When award-winning documentary filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond set out to make The Congregation, they may have imagined they were taking a respite from the hot topics of their previous films—wartime Bosnia, New York police, and homosexuality in America. But the two years they spent observing First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia turned out to be anything but placid.
The Raymonds captured on film associate minister Beth Stroud’s coming out as a lesbian, which led to her defrocking this month by her denomination (see news report in this issue). When the film airs on PBS on December 29, viewers will likely be lured by references to this controversy. (The video can be obtained at www.videoverite.tv.)