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The Center offers a different kind of mission experience. Visiting groups are immersed in hands-on experiences with local partners who are already engaged in mission work throughout the city of Baltimore and surrounding communities. Groups also spend time with The Center staff, reflecting on shared experiences through the lenses of Christian faith and social change. Part of that reflection time includes education about the long history of racial and economic oppression that has shaped life for many in Baltimore.

CHARM CITY is a new PBS documentary that offers some insights on that history and the work being done on the ground to bring about change.

Filmed over a three-year period when the city’s nickname has never seemed less apt, CHARM CITY tackles, head on, the difficult circumstances facing both police and citizens in Baltimore. Directed by renowned documentary producer Marilyn Ness, (Cameraperson; Trapped; E-Team) the film is structured around a small constellation of memorable characters—community members, local elected officials, and law enforcement personnel—living and working in Baltimore during a period of sharp increase in homicides and following the police killing of Freddie Gray. At times, their circumstances highlight the current crisis of violence and distrust between civilians, officials, and police officers, and ultimately their actions help point a way forward. As we move between occasionally intersecting and often unpredictable lives, the camera forces intentional shifts in perspective insisting the audience consider new and often conflicting points of view—and how, ostensibly these constituencies are working toward the same goal. Challenging intellectual complacency, CHARM CITY combines the intimacy of close-up observational footage in the field with a lyrical score by Todd Griffin (Life, Animated, One Of Us) to give us a sensitive and profoundly humane portrait of those surviving in, and fighting for, the city they call home.


Available for streaming on Amazon or on DVD from PBS

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