Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Can We Be Bought?

A few weeks ago a television commercial production person showed up at St. Paul's asking if his camera crew could use the front lawn of our church to take some footage across the street. Our building was not going to be in the commercial but they needed the distance from the small used car lot on the south side of Church St. I said sure and they later stopped in with a hundred dollars as a thank you. It turns out that it was a Crown Royal whiskey commercial (we didn't know this) and if you pay close attention to this commercial on Hockey Night in Canada you will see the manse --our home -- down the street. And no they didn't pay us "in kind!"

Churches do get asked if their halls and sanctuaries can be used for films, television shows, commercials. A while back St. Paul's made money when the crew of the Wind at My Back TV series filmed across the street at the museum and used our hall to feed their folk. When I was in Halifax This Hour Has Twenty Two Minutes wanted to use our sanctuary for a segment but we quietly said no, even though at that time I loved this satirical CBC program.

I read a piece recently written by a minister in the States who was offered $10,000 for the use of their worship space for three days to film a big scene in an Adam Sandler movie. It was to be a wedding ceremony where a priest punches out a worshipper who won't turn off his cell phone. Now, this might be a fantasy of many clergy, but in the end the minister said no, not just because of this scene but the whole premise of the film. Then the production company came back with an offer of sixty grand! For three days filming!

This time the deacons came together and while they talked for two hours they turned it down. Could they use the $60,000? Is the pope Catholic? In the end they decided that this wasn't a fit for their values, nor did they want to upset their congregation. Another church did say yes.

Do you agree with this decision? Would you hope we would make a similar one, or would your response by "lighten up?" Has there ever been a good Adam Sandler movie?


Anonymous said...

It's a tough decision. On one hand, what could be accomplished with the money? Would, for instance, using the money to do good unto others release us from the disappointment of not living up to our own values?Probably not. If a church dosen't stand firm in regards to where its money comes from, how can it remain an 'untarnished' voice within its own community? I'd probably turn down this kind of money, but that isn't to say I wouldn't be sick to my stomach as I watched it walking away.

IanD said...

On the other hand, think about how much good you could do by pumping sixty grand into the Gathering Place or other aspects of St. Paul's outreach.

Take the money and run!

sjd said...

When looking at the finincial report a little cash infusion would be nice.

Have we ever been host to a wedding or a funeral for someone who never/probaly would never participated in the life of the church? Did we take their money? Is there much of a difference?

Laurie said...

Every week people put money in the collection plates. Nobody asks anyone ,"Where did you get the money to put in the plate?" What if you didn't agree with where they worked, or the job they are doing. Would you then say "We don't want your money"
I'm with Ian take the money and do some good with it.

Nan said...

That is a tough decision, but the other responders do make a lot of sense. Did the $100.00 given to the church after the commercial was shot get returned? I think that if the church/sanctuary is not defaced and that those using it respect where they are then there might be good reason to allow something like this. Just imagine the good that could be done with that money?

IanD said...

And, yes:

Happy Gilmore is the greatest sports movie of all time.