Ottawa, March 19, 2016 –– The three-month pilot of the Ottawa / Gatineau team’s Saturday evening Movie Nights was launched at the home of Maura Beecher, a longtime Initiatives of Change (IofC) member. The idea of Movie Night is to use IofC’s many archival and modern films and videos to provide an experience of both fellowship and of deep sharing, inspired by IofC values and stories.

In attendance were 15 persons, a mix of members residing in the Ottawa / Gatineau area, along with a number of guests with international backgrounds, including Rwanda, Ukraine, Algeria and Nigeria. The evening started with a potluck dinner, followed by a five -minute film clip introducing IofC, then the featured film and discussion. 

The featured film was one of Initiatives of Change’s most inspiring true stories, For The Love of Tomorrow / Pour l’Amour de Demain. The 45-minute film is a unique profile of Mme. Iréne Laure, a member of the French Resistance who, in the rubble of post-war Europe, discovered forgiveness to be a force stronger than hatred.

Although the story is about Europe, the film has important Canadian connections. It includes significant footage filmed by Radio Canada crew who interviewed Mme. Laure in 1978 in Caux. Their attendance at the conference was due to an IofC initiative to publicize the centennial of MRA / IofC founder Frank Buchman’s birth. These personal interviews were a crucial part of the film’s emotional depth and inspiration.

In the discussion after the movie, individuals were asked to reflect on what most moved them about the film. Some of those reflections included:

  • Watching this film helped me reevaluate my personal struggle with hatred.
  • Forgiving is a gift you give to yourself.
  • Even though forgiving is freeing, it is very hard to do (citing the example of the Rwandan genocide he went through).
  • Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
  • It is so important that we learn from history, and do our part in making the world a better place.
  • Destruction can be a very short process but reconciliation is a very long one.

One guest discussed her own father’s visit to Berlin in 1999 at the invitation of the German government, to be honored for taking part in the Berlin Airlift when he was a Royal Air Force officer in World War II. He flew an Avro York and delivered hundreds of planeloads of coal when the Soviets blockaded West Berlin, the same area shown in the film. A longtime IofC member shared her personal experience meeting and talking with Irene Laure.

The organizers plan to hold movie nights on a regular basis at the home of Maura Beecher.

Mary Ella Keblusek,  Ottawa