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Pauley Perrette: Acting on Faith



She plays a scientist on the popular TV show "NCIS," but actress Pauley Perrette showed her spiritual side to us during a 2011 visit to her home church, Hollywood United Methodist in California.

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(Locator: Hollywood, California)

When I look at my life and my life has been CRAZY, crazy. I have had a crazy life. I feel that every day of my life, especially in my faith journey, it makes more and more sense to me that God's hand has been right there, all the time. Every move. Even the giant forks in the road that just seemed confusing to me, because I don't have all the information.

I was born down South and moved around all the time. I moved like 13 times growing up all over the South. Then, I went to school down South for undergraduate for sociology, psychology and criminal science. Then, I moved to Manhattan. I had started my Masters degree in criminology. And I was really broke, so I became a bartender. Then, when I was a bartender, this director started hiring me for films and commercials and music videos or whatever. One of the commercials I did got really big and somebody called me out to L.A. for the weekend. I booked a TV show the day I got out here.

There was a while there where I just had gone through a gap there where I felt like I didn't know how to pray, so I decided whenever I was going to pray, I would just say,'Thank you for everything and forgive me for everything.' I started doing it all the time 'Thank You for everything and forgive me for everything.' Then I started realizing what a colossal thing I was saying. Colossal. I'm saying thank you for EVERYthing not just the good stuff, the bad stuff too.

It's like a conversation, it really is. I'm like, 'Aww God, I got this going and this going on and whatever.' Sometimes it'll just be like a word that I'll get, like, 'Trust' or 'Not now' or something. That's how God's talking to me 'Okay, chill, chill, chill, chill, chill out, crazy kid, it's going to be fine.'

I have Romans 12:21 tattooed on my finger. It's, 'Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,' and that's been an incredible mantra for me. I'm very sensitive to cruelty and injustice and bad things that are happening in the world. It gave me my power back that mantra.

I hadn't been to church in a long time. It had nothing to do with my faith. My faith was always strong, but I just hadn't been in a church community and my real estate agent, years ago, was the happiest person I had ever met. I was having a really bad time in my life one time and I was like, I need to go to that church where that happy guy goes. And I walked into Hollywood United Methodist. It felt different than any church I had ever been in in my life. Every part of this church's DNA, every part of it, is about love and not judgment, complete acceptance, grace, forgiveness, and equality for everyone. And the faces at the church and in the congregation are every size and shape and color and type, everyone coming together here. And it's so beautiful and I thought, you know, I think that's what God wants Heaven to look like.

Being in a loving and accepting environment that is completely about my spirituality as well, and being able to talk to my pastor about everything, and not fearing judgment at all, it's a lifesaver, absolutely.


Pauley Perrette is the narrator of a TV special called "Killer in the Dark: An Extraordinary Effort to Combat Malaria." The program documents the daily struggle in Africa against malaria and highlights the work of Imagine No Malaria to wipe out the disease. The program is presented by the National Council of Churches under the auspices of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission and produced by United Methodist Communications.

This video was first published on June 2, 2011.