Lives of Note film series

News | July 28, 2021

In this four-week series of 1-hour films, meet remarkable 20th-century leaders of note from varied backgrounds. Gather on Thursday evenings, Aug. 5-26, 6:30 p.m. in the Chapel, to view and discuss each movie. Martin Doblmeier has produced some of the most compelling films profiling people whose lives of religious commitment and social impact deserve our close attention. No need to sign up, just come! Contact: Peter Pettit,

Aug. 5 | Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a young German theologian who refused to ride out the Nazi years by taking asylum in England or the U.S. He was a leading voice in the Protestant resistance both as leader of a “protesting” seminary, an activist in trying to thwart Adolf Hitler, and a political prisoner of the Nazi government.

Introduced and discussion led by Dr. Reggie Williams, author of Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is the focus of Doblmeier’s award-winning documentary, profiling “an heroic odyssey illuminated with admirable clarity” (LA Times) through the life and thought of the Nazi resistor. Faced with the murderous racism of Nazi ideology and schooled in the witness of Christian activism at Harlem’s Black community of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Bonhoeffer rose to prominence as a rare German Christian voice challenging the foundations of the Nazi government. 

Dr. Williams, Professor of Christian Ethics at McCormick Seminary in Chicago, will fill out more of the picture of Bonhoeffer, respond to questions, and lead us into a consideration of Bonhoeffer’s relevance for the American church today. The following morning, Dr. Williams will lead a workshop to delve more deeply into Bonhoeffer’s thought as a resource for the church in a society deeply divided over race, class, and power.

The St. Paul Book Corner carries A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Meditations on Psalms.

Aug. 12 | Dorothy Day
Dorothy Day is an American journalist who was a well-known political radical among American Catholics. She was a co-founder of the Catholic Worker magazine. The related Catholic Worker movement carried her voice into the causes of workers’ rights, social justice, the environment, and other social issues.

The St. Paul Book Corner carries The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist by Dorothy Day.

Aug. 19 | Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel escaped from Europe on the eve of the Holocaust and became a leading philosopher and public intellectual in the United States. He brought his voice and Jewish heritage to bear on nearly every significant moral issue in 1950s and 1960s America.

Aug. 26 | Howard Thurman
Howard Thurman is a Black theologian who encouraged the search for common ground among diverse people in a society. Both deeply personal and persistently communal, the search became a touchstone of the civil rights era, echoed in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, pursuit of the blessed community. Thurman’s articulation of common ground also laid a foundation for many of his more well-known contemporaries in interfaith engagement.

A children’s activity program for elementary-age kids will be offered, and child care for the younger set can be provided, if needed. Please sign up for these options no later than Tuesday evening each week at

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