By Jeni Miller
LCMS congregations will soon receive their free mailed DVD copy of “The First Rosa: Teacher, Confessor, Church Planter.” This 42-minute film that chronicles the extraordinary life and work of LCMS teacher-missionary Dr. Rosa J. Young, “the mother of black Lutheranism in central Alabama,” is set to hit mailboxes in time for observing “Black History Month” in February.
“Many people go through life anonymously, never using their God-given gifts to affect the lives of others,” said the Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray Jr., director of LCMS Black Ministry. “Others, from their early years, pray for an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some and by doing so change the course of history for untold thousands. Rosa J. Young was such a person, an ordinary young lady who prayed to be used by God to serve a few, but God blessed her with the extraordinary gift to bless so many. Her life’s story is the stuff movies are made of — and such is the film, ‘The First Rosa.’ It’s simply the incredible story of a rural Alabama farm girl, changing the course of history for thousands of rural Alabama children because she prayed to God for a vocation to educate children in her community.”
Along with release of the film, downloadable resources — including an adult Bible study, a young-adult Bible study and a youth Bible lesson — will be available online. Sunday school lessons will be available later.
If a congregation plans to host a public showing of the film, it also is encouraged to download the film’s “promo kit,” which includes movie posters, bulletin inserts, info sheets, tips for hosting and promoting a showing, invitations, sample newsletter text and other items.
“We are very excited both about the release of the film and the resources that are being shared with congregations and schools,” said the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission. “These resources will allow churches and schools to dig deeper into the Rosa story and encourage the same zeal for the Gospel among our members, especially those who will serve the Church in the future. Rosa was always about the business of encouraging future workers in the Church. We hope this film and resources will encourage a new generation of pastors, teachers, DCEs, deaconesses and other servants of the Church.”
Inspiring future pastors, teachers
“The primary goal of ‘The First Rosa’ is to inspire viewers to consider entering the preaching and teaching ministries,” according to the Rev. Dr. Ardon Albrecht, the film’s writer, director and producer. “While she was alive, Rosa Young inspired hundreds — perhaps thousands — to do so. I believe that Rosa has lost none of that inspirational power. I invite pastors and church workers to show ‘The First Rosa’ year after year to each new confirmation class, to high school and college students as they are forming plans for future careers, and to those adults who may be thinking of a second career. I can think of no better person than Rosa J. Young to convince those who may feel even a faint nudge from the Lord, to take the next step and prepare for full-time service in the Church.”
In fall and early winter 2015, dozens of churches and other groups around the country held pre-release screenings of the film, while a number of others have showings slotted for early 2016. Resources and a current schedule of 2016 screenings that are free and open to the public are posted at lcms.org/thefirstrosa.
Questions about “The First Rosa” may be directed to Gray via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deaconess Jeni Miller (email@example.com) is a freelance writer and member of Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Atlanta.
Posted Jan. 19, 2016