"An Enjoyable Peek Into a Pastor’s Life"
What You Need To Know:
Released in 1941, ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN follows the life of Pastor William Spence who struggles to build his ministry while providing for his family. Despite prior plans to become a doctor and opposition from his fiancé’s parents, William and his new wife, Hope, move to Utah to become circuit pastors. The pastor’s life involves William and Hope with great joys as well as great obstacles of making ends meet, raising a family and dealing with conflicts from their congregations. When offered a better position in California, William refuses to run from hardship but chooses to accept adversity and build his church.
ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN is an engaging, enjoyable classic with a multitude of worthwhile messages for the whole family. The diversity of characters, fast-moving plot and frequently hilarious dialogue keeps viewers entertained as they easily empathize with the Spence family and embark on a fun, emotional journey. ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN is based on a nonfiction book by a pastor’s son. It has a very strong Christian, biblical worldview that promotes the importance of sacrifice, humility, good parenting, and perseverance.
Released in 1941, ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN follows the life of a pastor who faces various struggles of building his ministry while providing for his family.
The movie opens with Hope Morris Spence playing the piano with her parents conversing in the room with her. Suddenly, William Spence (Fredrich March) barges into the room and tells his soon to be fiancée and her parents that God has called him to become a pastor instead of a doctor. Williams asks Hope to start this new life with him. Despite opposition from her parents, William takes Hope (Martha Scott) with him from Canada to Utah to begin life as a circuit pastor.
As the newlyweds try to get situated in their new environment, Hope experiences the consequences of the new life she agreed to follow. Hope faces backlash and immense pressure from the women in the congregation who criticize her slightest attempts to redecorate the house provided for the church, which is not the house she dreamed about having. She’s brought to tears in the attic, but William finds her and convinces her that everything will be okay. They face the future of their life in ministry with a renewed determination.
Several years pass. After moving multiple times, their family has grown, and they now have three children. However, this brings on a set of new challenges as the Spence family are on the brink of poverty, struggling to make ends meet. On top of that, they have yet to name and baptize their newborn baby, and this becomes an added source of contention for Hope and William. They fight over what the baby will be called, but, after the baptism, Hope finally concedes. Financially they get by from earnings of marrying couples together and triumph over this slump in their lives.
At this point, the Spence family starts being on the constant move once again. Finally, they arrive in their new home several years later, which brings on a new set of problems like the numerous leaks in the roof and fussy congregation members. Their situation is now worse than ever. Family tensions rise as everyone is facing their own problems.
In an attempt to fix this, William has an idea to build a new house for his family the house that his wife has always wanted. However, in order to get a new house built, they need to build a new church. William sets up a meeting with the church board members and explains his idea for a brand new and better church. Clayton, a wealthy congregation member whose family is in the choir and is insistent on being noticed, is against this idea because the new blueprints for the church have the choir seats being hidden so you only hear the voices.
Once Clayton pulls out, so does everyone else. This causes Williams to change up the service by putting all the young children in the choir for the summer and giving the grownups a vacation so that they can “rest.” Enraged choir members spread a rumor about the Pastor’s son, which gets him expelled. Out of the blue, Williams gets an offer to pastor a big church in California providing a beautiful house for the family, but William refuses to run from hardship and chooses to walk the long road ahead to build his church. God’s plan for William isn’t over.
ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN is an engaging, enjoyable classic with a multitude of worthwhile messages for the whole family. Even though it’s in black and white, the diversity of characters, fast-moving plot and hilarious dialogue keep viewers entertained. The charming performances make it easy for viewers to empathize with the Spence family as they embark on an emotional journey.
ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN has a very strong Christian, biblical worldview that displays the importance of sacrifice, humility and perseverance, especially in ministry. It’s also rich with wholesome family values and solid scriptural truths that the characters learn and live out. The movie touches not only important familial themes of parenting, respect and obedience of authority but also more universal topics of leadership, discrimination, contentment, and many more that are relevant to all walks and stages of life.
Do you enjoy articles like this?
Click here to become a monthly partner and receive a movie for free!