By Ed Groff
For nearly 17 years, Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Oregon, has produced the community television program Brethren Voices. It has been a way for Brethren from all parts of the nation to share their faith with others. In effect, it has become “Jesus in the neighborhood” for many communities around the country. Episodes have originated from 17 states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., and 8 countries.
Initially, Brethren Voices was a way to share with the community of Portland, where very few people had any understanding about the Church of the Brethren. Having some experience in video, I offered to produce a community television program. For less than $100, we became involved with MetroEast Community Media, the local community access television station. We received training about the equipment and the expectations of producing a monthly television program.
In July 2005, we produced our first 30-minute program titled “Honoring the Creation,” hosted by pastor Kerby Lauderdale. The program was broadcast in Portland three times during the month. One of the early programs featured Heifer International, and that Sunday a visiting couple came to church wondering how they could volunteer for Heifer.
Since then, the show has gone on to feature many well-known Brethren from across the denomination, ranging from musicians and composers to Annual Conference moderators to denominational staff to historical figures. Brent Carlson, a retired social worker and long-time member of Peace church, has served as host for more than 14 years.
Brethren Voices is now distributed to subscribers on DVDs, is posted on YouTube, and shown on community access television stations—numbering nearly 80 community stations around the country over the years. Some broadcast in small communities; others have a much bigger reach—like DATV in Dayton, Ohio, which has a viewership of several million people.
Recently, a milestone was reached with the 200th episode featuring Song and Story Fest musicians Mike Stern and Bill Jolliff in concert, supporting the World Friendship Center of Hiroshima, Japan.
Article courtesy of Messenger magazine. Subscribe to Messenger here!