The first ad will run during Newswatch 16 at approximetly 5:53 p.m. (the time may change by a few minutes), and again at 11:29, at the end of Newswatch 16.
Read more about the background of the project here.
"Over and over again, whenever we bring hope to where there was despair we are people who project God’s light into people’s lives. And so we live out God’s will that the world not be condemned but saved through Christ.
"When we give in to the temptation to make our relationship with God as a private thing, we are in fact succumbing to fear and choosing to live in darkness. But through our faith and baptisms, through our sacramental and community life, we live in the light. And that light transforms us and makes us whole.
"You all know that I am passionate about evangelism. I want the whole cosmos--and every person in it--to know the love and saving power of God in Christ. And Christians have been and always will be communicators. But as useful as they might be, cardboard signs at basketball games nor clever signs on buses nor all the clever ads and tracts in the world cannot communicate the substance of the Gospel. 'John 3:16' signs are a parody of themselves because they cannot substitute for a real relationship with a person who is living in the light. A person who dares to live in the light is willing to lovingly and honestly engage people who long for light in their lives."
The Good Things Are Happening in The Episcopal Church in Northeast Pennsylvania project involves the production of three 30-second spots to be utilized on WNEP TV in their Good Things Are Happening segments for one year (if we can afford to run the spots this long).As soon as the ads are available for posting on this blog, we will put it up. Stay tuned!
The spots help to reintroduce our population to The Episcopal Church in our area and reveal
We are on schedule to launch the spots the week before Palm Sunday. It's likely that the frequency of air time will be heavier before Easter and during the Easter Season, then lighter in the summer and heavier again during Back To School time and before Christmas.
- The Episcopal Church as a "sacramental" Church,
- The Episcopal Church as a "Church of diverse people involved in the life of their parish and the mission of the Church" and
- The Episcopal Church reaching out to one another and caring for neighbors in need".
The effort includes the use of a new "The Episcopal Church in Northeast Pennsylvania" logo that will be continuously displayed on WNEP's website. An inquirer will be able to click on our NEPA Episcopal logo on WNEP's site and will be linked to our new "common web page," www.nepaepiscopalchurch.org, which will be up and running in about one week.
This new site will display the names of all the parishes in the north and central region and more. A click on any parish name will take the inquirer diectly to the website of that parish. If a parish in the north and central region does not have a website, the link will take them to general information about the parish and the parish schedule. Various other links are on this site as well, including our diocesan and national websites. All of our parishes in The Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem can be easily found by an inquirer visiting www.nepaepiscopalchurch.org.
A copy of the new logo is available for your use in bulletins, parish publications, postings and newspaper print ads. The TV spots themselves will soon be available for use on your local parish website.
Now is the time to move forward with our parish welcoming efforts and connect our local parish evangelism efforts to a larger effort. Our population will be hearing the word "episcopal" and catching glimpses of who we are in a new way very soon. Please take advantage of this collaborative effort.
The key to success is not to use the material to appear to be cool and it certainly cannot be seen as a gimmick to fill pews with young people. For this to work, music and media clips must connect the content of Christianity with everyday concerns using idioms the audience is familiar with. Also, the preacher must be prepared for a more interactive experience: instead of the preacher simply speaking to a passive congregation, the preacher is presenting the sermon in an environment that will be a certain degree interactive. We must assume that the people we are meeting from the pulpit are willing and able to engage the content of the Christian faith.
Last Sunday, the first of Lent, Gardner preached to her mostly adolescent congregation about the challenges of forgiveness, projecting onto a large screen clips from YouTube of India.Arie singing "The Heart of the Matter," by Don Henley, as well as two clips from "Grey's Anatomy," in which Callie and George (played by Sara Ramirez and T.R. Knight) talk about whether she can forgive him for cheating on her. Gardner also aired a clip from "Good Will Hunting" in which a psychologist played by Robin Williams tries to persuade the genius MIT janitor played by Matt Damon that he is not to blame for being abused by his foster father; and a scene from "Ordinary People" in which a therapist played by Judd Hirsch tries to persuade a teen played by Timothy Hutton to forgive himself after surviving an accident in which his brother was killed and then attempting suicide."It allows me to speak to them in their own vernacular and it also allows me to expand the message of the Bible well past the four walls of our sanctuary," Gardner said. "The core concept is not to criticize contemporary culture but rather to highlight that messages we receive through everyday living in newspapers, music, and the like can help us find our way into living ethical, just, and compassionate lives."
Another key for multi-media to work in worship is comfort. Both the preacher and the congregation must be comfortable with the technology. The congregation must look past its presence to comprehend what is being communicated. The preacher must be at home enough so that she picks relevant choices, uses it well with a minimum of technical interuption (IE minimal stopping to set up and take down) and is practiced enough to put together the material smoothly.
Gardner is the chaplain for all Protestants, so some of the worshipers have previously experienced experimentation with technology in evangelical megachurches.
"Included in nearly every sermon at my church is a PowerPoint presentation which often incorporates scenes from movies or the news or television, etc.," said Rachel Coleman, a Baptist from Manchester, Maine. "While my own church's clips have never contained profanity, I do not think this detracted from the message; rather, it made it more pressing and real."
The most important lesson from Gardner's work is that whatever medium the preacher uses, the preacher must take her hearers seriously, assume that they are willing to engage the material, and that they are not willing to just passively take it but wish to engage in dialogue and do the work of integrating what they have learned into their living.
Others, particularly those from highly liturgical mainline Protestant denominations, have not previously seen multimedia worship services and some have no previous experience with church services of any kind.
"At first I thought the iSermons were going to be a little cheesy, just because trying to modernize things doesn't often work out well," said Kevin Ofori, a 17-year-old Episcopalian from Wooster, Ohio. "But after the first one I realized that Rev. Gardner wasn't just trying to connect with us by using modern lingo. She really knows how to use modern media to cement biblical virtues as relevant in our day and age."
Born in Puerto Rico, Mr. Grajales in Brooklyn and on Delancy Street and now lives in Flushing. His first job was a Grundig, a German maker of dictation machines; now, he repairs them at his Fulton Street shop, General Services Recording. He does not have an e-mail address.We may identify with his frustration with technology as it was...we may want to "leave well enough alone." We may love the old technology. We may even need to preserve it. But notice the choices Mr. Grajales makes by his choice of communications technology.
Since before Election Day, Washington pastors have been lining up to invite the first family into their flock, and outlets from PBS to the Wall Street Journal have taken their turn handicapping the many contending congregations. Despite all of this cajoling, the White House announced that the Obama family is still shopping for a church in Washington.Except for the special invitations and the presidential-scale press coverage, the Obamas' church search puts them in a situation a lot of American believers are well-acquainted with. One in seven adults changes churches each year, and another one in six attends a handful of churches on a rotating basis, according to the Barna Group, a marketing research firm that serves churches. Church shopping isn't a matter of merely changing congregations: Asurvey by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life last year indicated that 44 percent of American adults have left their first religious affiliation for another. "Constant movement characterizes the American religious marketplace," a survey summary said....
....Part of the discomfort with church shopping has to do with the way growing churches attempt to attract spiritual shoppers. That simple marquee in front of a church with the cheerfully homely motto ("Prevent truth decay: Brush up on your Bible") doesn't suffice to recruit worshippers. Web sites stream audio and video of sermons and music to let prospective members shop from home, and consultants help congregations market themselves to the "unchurched" and the merely unsatisfied by deploying focus groups, surveys, product giveaways (free church-branded Frisbees, anyone?), and other tactics borrowed from the commercial realm. The Wall Street Journal reported recently on churches employing mystery worshippers, "a new breed of church consultant," who covertly attend services and evaluate them (Were the bathrooms clean? Was the vibe friendly?) as if they were first-timers looking for a new church.
I make a distinction between three different kinds of consumerism. One is mainstream consumerism; the dominant hegemony that happens in our culture. Mainstream consumerism is mega. Walmart exemplifies this kind of consumerism, as does the mega-church. Boomer consumerism is mainstream consumerism.
Then you have counter consumerism, which is savviness. They are aware that Walmart and [Microsoft] Windows are trying to dominate, and they resist just like they resist mega-churches. But the odd thing is they’re no less consumers. They’re just counter consumers. A counter consumer buys Apple. It is absolutely consumer driven. They are consuming an identity that says we’re different; an alternative from the rest of you.
Church shopping, marketing, and the not-so-sanctified practices that go with them make easy targets for criticism. But competition among churches for worshippers has always been fierce in the United States, to the benefit of American religion and individual churchgoers. The prohibition against establishing an official state religion helped give us the shoppers' paradise that is our religious marketplace. Disestablishment (Massachusetts was the last state to cut ties to its official church, in 1833) meant that preachers had to learn to get along without support from the state. It made the ability to recruit and keep a flock—and get them to give generously—crucial to a church's survival.We live in a culture driven by consumerism. Even in hard times we are trained to comparison shop, wiegh and filter various marketing appeals for all kinds of things, and we take for granted a certain level of hucksterism that shows everywhere from billboards to the logos on our clothes. In this environment, it is easy to choose to ignore the reality all together (and risk becoming invisible) or to forget that marketing is only a tool for evangelism on the one hand, and to remember that consumer values are what shapes the decision making of many church visitors.
Santo Dios, tu Hijo nos llamó para cubrir el mundo entero con sus abrazo protector de salvación. Por tu Espíritu Santo danos compasión, propósito y energía para invitar a tu Iglesia a todos aquellos que todavía no conocen el poder transformador de tu amor. Pedimos esto en nombre de aquel que nos saco de la oscuridad a la luz, tu Hijo, nuestro Salvador Jesucristo. Amén.