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UK News

Life of Brian screening causes upset for church

by Hannah Tooley

In order to raise funds for the church, Fr Christopher Wilson charged people £10 to watch the Monty Python film.

The Parish Church in Leamington Spa will also stage a concert called "Music You Don't Normally Hear On A Church Organ" in a bid to raise funds for repairs.

The Life of Brian was branded as anti-Christian when it was first released in 1979 but Fr Wilson said it is trying to make the church "laugh at ourselves."

He told The Telegraph: "Just as church buildings were the centre of all sorts of community activities in medieval times, we hope the film will bring in people who wouldn't normally think of entering this spectacular place.

"The Life of Brian caused upset when it was released almost 40 years ago. Most of us have grown up since then.

"We've learned to laugh at ourselves and to understand the difference between faith, which inspires us from deep within, and the foibles of human nature which are so humorously depicted in the film."

He added that he hopes people will come and enjoy the evening and that they feel encouraged to engage with the Bible and ask questions afterwards.

Some members of his congregation have criticised the decision to hold the screening, though.

An unnamed congregation member said: "I remember the furore the first time the film came out and I watched it out of interest to see what the fuss was about.

"As a Christian, I didn't particularly like it very much and thought it was an unfair portrayal of the church but accepted it should be shown in cinemas.

"My views haven't changed in the intervening years but I don't agree it should be shown in church. I think it will upset many, many people."

John Ascott, 45, said: "I support freedom of speech and people's rights to view certain films, but why not screen it in a cinema?

"There must be better ways to encourage people to attend church than to show a film which is, in essence, making fun of the entire Christian faith and story of Jesus."

Half of the profits from ticket sales will go towards the continued upkeep and repairs for 174-year-old church.

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