community without descending into debate.
“We knew that to get … a listening ear, this needed to be nothing but a message of love and acceptance and a message of understanding, because it’s not an easy thing for someone who has been brought up in a certain structure of beliefs – the idea that you do not have to choose between loving your child and God.”
For more information, visit wonderfullymadenw.com.
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