Let the Church Say Amen

Director: David Petersen

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


In the shadows of our nation's capital, impoverished black neighborhoods struggle to prevent hope from draining out of their residents' lives. David Petersen's powerful documentary, Let the Church Say Amen, shows how one church nourishes love and hope in members whose lives have been blown apart by hardship.

Inside the storefront doors of the World Missions for Christ Church is a world filled with passion, sweat, devotion, and testifying. Soulful hymns transport churchgoers to a sense of safety within the faith while the ardent testimony by the minister, who overcame crack addiction, helps them see they can turn their lives around. An ex-junkie embraces the faith and, with newfound strength, strives to work back into his children's lives. Another relies on his piety as he struggles to make sense of his son's murder. Missionary members preach aggressively on the streets of the community and offer hope to those discarded by everyone else.

Petersen richly portrays his subjects while exposing the forces of poverty and injustice that work against the community. More than showing faith in action, Let the Church Say Amen is ultimately a moving testament to humanity's need for compassion and hope, and a glaring revelation that American society has grossly ignored this need within black communities.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details


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