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Karen Abercrombie of ‘War Room’ fame highlights foster care in ‘Eleanor’s Bench’

Karen Abercrombie, as Judge Eleanor Thomas in the new Affirm Films miniseries "Eleanor's Bench," influences the lives of inner-city youth on and off the bench.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (BP) – Karen Abercrombie, who stole hearts as prayer warrior Miss Clara in “War Room,” is known to a select few as “Mama Karen.” They are the 45 or so former foster children who have benefitted from Abercrombie’s care.

“We developed some deep relationships that we still have,” Abercrombie told Baptist Press.

Her current role in the Pure Flix miniseries “Eleanor’s Bench” brings to the screen the trials inner-city youth face when left without a home and is reminiscent of the love and care Abercrombie offered while fostering in upstate New York and Los Angeles.

The fictional, six-episode series from Affirm Films reminds Abercrombie of her childhood in Philadelphia, one of the reasons she fostered.

“At some point in my life it would have been great to have someone come in and take care of me and my brothers and sisters,” she said. She doesn’t share many details of her youth, other than that her mother struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction. “It wasn’t always bad.

“Just knowing firsthand, that desire, that need, and what love can do, so I wanted to pay that forward.”

In Eleanor’s Bench, Abercrombie plays judge Eleanor Thomas, a family court judge suffering a crisis of faith whose bench takes her back to her inner-city childhood home. Circumstances thrust her directly into the life of a deceased friend’s child.

Joining Abercrombie in the miniseries are T.C. Stallings, who played alongside her in War Room, and Cameron Arnett, memorable as the diabetic father in “Overcomer.”

The three stars believe the series will entertain while offering opportunities for personal growth.

“Just like Eleanor, no matter how far we’ve come in life, we’re called by God to put aside our achievements,” Arnett said, “to actually take on the weightier matters, which are the souls of other people.”

The series is more than a faith-based drama, the three believe, but is good entertainment that Christians and others can feel comfortable watching.

“When you’ve done 25 faith films, people think that’s what you chase,” Stallings said. “Eleanor’s Bench, for me, just did a good job of staying true to who God is, but it just doesn’t feel like they woke up one day and said let’s write a faith-based” film. “It’s a crime drama. It’s a series that doesn’t dishonor God.”

Eleanor’s Bench launched June 30 and is available at PureFlix.com.