Get a sneak preview. Watch the trailer for "Prayers for Bobby" now.
From MoreLight Presbyterians. Prayers for Bobby. Sigourney Weaver plays Bobby's Mother, Mary Griffith and Ryan Kelley plays Bobby.and and , 2009, the Lifetime Cable Channel premieres the long awaited film version of the powerful book by Leroy Aarons,
We encourage you to gather family and friends from your church to watch this poignant and powerful film together. We encourage you to get your church's youth group, campus ministry or seminary community together to watch this film.
Why? It's a true story. It's a family story. And, it's a Presbyterian story. This story and film has much to teach us in this moment as the Presbyterian Church (USA) is considering the removal of prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in the ratification process of Ordination Amendment 08-B.
"Prayers for Bobby" has been called an American tragedy.
In 1983, Bobby Griffith killed himself at the age of 20 by doing a back flip off a freeway overpass. Bobby was a gay teen who grew up in religious household. Bobby never found acceptance within his family, particularly from his mother, Mary Griffith.
Bobby left diaries that are quoted in Aarons' book. Bobby wrote: "I've overheard (family members). They've said they hate gays, and even God hates gays, too. Gays are bad, and God sends bad people to hell. It scares me when they talk that way because now they are talking about me."
In today's San Francisco Chronicle article about this film, Mary Griffith, now 74, said, "I didn't listen to my conscience. I was entrenched. But I don't live with the guilt anymore because I realized that I was truly ignorant. It wasn't something I did out of malice. So, I can forgive myself for that."
Following her son's death by suicide, Mary blamed herself which took her on a journey to understanding, redemption and transformation. She became an advocate for gay teens and spokeswoman for the Diablo Valley Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
In the epilogue to Aaron's book on which this film is based there is a story of another mother with a gay son not far away from Mary Griffith, our Mitzi Henderson. Mitzi serves as an Elder at First Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian Church,, a More Light Church. Mitzi has served as the Co-Moderator of the MLP National Board of Directors and as President of National PFLAG.
In many ways the story of the Mary, her son Bobby, their family and their Presbyterian church in Walnut Creek and the story of Mitzi, her son Jamie, their family, and their Presbyterian church in Palo Alto illustrate this moment and the opportunity the Presbyterian Church (USA) has now with Amendment 08-B. We can get it right about children and families, God's creation of all of us, Scripture and what is means to be a Church that welcomes and affirms all and discriminates against none.
So, this Saturday or, gather family and friends together to watch "Prayers for Bobby." Consult your local TV guide to find the time for the film in your area. And, please do forward the notice of this film and invitation to gather people for a film night or 25.
It is my deep hope and prayer that there will be no more LGBT or questioning teens in our Church or communities who doubt they are made and loved by God just the way they are. And, it is my deep hope and prayer that the Presbyterian Church (USA) and other Christian traditions will encourage and teach parents to love all of their children, not just the straight ones.
Mary lost her beloved son, Bobby, because of anti-gay teachings of her
church and the homophobia in the larger culture. May we become the
answers to Mary's prayers by becoming and being people, families, and a
Church for all of God's children.
with hope and grace,
PS -- Begin inviting people now to watch "Prayers for Bobby" with you or !
Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Executive Director & Field Organizer
More Light Presbyterians,