Summary: An introduction to the religious makeup of Clinton County, PA. From the ethnic Catholics of Renovo, through the fundamentalist Baptists of North Bend and the struggling Jews of Lock Haven, to the consolidated Lutherans of Nittany and Sugar Valleys, this is a survey of religious conditions and outlooks in this rural county. The film also serves to set the scene for the remaining films in the “Profiles of Rural Religion” series.
Summary: At 33, Paul Wonders was a successful dairy farmer, with a wife, six children, and a farm that had been in his family for four generations. He “got saved” at an evangelistic meeting in 1948, sold the farm, became an itinerant tent preacher and later an ordained minister. Today, he is pastor of the Gospel Tabernacle Assembly of God in Hammersley Fork, an unincorporated crossroads community in the most sparsely populated corner of Clinton County, PA. The Wonders have built a new church building; they hold four exuberant services a week for their congregation of less than 100. They and their church are flourishing. This is an exploration of a minister and his wife–co-ministers–and the joyous brand of evangelism they conduct in their lives and in their church
Summary: To conclude the “Profiles of Rural Religion” series, the series consultants, sociologists Don Crider and Joe Faulkner, come to the TV studio for some analysis and some dialogue with the subjects of the six documentaries. But the dialogue develops most strongly between the subjects themselves, as questions of diversity and religious choice become prominent. And the program provides a final, frontal encounter between Suzie Andresen and Glenn Stover (see “Separate Realities”). Their quite different religious views, untempered and forcefully put, illustrate the range and intensity of religious expression in Rural America.
An engrossing and detailed look at a small Fundamentalist congregation in Massachusetts in the mid- 1980s. It follows several families, detailing their views of their religion and of the world. It provides an insider’s view without varnishing away negative details. First rate!
I find the shorter version more useful for the classroom, as it leaves time for a quick debriefing in an 80-minute class period. The discussion during the next class period works best if I give students study questions and ask them to relate the film to their reading.
Leave plenty of time for talk! Most students need it. (JS)
Keywords: Fundamentalism, worldview, conversion, family life, sects