ABC-TV affiliates nationwide will have the opportunity to broadcast a one-hour United Methodist Christmas Eve special. “Rethink Christmas: Unwrap the Gift” invites viewers to take an hour from the hustle and bustle of the holidays to pause and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by unwrapping the gift of Christ. The special is part of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission’s ABC series “Visions and Values.”
The hour-long broadcast, which was produced by United Methodist Communications and taped at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, includes music, liturgical dance, a message by the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, and a special interpretation of the Walk to the Manger.
The 103-year-old Saint Mark United Methodist Church has a passionate music ministry, which offers an exciting praise, and worship experience. (Get a sneak peek here.) The music, featuring national recording artist Cynthia Wilson, features familiar Christmas hymns with a gospel twist.
The broadcast will also briefly highlight ways that Saint Mark is engaged in mission and community service. The church was chosen in part because the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission did a story on their health and dental clinic that serves more than 10,000 patients annually. While onsite at Saint Mark, they saw the energetic worship service and thought it would translate to the TV audience.
“It’s really getting people to rethink Christmas this year and sending a special message out to everyone to rethink things that you do and things you can share with the community,” said Felicia Rolfe, a program host. “It’s not just about gift giving and wanting gifts, but helping the community. What gifts do you have and how can you share them with the rest of the world?”
The theme of the Christmas special – “Rethink Christmas: Unwrap the Gift” – is connected to The United Methodist Church’s advertising messages that appear nationally across multiple distribution channels during the season of Advent which ask the question: “When did Christmas get so complicated?”. The messages encourage people to take the time to still the chaos, rethink the celebration, focus on comforting others and sharing the greatest gift of all.
Local ABC affiliates determine independently whether they will air the service and at what time. Check your local television listings for the Christmas Eve service or visit this link for a list of stations.
The Interfaith Broadcasting Commission is a cooperative venture of America’s Abrahamic faith communities – a broad coalition of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Jewish and Muslim organizations – established to provide faith-based documentaries and liturgical specials to ABC, NBC, and CBS television networks and their affiliated stations in every part of the nation.