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For over half a century, CPO has stood alongside churches and Christian organisations to help them reach those beyond their doors. The Church is currently being required to preach God’s message to our nation in new ways. At CPO, we believe that this is sowing the seeds of a huge new opportunity: to embrace a church beyond walls. Communications will play a foundational role in that. We’ve collaborated on a resource to support you as you adapt to this new landscape – covid.churcheshandbook.co.uk. Please also sign up to our Reach email if you haven’t already, so we can let you know when we are up and running again.

1917

Director Sam Mendes Starring George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch Universal Pictures Category 15 Running Time: 119 minutes

This film has been greeted with immediate, almost unanimous critical acclaim, winning awards within weeks of its release. I watched it in a packed cinema – and noticed that the audience was almost exclusively male. The film only has one woman in it; with her baby girl she provides a fleeting moment of softness, tenderness and domesticity in an otherwise stark film, that is largely devoid of emotion. 


As a piece of cinematic art, the film is formed of a continuous single take. This process grips the viewer in a relentless journey through trenches, corpses, no-man’s land, rubble and rivers. 

At times the boundaries of credibility are stretched, with almost the appearance of a video game in which the hero is Teflon-coated, yet it still manages to be a coherent whole. 

Director Sam Mendes was inspired by his grandfather’s stories of the First World War. The story concerns the mission given to two soldiers to take a message nine miles to the new front line. The message is a command to stop a planned attack, to avoid a catastrophic defeat for 1,600 men.

The film reveals something of what it takes to be committed to a mission to communicate a life-saving message: willingness, determination, resilience and adaptability are vital to reach your objective. Perhaps those charged with communicating the gospel to a generation in danger might look and learn. 

And those working with men might ponder what makes a film like this so compelling to a predominately male audience.

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex

 

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