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Sunday Reflections: When Hollywood comes to town

During our years in Selma, Ala., two movie production crews came to the city.

The first was the crew of “Blue Sky,” who filmed at the former Craig Air Force Base. Powers Boothe, Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange were in town for several months. I called the film company asking how I could contact the celebrities, and sent each a letter of welcome and invitation to worship with us on Sundays.

I didn’t see Booth or Jones, but I did see Ms. Lange who rented a home in the Old Town section across the street from our church. I could look out a window in the pastor’s office and see the house, and I did see her once taking a stroll with her dog and bodyguard.

On that occasion I also saw a friend stopping to chat with her. He just “happened” to be jogging downtown when she came out for her stroll! He told me she was very nice, and they had a pleasant conversation. I suppose I could’ve likewise instigated a pastoral visit on the sidewalk, but I chose not to disturb her.

We need to be respectful around celebrities since everyone wants to get close to them.

We had a church member who was an officer in a classic car club, and he landed the job of supplying automobiles for filming in the streets of Selma — I think it was a 1960s setting. He told me the crew had a portable air conditioning unit and filled her car with cold air before Ms. Lange entered so her hair wouldn’t wilt in the Alabama summer heat and humidity.

The other film was called “Body Snatchers,” starring Gabrielle Anwar. On this occasion the production company asked if they could bring the actors and crew into our fellowship hall for one of their noon meals. Of course we agreed.

Ms. Anwar was very nice. Her current boyfriend, Jason Priestley, was visiting that day. I retrieved my daughter and our music minister’s daughter from school so that they could meet Mr. Priestley. He, too, was very nice, taking time to talk with the girls and give autographs.

I suppose we’re all awe-struck in the presence of famous people. I’ve met three presidents and not sure I blubbered an intelligent word in those few seconds!

But isn’t it true that worshipers are invited to meet a great personality whenever we enter the sanctuary?

A conference leader challenged us lately asking if pastors entered the worship area thinking of a dozen people we needed to talk with about something, or did we enter expecting to commune with God? I pled guilty and have tried since to remember the primary reason for worship.

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.

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