Surprising Merrily – The Movie
Ron Speers’ Author and Executive Producer
This delightful little movie about a crisis in the career of a television host answers the question “What is Anglicanism?” The night before a “must” TV performance she dreams about having to placate the Network’s tyrannical owner and save the show from cancellation by acting-out to dominate the guest appearance of “some religious guys.” The dream unfolds as a prickly interview of historical Anglicans Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, Richard Hooker, and C.S. Lewis.
The renowned theologian and author J.I. Packer writes: “Sound, Stimulating, Satisfying. A first-rate introduction to real Anglicanism.” Bishop Keith Ackerman adds: “All streams of Anglicanism will find this to be a film that will endure, as will the Faith that it represents!”
Anglicans comprise the largest Protestant group in the world yet very few lay people (and not all clergy) can explain Anglicanism effectively. How to get people up-to-speed about Anglicanism in reasonably short order? Even inspire one to dig deeper into it. Books? Teachings? Well, of course. But how about using a little technology? A movie perhaps but certainly not the infomercial sort of thing. What if an entertainment answered the question “What is Anglicanism?” Helped people to tell others “Why I’m an Anglican?” What if there were, well, a one-act stage play? One that wasn’t “churchy” at all though accurate and entertaining. Maybe add a little Gershwin music for good measure. Add a prickly media lady (we’ll call her Merrily Inclement). Have her confront historical Anglicans Thomas Cranmer, Richard Hooker and C.S.Lewis. What if Hollywood got involved and filmed a great performance with professional actors, producers, director, cinematographers, film editors, sound people – the Hollywood cinematic works? Well, it’s happened! Surprising Merrily is now a 45 minute DVD that can be enjoyed by a Church congregation or by anyone at home.
Thomas Cranmer renovated the English Church in the Great Reformation, producing the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549. Richard Hooker (1554-1600) refined Cranmer’s legacy. C.S. Lewis came to faith some 400 years later. He wonderfully expounded the one holy catholic and apostolic faith in our time. Though Merrily Inclement and her Surprising Merrily television show are fictional, the characters meet in a literary form called the supposal where, as they explore Anglicanism, we are reminded that a personal encounter with the Apostolic Faith has a way of producing its own surprises.