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Published: Saturday, 2/10/2001

`Left Behind' ranks 17th at box office

BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

The evangelical Christian movie Left Behind finished 17th at the box office in its opening weekend, according to Variety magazine. The $17.5-million movie, based on the best-selling novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, opened on 867 screens nationwide, including the Showcase Cinemas in Maumee, grossing $2.1 million.

The numbers fell short of the goal stated by Peter Lalonde, co-producer and a co-founder of Cloud Ten Pictures, who said he thought the movie had a chance to be No. 1 for last weekend's opening. A press release from Cloud Ten Pictures said the movie drew between 400,000 and 500,000 viewers. Leading at the box office were The Wedding Planner, Valentine, and Cast Away, according to Variety.

John and Marcia Knollman of Waterville, local sponsors who paid $3,000 to bring the movie to the Toledo area, said they were delighted with the turnout and the media coverage. Mrs. Knollman said the couple's goal was achieved when they heard a caller on YES-FM report that a friend had made a spiritual commitment after watching the film.

The American Anglican Council, an orthodox mission organization seeking changes in the Episcopal Church, has issued an “urgent appeal” to leaders of the worldwide Anglican church to consider three “possible solutions” to “the growing crisis” in the church at an upcoming meeting.

A petition from the AAC, being distributed to parishes by mail and e-mail, calls for alternative oversight for parishes from more theologically supportive Episcopal bishops, a defense of the biblical standard of marriage, and the refocusing of Episopcalians on the mission of Jesus Christ.

“Many orthodox Episcopalians are intensely frustrated and discouraged by the state of our church,” Canon David Anderson, president of the AAC, said in a statement.

The Anglican Primates, leaders of the 37 churches of the Anglican Communion, meet March 3-8 in Hendersonville, N.C.

Mary Kay Beard, a former criminal who was part of a duo known as the “Bonnie and Clyde of Alabama,” will be the main speaker for “Bridging the Gap,” a nondenominational women's retreat Feb. 23-24 at Heritage Christian Church, 1640 South Coy Rd., Oregon.

While serving time in prison for armed robbery and grand larceny, Mrs. Beard became a Christian. After her release, she became involved in Prison Fellowship, a ministry founded by Watergate figure Charles Colson, and later became director of the Prison Fellowship chapter in Alabama.

She went on to begin the ministry's Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts to the children of prison inmates. Mrs. Beard now works with her husband, Don, at the Encourager Center for Biblical Counseling in Houston.

The “Bridging the Gap” retreat begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 with worship and praise and speakers and continues at 8 a.m. Feb. 24 with worship, testimonies, performances by two dance teams, and a talk by Ms. Beard.

A fee of $20 includes a continental breakfast and lunch on Feb. 24. Information is available from the church.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was named the best movie of 2000 by the U.S. Catholic Conference, the Washington-based organization whose Film and Broadcasting Office reviewed 240 movies during the year.

The rest of the USCC's top 10 list consists of Traffic, Chicken Run, Butterfly, Billy Elliot, Best in Show, Remember the Titans, Cast Away, The Color of Paradise, and East-West.

The United Methodist Church is expanding a program to bring students from Northern Ireland to the United Sates for a year to study business-related courses in hopes of boosting international relations and peace.

Sixty students from Northern Ireland are studying at United Methodist schools in the United States this year, and the colleges have offered spots to 117 Irish students starting in the fall.

Colleges are asked to arrange a variety of working experiences in commerce or industry as well as provide a tuition-free year at their campuses. Almost 1,000 business, management, and hospitality students have participated since the program began in 1994.

The United States has 62.4 million Roman Catholics, the third largest Catholic population in the world, according to the 2001 Catholic Almanac.

The only countries with more Catholics are Brazil, with 139 million, and Mexico, with 118 million.



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