Come Sunday Morning (synopsis)

By Terry Hill

Hezekiah T. Cleveland is the young, handsome and charismatic pastor of the mega church New Testament Cathedral in Los Angeles. He is married to Reverend Samantha Cleveland a beautiful, sensuous, ambitious, and equally charismatic minister.  Samantha is the power behind Hezekiah and New Testament Cathedral. She runs the church and their national television ministry from behind the scenes with a firm, and often cruel, iron fist. Together they are building a new 20,000 seat mega church.

Hezekiah meets a handsome and passionate social worker, named Danny St. John, who works with the homeless.  Hezekiah and Danny fall in love and over the course of a year they struggle to keep their affair a secret.  Hezekiah alone grapples with the conflict between the dogma of his religious convictions and his love for a man. One year into their affair Hezekiah comes to the conclusion that he must choose between Danny and his wife Samantha.

Samantha has grown bitter and resentful of living in Hezekiah’s shadow. She views him as the man who stands between her and the absolute she power desperately craves. She decides to take over the New Testament Cathedral and rid herself of Hezekiah permanently.  She seduces and conspires with Hezekiah’s nemesis, Reverend Willie Mitchell. Together they conclude that Hezekiah must be killed.

Cynthia Pryce, the wife of the Assistant Pastor, Percy Pryce, learns of Hezekiah’s homosexual affair. She gives evidence of the affair to Lance Savage, a hardnosed reporter for the Los Angeles Chronicle. Her desire is to force Hezekiah to resign, so her that husband, Percy Pryce can become pastor of New Testament. Cynthia’s jealousy of the Clevelands and greed motivates her to do whatever it takes to ensure that her husband becomes the next pastor of the New Testament Cathedral, and that she becomes as rich and famous as Samantha Cleveland. Lance pursues the story relentlessly and writes an article that he feels will either give him a national reputation as a investigative reporter who toppled a national televangelist or to make him a rich man by blackmailing Hezekiah.

Samantha is devastated and humiliated when she learns of Hezekiah’s affair with Danny. She also fears he will announce publicly that he is leaving her, before he is killed and ruin her hopes of taking over their multi-million dollar empire. As a result she accelerates the assassination plan and decides that he must be killed on Sunday morning while he is delivering the sermon.

During the Sunday morning sermon in which Hezekiah is about to reveal the double life that he has been living, a shot rings out in the cavernous New Testament Cathedral sanctuary. Hezekiah is killed in front of a live television audience and the shocked members of his congregation.  During the pandemonium, Samantha Cleveland skillfully portrays the role of a shocked, frightened and bereaved wife.

After much behind the scenes manipulations and politics, Samantha is installed as the Pastor of New Testament Cathedral. She is praised and embraced by the congregation members as the selfless, God fearing woman, who, despite her tragic loss and through her grief, places the goals of the ministry and the spiritual well-being of those in need before her own.

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