Movie and Discussion @ Westminster: Ken Burns’ “Defying the Nazis: The Sharp’s War”


6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Smith Hall
119 Kenyon Ave, East Greenwich, RI, 02818

Event Type

SEEJ Presents Family Movie Night
Ken Burns’ “Defying the Nazis: The Sharp’s War
Saturday, April 29th at 6 PM in Smith Hall.
All are Welcome

A pale background with pink flowers, the UUA logo, and the words "Flower Ceremony Centennial, 1923-2023"Each year UU congregations worldwide – including Westminster – hold a Flower Communion service in the Springtime.  This is one of our most universal and beloved traditions.  Typically during these services, we remember Rev. Norbert Čapek, the minister at the Unitarian Church in Prague who created this unique ceremony.  As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Flower Communion service this year, it feels especially important to lift up some of the broader context of Rev. Čapek’s ministry.

Norbert CapekRev. Čapek was a creative and innovative religious leader – upon establishing the Unitarian Church in Prague (approximately 1922) it quickly grew to become one of the largest Unitarian congregations in the history of the world. But, Čapek was also an activist and an antifascist who was martyred at Dachau, in 1942, for his courageous resistance during WWII.  In fact, in 1939, when American Unitarians were preparing a ministry to help rescue refugees from the Nazi occupation, they turned to Rev. Čapek and the Prague Unitarian church for partnership.  And, when Rev. Waitstill Sharp traveled to Prague to launch this risky ministry, Rev. Čapek met him at the train station upon his arrival.

Defying-the-nazis-the-sharps-war-movie-poster-md.jpgWe’re fortunate that the noted documentarian, Ken Burns, has told the story of this remarkable refugee ministry in the film “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War”.  While the documentary isn’t about the Prague Unitarian church, per se, this chapter in our Unitarian justice work is inextricably tied to that church and its minister.  And, understanding that connection adds a layer of powerful significance to Flower Communion services.

So, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Flower Communion ceremony, and as a way of setting the context for our own Flower Communion service on May 14th, a family event will happen on Saturday, April 29th at Westminster. We will present Ken Burns’ documentary “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War.”  All are welcome – we’ll provide an informal pizza dinner at 6 PM and the movie will start at 6:30. It runs for 1 hour and 18 minutes. You are invited to stay afterward for discussion if your time allows. We will also be inviting the members of our neighbors at Temple Torat Yisrael to attend with us.

Please contact Amy Crawford or Rev. Eric if you have questions.