|Among the “Brethren Voices” shows available at www.YouTube.com/BrethrenVoices are (from top) an interview with Peggy Reiff Miller on the sea-going cowboys that helped get Heifer International off the ground during World War II; the music of Mutual Kumquat; and a remembrance of the suffering caused by the first use of nuclear weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.|
“The brothers and sisters in the faith that I’ve learned about through ‘Brethren Voices’ make me proud (in the humblest Brethren way) to be part of the Church of the Brethren!” says Melanie G. Snyder of Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.
What was meant to be a local community television program informing others about the Church of the Brethren has now taken on a much wider scope. In its 8th year of production, “Brethren Voices,” the community television program of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, is being broadcast in communities on the East Coast and West Coast and places in between.
Easy, a producer at CMTV Channel 14–the community access station of Spokane, Wash.–has taken “Brethren Voices” under his wing. After receiving copies of the show a few years ago, Easy told us that “Brethren Voices” should be on every community access station in the country. He really appreciated the appeal of a program promoting peace and justice with wonderful examples of community service.
As a result of his appreciation, Easy placed “Brethren Voices” on the website www.Pegmedia.org (PublicEducationGovernment). Community access cable television stations can now download the program from this site and broadcast it in their communities.
During the past two years, the program has been picked up by 12 to 14 stations in areas of the country where there are few or no Brethren congregations. Between six to eight community access stations in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont have been broadcasting “Brethren Voices.” Other stations in Alabama, Montana, California, and Illinois also have shown “Brethren Voices” in their communities.
To date, stations have downloaded various “Brethren Voices” programs just under 200 times. Church of the Brethren congregations could do the same thing by requesting the local access stations to broadcast “Brethren Voices.” The cost is 70 cents for each time the program is downloaded. Easy and “Brethren Voices” have paid this expense, amounting to about one-third of the cost of mailing copies by postal mail.
Since its beginnings, there have been Church of the Brethren congregations in Westminster, Md.; York, Pa.; Springfield, Ore.; La Verne, Calif.; and New Carlisle, Ohio, that have submitted “Brethren Voices” to their local community access stations. Many more Brethren congregations have community access stations in their areas who depend on viewers to request programing. Why not let others see what the Brethren are doing as a matter of their faith?
“Brethren Voices” also is receiving viewership on YouTube thanks to Adam Lohr of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. While presenting the premier showing of a “Brethren Voices” program concerning child slavery in the chocolate industry, Lohr, son of pastor Dennis Lohr, suggested that the show should be made available on YouTube. Adam said, “More youth would see the programs if they were on YouTube.”
A proposal of Adam’s idea was presented to the Peace Church of the Brethren board and by consensus we agreed to give it a try. There are now 25 “Brethren Voices” programs to be viewed on the channel at www.YouTube.com/Brethrenvoices . Now over 1,100 views of the channel have been made, of the various “Brethren Voices” programs that feature Annual Conference moderators, Brethren Disaster Ministries, Brethren Volunteer Service, New Community Project Learning Tours, and guests such as David Sollenberger and Wendy McFadden.
“Brethren Voices” has a mailing list of 40-plus congregations and individuals who each receive a DVD of the programs. Some congregations use the 30-minute productions as visual resources for Sunday School classes and worship services.
We’re currently working on program 92 featuring an interview with Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger. Another program in the works features Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse. Just completed is a program with pastor Audrey DeCoursey of Living Stream Church of the Brethren, the first online church plant of Pacific Northwest District.
— Ed Groff produces “Brethren Voices” on behalf of Portland Peace Church of the Brethren. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and samples of “Brethren Voices” programs.