The profound question of forgiveness is the central theme of a production by three film makers that took them into the heart of the Amish community in America who live their lives in tune with the 18th century Christian principles. No cars, TVs, electricity, and the simple clothes of their forebears.
The thought-provoking full-length film ‘A Step Too Far?’ (75 minutes) was created by Paul Moorehead (director) his wife Marina (presenter), two Lurgan teachers, and Thomas Glass (cameraman and editor) of LJHS-tv. It will have its premiere at Craigavon Civic Centre on Thursday, September 12 at 7.30pm. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
The most powerful message in the film focuses on the infamous massacre of Amish schoolchildren by gunman Charles Roberts in West Nickel Mines School in October 2006. Roberts marched 10 girls of primary school age out of the single-room schoolhouse and shot them all - five survived - and then turned the gun on himself.
Forgiveness was the reaction of the Amish people of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the schoolhouse was torn down and replaced with New Hope School at another location.
Said Paul Moorehead, “Such was their forgiveness that Roberts’ mother goes every Thursday night to comfort one of the five survivors who did not recover physically from the shooting and is welcomed by the Amish community.”
Another act of forgiveness and friendship surrounds a man who fell asleep at the wheel of a car and killed an eight-year-old Amish child - he became firm friends with the family.
“It would be easy to misread the situation,” said Marina. “The Amish don’t find it any easier than anyone else to forgive, but it’s in their Christian psyche.”
“We spoke to an Amish family ‘in camera’,” said Paul. “They don’t see themselves as a perfect people - they aren’t - but they are absolutely convinced that forgiveness, whether it is sought or not, is the only positive way forward for victims and families.”
The film was financed by the ‘Peace III Southern Partnership’ of the European Union.