How Myanmar Refugees Saved a Dying Smyrna Church and Inspired a Movie

The true story of how refugees from Myanmar breathed new life into a floundering Episcopal church in Smyrna, TN is being brought to the big screen.

The inspirational drama "All Saints" will star John Corbett of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "Northern Exposure" as well as Cara Buono of "Stranger Things" and "Mad Men," according to Affirm Films and Provident Films, the entities behind the movie. It is inspired by what happened at All Saints' Episcopal Church about a decade ago.

All Saints' Episcopal Church, led by the Rev. Michael Spurlock at the time, was on the verge of closing and trying to start over when a group of Karen refugees forced out of Myanmar joined the Rutherford County church, according to a 2008 article published by The Tennessean. The congregation struggled to figure out how to minister to the group's physical and spiritual needs as well as pay church bills. But then they all worked together and started a farm on the property, which helped solve both issues.

"The story of All Saints’ Church in Smyrna is an inspiring one. A refugee community has brought new life to this corner of Middle Tennessee. Parishioners at All Saints’ from far and near work together to minister in the name of Christ, learning from each other in the process," Bishop John Bauerschmidt, of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, said in an email.