Hello Neighbor

News | March 31, 2022

Zip up your red sweater, lace up your blue sneakers, and take a nostalgic walk with other St. Paul people through Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

On Friday, April 8, 6:30 p.m. a screening of the 2019 movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will take place in the Sanctuary followed by a brief discussion.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood takes us for a trolley ride into the world of public television icon and beloved children’s hero Mr. Rogers. Inspired by the 1998 article “Can You Say…Hero?” by Tom Junod for Esquire magazine, the movie explores the impact of Fred Rogers through the eyes of a troubled journalist. Starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers and Matthew Rhys as journalist Lloyd Vogel, the movie is a time machine for those who remember switching on PBS to watch Mr. Rogers and wondering which human or puppet the trolley would take us to today and an uplifting reminder in the good of ourselves and others for those unfamiliar the show.

It focuses on a cynical Vogel, known to write unflattering, controversial pieces on subjects, throughout his assignment to profile Fred Rogers for an article on American heroes. You’re often left wondering – “is there anything bad he could write about Mr. Rogers?” All while Vogel is in a transformative point in his life, forced to address past traumas in his relationship with his father as he prepares himself for fatherhood. The movie, much like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, explores difficult topics like resentment, anger, death, and acceptance with gentleness and honesty.

Beth Laureijs is the coordinator of the St. Paul Mental Health Awareness Team which is responsible for selecting and sponsoring the movie screening.

“This movie is so much more than mental health. It’s life. There’s much that we can learn from this person and how he approached individuals and life, the connections that he made with people, and how he maintained those connections and relationships. That takes time and effort and is so valuable.”

Fred Rogers was an accomplished musician and songwriter, graduating from college with a degree in music, who went on to become an ordained Presbyterian minister with the mission of working with families and children through the media.

“It’s moving how accepting Mr. Rogers is of Lloyd, how accepting he is of everyone. There are a lot of lessons throughout the movie and everything Fred says is as much for adults as for kids,” Beth said. “Fred’s lesson or Lloyd’s journey shows that we need to be more accepting of ourselves and thus more accepting of others, a willingness to understand each other. That we are all worthy. Worthy to be loved, listened to, cared about.”

It’s a good reminder that it doesn’t matter what street you’re on, you’re always in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and any day can be a beautiful day.

A brief discussion led by Steve Kalber will follow the screening. Steve is a registered nurse who has worked for Vera French, taught in the nursing program at St. Ambrose for 12 years, and is currently doing clinical adjunct work with nursing students in their mental health rotation at Genesis. Pastor Megan Eide will offer closing remarks.

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