"The church is called on to promote justice in the world in a peaceful way," said Lori Robinson, associate for Family Ministry at St. Timothy's and a member of the Peace and Justice committee that planned the series.
The committee in the past has had speakers on issues such as domestic violence and addiction, but this summer is trying a new approach to reach a broader community. It will show three movies, one per month, followed by a respectful discussion.
The first movie, "For the Bible Tells Me So," deals with how people of the Christian faith may struggle with the idea of homosexuals in the church. In the film, an Episcopal bishop, Gene Robinson, shares his experience of being gay and being part of a belief. Also former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt discusses how having a homosexual child fits in with his faith.
"Life in Occupied Palestine" highlights Anna Balzar's human rights work as she spent years in Palestine and supported a nonviolent movement against the occupation of Israelis.
The final Sunday feature, "Amazing Grace," shows the difference made by one individual, William Wilberforce, as he led the fight 200 years ago to end slave trading; as a result, in 1807 the first anti-slave trade bill was passed by England's Parliament. Robinson believes "Amazing Grace" shows "how one person can make a difference on something as important as slave trading."
The core of the Peace and Justice committee is based on the baptismal covenant, Robinson said.
"'Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of all human beings?' This is a question asked when a person is baptized under the Episcopal Church," she explained. "The person responds, 'I will with God's help.' This is at the heart of the committee."
She wants people to understand that the church is not trying to extend any particular viewpoint when wrestling with these difficult issues.
"Hopefully something in these movies will spark someone to do something else, to make them think 'What can I do?'" she said.
This year committee members chose movies for their message because they feel movies are a good way to get perspective on the issues.
Movies and discussion
What: Peace and Justice Summer Series
Who: St. Timothy's Episcopal Church
When: 1 p.m., Sundays, June 22, July 13, Aug. 17; come at 12:30 p.m. for refreshments before the movie
Where: St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Grace House Conference Room, 1550 Diablo Road