A river keeps running through it

a20river20runs20throughMaybe because of its impossible charm, it’s easy to forget that A River Runs Through It reflects a real life story.

Reminder of that fact was duly served at the weekend, when Missoula’s First Presbyterian Church held a memorial service to Rev. Joh Norman MacLean, the minister made straight-laced yet likeable in the film by Tom Skerritt (pictured right, here).

The service also honoured MacLean’s friend, AJ Gibson, the architect who designed the church and the story of the ceremony, as well as the story behind it, are given a fine nostalgic treatment by Missoulian reporter Jamie Kelly. Oh, that regional papers in the UK still had writers who could capture a mood half as well…

“…it has not one, but two pastors. The Rev. Dan Cravy and the Rev. Brian Marsh both came to Missoula in 2005, and became quite familiar with the church’s history, the man who occupied its pulpit from 1909 to 1925, and the literature his life inspired.

‘When I got here, I felt like the first thing I had to do was learn to fly fish,’ said Cravy, laughing.

He did. And so did co-pastor Marsh. Both men received plenty of instruction and advice from none other than their own literature-loving, fly-fishing flock.

‘Everybody helped me,’ said Marsh. ‘They love it. And they’re humble about it.'”

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