The Rev. Thomas Warren. Photo provided
The Rev. Thomas Warren acknowledges that he didn't know much about "Day 1" – the national weekly radio program produced by the Alliance for Christian Media – until he received a phone call asking him to be a part of it.
"What I think is so valuable about it is that it's one of the very few – if not the only – progressive Christian radio voices out there today," says Warren, pastor of Pleasant Hill (Tenn.) Community UCC. His opportunity to record a sermon for "Day 1" resulted from a conversation between program producer Peter Wallace and Tim Downs, UCC Southeast Conference minister.
"Tim recommended me, and that's how it got started," says Warren, who taped the sermon in June.
The web release of Warren's sermon occurred at midnight Sept. 21; the radio air date is Sept. 26. "I won't be listening at midnight," says Warren with a laugh, "but I'll listen to it the next day."
Warren's first foray into radio will go out to more than 200 affiliates, including several overseas. The half-hour program will comprise a brief background interview of Warren, the 15-minute sermon and a follow-up.
Preaching from the lectionary text for Sept. 26, his sermon, titled "When Battered and Besieged . . . Buy," focuses on Jeremiah 32. In that passage, the prophet Jeremiah buys property in the midst of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
"The people who have Jeremiah as their prophet, the people who have Jesus as their Savior, the people who know that the God of the Bible is the source of their lives, these people do not live lives of despair, denial or hedonism," says Warren. "They live lives of radical hope."
Warren graduated from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., in 1988 with a major in English and a minor in sociology. After working as an alcohol and drug counselor, he moved in 1989 to Tampa, Fla., where he earned a master's in sociology at the University of South Florida. Warren became involved in First United Church (UCC) of Tampa and sensed a call to ministry.
He has also served St. Paul's UCC in New Orleans, which was his first charge after graduating in 1996 from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.
"Day 1" – formerly known as "The Protestant Hour" – is celebrating 65 years of weekly broadcasts. It is produced in association with the UCC, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Methodist Church.
The program has received numerous awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award and the Communicators' Award for Excellence in inspirational radio.
"This is a mainline Protestant voice," says Warren. "I hope people start listening to it more, because it's excellent."
For more information, call 888-411-3291 or visit <day1.org>.