The Rev. Jessica Petersen-Orwenyo has never been bullied, she says, but that doesn’t mean she’s not willing to do something about it.
The pastor of Congregational United Church of Christ, along with Capitol II, is hosting a special screening of the movie “Bully” in hopes of opening a dialogue in the community about bullying.
Petersen-Orwenyo said she saw the film in theaters when it was first released and has been organizing a public showing for the community for awhile now.
“Having seen it, I thought the work of the Church is so much more important,” Petersen-Orwenyo said. “Given this film and the reality of how kids are treating each other, and how adults are treating each other, because when I saw, it I thought,where do kids learn this from?”
After seeing the film, Petersen-Orwenyo said she realized children learn negative behaviors from adults and even national affairs. She cited the United State’s willingness to use preemptive strikes as setting an example of violence and negativity for children.
When the film came out on DVD, Petersen-Orwenyo showed the film at the church and has wanted to show it on a bigger screen since May.
“Some people are hindered by coming into a church,” she said. “They don’t like coming into a church.”
Petersen-Orwenyo said she and Dawn Bleeker at Capitol II began working to get “Bully” on one of the Capitol II’s screens. Even though the screening is open to the public, Petersen-Orwenyo feels the event is exactly along the lines of how her church gives to the community.
“It just seemed like this was an extension, a clear part of our mission for what we feel the role of the church is to try and get people to treat each other better and love each other,” Petersen-Orwenyo said.
Petersen-Orwenyo said the showing of “Bully” won’t offer any answers, but she believes it will start the dialogue and ask the questions that need to be asked. At the very least, Petersen-Orwenyo said she hopes those who attend will ask themselves how they treat the people around them.
“I don’t think it’s just the schools, and it’s not just the parents problem,” Petersen-Orwenyo said. “It’s a societal problem that we have.”
“Bully” will light up the Capitol II screen at 1 p.m. Sunday.