The park across the street was in full bloom, the sun was shining in all its brilliance, children and husbands and partners walked down the street carrying bunches of roses and other flowers to lay in the arms of the beloved mothers who were being honored that day. The screening was also in honor of a mother, our birth mother, our nurturer, our Mother Earth who, as one person exclaims in the film, “is dying”, because “we are killing her.” So we feel the pressing need to not only honor her, but to fight for her, by every means possible. One way is through screenings such is of this film, and in venues such as the Judson Church, with its glowing tradition as a spiritual, artistic and social justice center in the heart of Greenwich Village, a location famous for its culture of the arts and of education.
One of the filmmakers, John Ankele, and his wife the artist Alix Ankele were present with Gwen Alston, of MocaMedia, not only at the screening, but also to attend the service that preceded it. And what a suitable and inspirational service it was. The service was led by Reverends Donna Schaper and Michael Ellick, who each gave engaging talks and who led the series of shared songs and performances by members of the Judson community. The first performance was a knock out, by the very young Azalea who, accompanied by her father on the piano, sang “What a Wonderful World”. The video of her singing is included below. She left the audience speechless. And her voice was a perfect lead-in to a sermon on beauty, earth, and motherhood, on remembering to respect and appreciate the sacredness of our world, and all the manifestations in it of motherhood, whether they be religious, as with Mary Mother of God, physical (the necessary experience of touching and being touched), through the handling of the rosary, or intellectual, as in asking ourselves again and again the question of our existence.
Below is “What a Wonderful World”, as sung by Azalea. Enjoy.