Written by Daniel Hazard
Contacting station managers essential
A UCC-produced Easter TV special, will air on most ABC-TV stations on or near Easter Sunday, April 8.
The hour-long special, "Joy Dawned Again," was filmed on March 3 at Dover Congregational UCC in Westlake, Ohio, and included a diverse congregation comprised of UCC members from across the Western Reserve Association.
About 200 people, including a 35-member choir, took part in the filming, an experience described by many as transforming.
"Everyone just belted out the singing and the responses," said UCC video producer Jean Robinson. "I've never had the experience of being in a church where everyone did that."
The UCC's worship special focuses on a picturesque UCC congregation as it gathers on Easter Sunday morning. Before long, the worshipers experience the power of the resurrection in unexpected ways as current reality intersects with the ancient narrative.
"The whole experience actually worked as worship, and we did it all in one take," said the Rev. Cliff Aerie, the UCC's minister for special events, creativity and the arts. "People really did have a worshipful experience."
Seven years ago, the UCC produced a similar Easter special that aired on about 90 percent of ABC-TV stations, says the Rev. Robert Chase, the UCC's communications director.
Chase said it's imperative, however, that UCC members contact their local ABC affiliates and urge station managers to pick up and air "Joy Dawned Again," which is produced for the ABC-TV network through an arrangement with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC), of which the UCC is a longstanding participant.
"Historically, the liturgical programs have been picked up more broadly than the documentaries," said Chase, noting that, in October, the UCC-produced "Troubled Waters" documentary, hosted by UCC-member Lynn Redgrave, was shown by about 60 percent of ABC stations.
"By contacting station managers, you not only increase the likelihood that the service will be broadcast in your area," he said, "but you also increase the chance of getting a more-favorable time slot."
By confirming with station managers, churches can also promote the show within their congregations and communities.
An online study group related to the program will begin on Easter Sunday at the UCC's virtual community i.ucc.org
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