We started praying for Summer of ’67 last summer while we were still in the early stages of scriptwriting. In August we created a Facebook prayer group of a hundred individuals specifically praying for the movie.  At the time, we had no idea how vital the group would prove to be.

Praying on set of Summer of '67

Casting is one of the most important aspects of filmmaking, one we take very seriously. Long before we began the actual casting process, the prayer group was praying for the cast. We began praying for God to bring us the right actors, then as the headshots and resumes poured in, we prayed over the submissions that He would make it clear exactly who to cast in each role. It was then with great confidence that we were able to send out the casting letters, knowing that God had put together just the right actors to bring our story to life.

I’m very thankful that we had all that advance prayer and support because on April 27, we received an email that would rock our world. Rachel Schrey, the very talented actress we’d chosen to play our leading lady, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our minds reeled, trying to take it all in. We were scheduled to start filming May 18. Rachel was in the majority of the scenes, almost every filming day. How could she possibly have surgery and immediately start filming? Would she be up to it physically? What about the emotional strain? This is a powerful movie that deals with life and death. Could she handle it without breaking down? What if, heaven forbid, something went wrong during the surgery? What if something happened and she started filming and was then unable to complete it? What would we do? Fortunately, as all those questions swirled in our heads, our hearts were at peace because we knew that Rachel was God’s choice for this role and He would handle all the details. So we trusted Him and continued on our journey.

Rachel Schrey and Sharonne Lanier on set of Summer of '67

Rachel’s surgery went smoothly and on May 18 she arrived on set ready to film. She didn’t want a fuss being made, so only the core cast and crew members knew about her condition. We were all prepared to take care of her on set, but from the beginning, the only real care she required was in getting dressed and doing her hair. Her only concern and complaint was that she was unable to pick up sweet little Tommy, her character’s toddler son. But we worked around her physical limitations and she gave her performances all she had to give. In between scenes, you might catch her resting on the couch and you could get a glimpse of the strain she was under, but once she stepped onto set, she threw it all aside and transformed to Milly, a young wife and mother. She made it through the entire filming process with the majority of the cast having no clue what she’d been through.

Summer of '67 actors Rachel Schrey, Cameron Gilliam, Bethany Davenport at the Historic Railway Museum

But now she’s left our world of make believe and has to face some harsh realities. The doctors are concerned about her age and the fact that she has no family history of breast cancer. So they’ve recommended extensive testing and treatments to avoid future occurrcnces. Since these procedures are not covered by insurance, they’ve set up a You Caring account.

Rachel has been such a blessing to us. Now I’d like to help bless her by sharing the word and hopefully helping her and her husband carry this heavy load. They’re just young newlyweds with such a sweet spirit. I know God has great things in store for them and that He will use all of this for His glory.

If you would like to support Rachel financially, visit her You Caring page. Thanks!


Summer of '67 Screenshot - Milly (Rachel Schrey) says goodbye to Gerald (Cameron Gilliam) as mother-in-law Joanna (Mimi Sagadin) waits in the background.


About the Author Sharon Wilharm

Christian women’s speaker, Sharon Wilharm, is a ministry leader, podcast host, and female filmmaker whose stories have impacted audiences around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Sharon draws the audience in with humor, engages them with stories, then ties everything together to bring to light spiritual truths. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women in their walk with the Lord, showing them how to find God’s will for their life through prayer and scripture. “God is the Master Storyteller,” says Sharon. “I love helping women see how God is always at work behind the scenes laying the foundation for the glorious future He has in store for us.” Sharon is a firm believer in the power of prayer and has many stories to share of God working in miraculous ways in her own life as well as those around her. She’s passionate about teaching women how to pray and loves engaging with women in personal prayer. Wherever she goes, she finds herself surrounded by women in need of prayer, and she considers it an honor to pray with women whether they’re friends, family, or complete strangers. Sharon has enjoyed a lifelong fascination with women of the Bible and loves applying the biblical stories to modern situations. She teaches a Women Through the Bible study at her church, applying the S.O.A.P. method of scripture study. She especially enjoys delving into lesser known women and discovering encouraging truths for women of today. She recently launched a new podcast where she works her way through the Bible sharing the stories of All God’s Women.

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