NEWS from the National Council of Churches, USA
Contact NCC News Service: 212-870-2252  |  E-mail    |  Most Recent Stories   |  NCC Home

'Joy Dawned Again' on TV this Easter

Urge your ABC-TV affiliate to air this special broadcast

Cleveland, Ohio, March 21, 2007 "Joy Dawned Again," an Easter TV special, will air on many ABC-TV stations on or near Easter Sunday, April 8.

The hour-long special, produced for the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) by the United Church of Christ (UCC), was filmed on March 3 at Dover Congregational UCC in Westlake, Ohio. It included a diverse congregation comprised of Dover UCC members and others from across the UCC's 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 Jean Robinson, UCC video producer. "I've never had the experience of being in a church where everyone did that."

Video editors were finishing up production, before a final version makes its way to ABC-TV for the early April broadcast. Religious documentaries and specials air on the three major TV networks under an arrangement with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC) of which the NCC is a founding member.

"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."

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.

Seven years ago, the UCC produced a similar Easter morning special that aired on about 90 percent of ABC-TV stations, says the Rev. Robert Chase, the UCC's communications director and chair of the NCC's communication commission.

Chase said it's imperative for Christians across the country to contact their local ABC affiliate and urge station managers to pick up and air "Joy Dawned Again," which is available for ABC-TV affiliates.

"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.

While many network affiliates air the IBC-related programs at odd hours--such as late at night or early in the morning--some stations are likely to offer better time slots to those shows known to have a built-in local audience, Chase said.

"By contacting your station managers, you not only increase the likelihood that the UCC's Easter 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, Chase added, local churches can also promote the show within their congregations and communities.

J. Bennett Guess, news director, United Church of Christ, contributed to this story.
NCC News contact: Dan Webster, 212.870.2252, .


Return to NCC Home Page