Anjelah Johnson-Reyes, star of the faith-based film "The Resurrection of Gavin Stone", has opened up about her faith and what she believes the role of the church should be.
The 34-year-old actress, who first shot to fame in the viral MADTv skit "Bon Qui Qui," recently told Matthew Faraci, host of the Dove Channel's Frankly Faraci, that her Christian faith is the "foundation" that sustains her - especially while working in a predominantly secular industry.
"You have to know who you are in any area of life, no matter what you do for you living, if you're a plumber, or if you're a teacher," she said. "Whatever it is you do, you have to know who you are. Especially coming into this industry, I just know who I am and I stay grounded."
She added, "I stay connected to my faith and my personal convictions and my morals and my boundaries and my beliefs in who I am. I stay true to that, cuz it can get real easy to try to please people and be who they want you to be."
Johnson-Reyes' latest project, "The Resurrection of Gavin Stone", tells the story of Gavin (Brett Dalton), a washed-up former child star is forced to do community service at a local mega-church after he gets in trouble with the law. He pretends to be Christian so he can land the part of Jesus in their annual Passion Play and get to know the pastor's daughter, Kelly, (Johnson-Reyes), who is none-too-thrilled with his antics. Eventually, through the grace and kindness shown by the pastor, Kelly, and his co-workers, Gavin has a dramatic change of heart. In one particularly powerful scene, when Gavin expresses confusion over the grace and unconditional love he's been shown by the church, Kelly simply tells him, "This is what we do".
Kelly's answer "reflects what we're supposed to do the church," said Johnson-Reyes.
"I think sometimes maybe we don't get it right all the time in the church," she added. "But, it should be what we do is - welcome without judgement, love without condition, and forgive without limits."
In a separate interview with Fox News, Johnson-Reyes revealed that, despite being a Christian since a teen, she was reluctant to appear in faith-based films for years.
"Before I read the script [for 'Gavin Stone'], a producer reached out to me and asked if I was interested, and I said no because I didn't want to be known as a Christian actor," she explained. "And then I read the script, and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed how authentic it felt and thought I can get on board with this."
However, she admitted she has turned down many opportunities in the past because they conflicted with her beliefs.
"I live my life not to please my pastor or my church or fellow Christians," she said."I live my life according to my own convictions and morals and core values and principles and a lot of times that's not going to add up to other Christians."
You can read our review of "The Resurrection of Gavin Stone" here.