Actor misses church discussion on faith film

2011-09-07T21:15:00Z 2011-09-08T23:10:05Z Actor misses church discussion on faith filmBy Philip Potempa, philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

MUNSTERĀ | Movie actor Gerard Butler canceled an announced appearance Wednesday night at Family Christian Center in Munster, where he was supposed to discuss his new film.

Butler, 41, the popular star of films such as "Law Abiding Citizen," "300," "Bounty Hunter" and "P.S. I Love You," was promoted by the church as a draw and scheduled to speak at both the 5 and 7 p.m. weekly services.

However, event organizers said the actor was delayed in Chicago with media interviews while promoting his new $30 million film "Machine Gun Preacher."

The event alert sent to media Sunday invited the general public to the free event held the facility's 4,000 seat auditorium.

Rather than hearing Butler, the audience at both services heard from the "real" Sam Childers, the man known as "The Machine Gun Preacher" and who Butler portrays in the film. He was joined by the film's screenwriter Jason Keller, discussing the film and the impact faith has to change "a person's life mission."

Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal, experienced a life transformation when he found an unexpected calling as the savior to hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children in Sudan.

The former biker gang member, who is now 49, is the founder of the Angels of East Africa Rescue, an organization that rescues children from starvation, disease and enslavement in territories controlled by the Lord's Resistance Army, a renegade militia that forces the youth generation of the country to become soldiers even before they reach their teens.

Directed by Marc Forster and distributed in the U.S. by Relativity Media, the film is rated R and opens nationwide in select theaters, beginning Sept. 23.

David Jordan Allen, director of media relations for the Family Christian Center, said Childers has spoken at the facility in the past and accepted donations for his projects in Africa.

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