Sept. 11, AIDS, Forgiveness, Christmas:
Themes of NCC-Related Programs
Set to Air on Major Broadcast Television Networks in December
November 21, 2001, NEW YORK CITY The Sept. 11 tragedies, AIDS in Africa and
America, the Christmas story, and the heartrending, difficult journey toward forgiveness
are the themes of four broadcast network television specials presented by or in
cooperation with the National Council of Churches and set to air in December.
Three were produced in cooperation with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC),
which includes the NCC, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Broadcast
Communications Group of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Jewish Theological
Seminary. The fourth, the NBC-TV Christmas
special, is presented by the NCC.
Because the participating groups rotate
their access to the network slots from year to year, it is unusual for four NCC programs
to appear in a single season, much less in a single month.
Dates indicated for each program are the
dates the networks will feed the specials to local affiliates. Each affiliate decides whether to air the special
and when. Requests from the viewing
public for stations to carry the special religious programs are helpful in encouraging
them to clear their schedules and to air the programs in popular viewing times, said
Dave Pomeroy (firstname.lastname@example.org), NCC
Director for Electronic Media.
Details on the four programs follow:
- Ngones Story: A Tale of Africas
Orphans, produced by United Methodist Communications for the National Council of
Churches, focuses on a teenager in Senegal whose father has died of AIDS and whose mother
is HIV-positive. The mother has kept the
nature of her illness from Ngone (not her real name) because of the stigma around AIDS in
Africa even in Senegal, one of the more enlightened countries on the continent in
controlling the disease.
Ngones Story is also about the strength and
spirit of the Senegalese family and the hope of Church World Services Moringa tree
project. While not a cure, the edible
products of this highly nutritious tree show promise for strengthening immunity.
Ngones story is paralleled by the plight of a Los
Angeles mother with AIDS who is struggling with how to tell her children about the nature
of her disease.
Jeneane Jones of United Methodist Communications is producer,
narrator and writer. The one-hour
Ngones Story is part of the Horizons of the Spirit series,
produced in cooperation with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission for NBC stations. The NBC-TV feed date is Nov. 28-29. Several stations will air Ngones
Story on Sunday, Dec. 2; some may choose to air it on Saturday, Dec. 1, World AIDS
Day. Check local listings for air date and
time in your area.
Toward Forgiveness is an hour-long documentary about families and
individuals facing anger and forgiveness in the face of violent or wrongful death,
near-death from racial injustice, terminal illness and other circumstances. Part of the Vision and Values series
and produced for the National Council of Churches by Mennonite Media, the documentary
powerfully demonstrates that those who are able to embark on a process toward forgiveness
though heartrending and difficult find it to be the path to inner healing.
Executive producers of Journey Toward Forgiveness
are Dave Pomeroy of the NCC and Burton Buller of Mennonite Media. Producer is Jerry L. Holsopple of Mennonite Media.
Denominational partners include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran
Church-Missouri Synod, United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United
Church of Christ, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Church of the Brethren and others.
The ABC-TV feed date is Dec. 2. Check local listings for local air date and time.
- The Greatest Gift, a Christmas special
produced for the National Council of Churches by the Seventh-day Adventist Church,
features Grammy Award-winning recording artist Sandy Patty, world-renowned vocal artist
Wintley Phipps, the Harlem Boys Choir and the Brocton Advent Childrens Choir,
with Christmas reflections by Rear Admiral Barry C. Black, Chief of Navy Chaplains. It will include a special retelling of the
Christmas Story by individuals affected by the Sept. 11 tragedies. The one-hour program will be fed to NBC-TV
stations on December 16 for airing during the Christmas season.
- Responding to Tragedy: Religion in a Time of
Terror is a CBS-produced interfaith discussion of religion and the terrorist
acts of Sept. 11, featuring National Council of Churches General Secretary Bob Edgar and
other panelists representing Muslim, Jewish, Catholic and Buddhist faith groups.
The religious leaders share their insights into how the world
has changed since Sept. 11 and what faith and faith groups can do to help one another in
this new time. The panel, moderated by Ted
Holmes, came together for taping at the American Bible Society.
Dr. Edgar calls for more interfaith conversation so that we
can learn more about one another, and urges justice but not vengeance. Rabbi James Rudin of the American Jewish Committee
picks up on this theme, saying that love (an important religious term) comes
out of justice. Religious leaders should not
be saying that the Sept. 11 events are unbelievable, he says, for after the
Holocaust we know that anything that is evil may be believable.
Dr. Elaine Pagels, professor of religion at Princeton
University, spoke of the ability of religions for self-correction; each faith tradition
will find ways to weed out extremism. Moreover,
we need to distinguish between fundamentalists and those who would do violence, says
Father Tom Reese of America magazine. Imam
Feisal Abdul Rauf of Al Farah Mosque in New York City notes that Sept. 11 prompted the
American Muslim community to look at their traditions both as Muslims and Americans. We must not perpetuate the cycle of anger, he
says, but rather respond out of the ethics of our own religious perspectives. Tibetan Buddhist monk Nicholas Vreeland pointed to
the letter sent to President Bush by the Dalai Lama, which said that violence will
only increase the cycle of violence."
This half-hour, CBS-TV Religion and Culture
special will be fed to local affiliates on December 16; check local listings for air date