Written by Gregg Brekke
In this age of poverty, natural disasters and injustice, it's refreshing to be reminded that ordinary people still can make a difference in the world. That reminder comes in the form of a new documentary called "Connecting Threads."
The video is the latest documentary produced by the UCC, the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission and the National Council of Churches. It will debut on NBC TV stations nationwide starting on Oct. 5, 2008.
"Connecting Threads" takes viewers on a trip around the world to see how ordinary people are sharing their talents and time to join in partnership with others for a better world. With assistance from Global Ministries, the overseas ministry arm of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), they are truly making a difference in people's lives. Missionaries and volunteers travel abroad only by invitation from the countries. Their stories as partners in faith will warm your spirit and lift your heart.
"It's not often that we have an opportunity to take a trip around the world in less than an hour," says the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, head of the UCC's communication department. "'Connecting Threads' enables viewers to experience diverse people, landscapes and religious perspectives, while being reminded that the Christian faith, when at its best, is global in its reach and inclusive in its mission."
The documentary shows how Africans and Americans are working together to prevent more cases of AIDS in Africa. It highlights how young people living in Laos and India are learning the skills they need pull themselves, and their families out of poverty. It challenges perceptions and misconceptions about life in China and the Marshall Islands. It travels to Guatemala, Haiti and Chile to discover how dedicated Christians are striving to overcome adversity while celebrating their faith. And it explores how Global Ministries works in close partnership with ecumenical and interfaith partners in Palestine, Hungary, Turkey and Germany to heal the scars of war and prejudice.
"Watching "Connecting Threads" is a vibrant, fast-paced way to view the good news of mission projects all around the world," says Jan Aerie, a spokesperson for Global Ministries. "It brings the voices and lives of our global neighbor's right into our homes and hearts."
According to the director of the video, Jean Robinson, it took the UCC video crew three years to complete this documentary. "Traveling all over the globe and visiting some of the poorest communities in the world changed forever how I look at churches," Robinson said. "It was amazing to see how much good work is being done by compassionate missionaries and volunteers. The world would be poorer in spirit and compassion without assistance from ecumenical groups like Global Ministries."
In 2007, Global Ministries had a total of 147 missionaries serving in 44 countries, which included 69 fully supported missionaries, nine global mission interns (young adults ages 18-30), ten long-term volunteers (one year or more), and 59 overseas associates.
Several NBC owned and affiliated stations have committed to showing this documentary but scheduling for the release period is still open at many affiliates. Aerie encourages interested parties to contact their local NBC station manager prior to Oct. 5 and request that they broadcast "Connecting Threads." "The more we can do to advertise the documentary the better. NBC doesn't show any promos advertising the documentaries so it's up to us to spread the word."
For additional information, including NBC station contacts and an updated list of local broadcast dates and times, please visit <ucc.org/connecting-threads/>