Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

QUEEN OF KATWE opens in theaters September 23rd.

The promising Disney film starring Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) and David Oyelowo (Selma) tells the inspiring true story of missionary Robert Katende and Phiona Mutesi.  Phiona was a young girl living on the streets of Katwe, Uganda.  She stumbled across an outreach ministry that motivated children like herself, and used chess to encourage them with the idea that “What matters is when you reset the pieces and play again.”  Phiona came in for free porridge, but found a community and a mentor in Robert Katende. 

 Eventually, Phiona found herself winning local chess matches.  She now competes internationally, and thanks to the Sports Outreach Institute Missionary Program, she is also in school to become a pediatrician with the goal of opening a free clinic in Katwe to help others. Robert Katende a missionary and refugee of Uganda’s civil war, continues to mentor children in Katwe and teach chess. 

John W. Kennedy is a writer/development consultant specializing in teleplays, screenplays and novelizations. He can be reached at

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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