Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Common Ground at NRB

Pam and I drove from Michigan to Orlando, FL last week to attend the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. This is the annual gathering of Evangelical television and radio broadcasters and the ancillary suppliers and services that surround them.

Our interest was to get into the hands of the major TV outlets a screener copy of the Kensington-Nineveh's Crossing DVD Common Ground: What Protestants and Catholics Can Learn From Each Other. I wrote about this on this blog here.

I canvassed the exhibit area and met dozens of great people whose desire is to Evangelize the world. It's a goal that the Catholic Church has as well, but the only scheduled Catholic exhibitor, Priests for Life, didn't show.

At the back of the exhibit hall I found a modicum of Catholicism. Some inexpensive black and white copies of an article about Pope John Paul II, and pictures of a man kneeling before St. Peters in Vatican square, and a color image of the same man (and his wife) meeting John Paul II. Sitting behind the table was Rev. Martin Lombardo, an Evangelical-Pentecostal businessman from Boston, now a missionary, who moved to Rome after he retired from business, and has spent the past 12 years on his knees praying in front of the Vatican for the unity of the Church.

During his Roman tenure, where he still lives with Catherine his wife, Rev. Lombardo met with John Paul II and would occasionally get personal greetings from JPII’s secretary, even has he kneeled beneath the Pope's window, hands raised, praying in the spirit for the Catholic Church.

After telling me about his ministry, I told him about Common Ground. He was most interested, and so I gave him a screener copy. (see the next post for his reaction.)

I was also the messenger that revealed to him how the Catholic Church in Poland and the American Evangelical organization Campus Crusade for Christ, have been cooperating in the training and discipleship of priests (Karol Wotija had edited some of Campus Crusade's discipleship materials and used them to secretly train priests in mountain camps during the Communist rule in Poland) -- and how in 2006 at the request of, and under the umbrella of the Krakrow Archdiocese, there was a recent "Billy Graham style crusade" featuring Campus Crusade Evangelist Josh McDowell in which 4,000 came to make decisions to become Christians, or know Christ in a deeper way. Martin cried when he heard this. I should also say that Martin was one of the go-betweens to get Campus Crusade for Christ's Jesus Film in the hands of the Vatican, who later bought over 1,000,000 copies to distribute.

Over the next day and a half I was able to meet with the VP of Programming or Acquisition Director of 10 major Evangelical television outlets, including Trinity Broadcasting Network, NRB Network, LESEA Broadcasting, and Global Christian Network. I asked that they consider airing Common Ground, which I would make available to them for free, in exchange for an end credit that will drive viewers to our website to buy copies of the DVD or participate in dialogue.

I had been trying to get a copy of Common Ground to Pastor Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church in California, via my Writer-Producer Hollywood friend, Brian Bird. But Brian had been busy with his new partnership, Believe Pictures, with Michael Landon, Jr.and the release of their first of several films for Fox Faith. (Brian has had a long career writing and producing for broadcast television including a stint as Executive Producer-Writer for Touched By an Angel. ) Just as I was about to leave NRB I received an e-mail from Brian telling me to stick around, he was flying in for an evening meeting. The next morning he had breakfast with Pam and I. He gave me a screener copy of his latest film, The Last Sin Eater, and I gave him a couple of copies of Common Ground, one to share with Rick Warren.

On our way out of the restaurant, we passed a table at which were seated several of the principles of Metanoia Films, a new film company in Hollywood who are behind the award winning pro-life, mainstream film Bella, which won the audience prize at the Toronto Film Festival a few months back. I asked Brian if hew knew these guys -- he didn't -- so, I introduced Brian (a dedicated Evangelical filmmaker) to three very dedicated Catholic filmmakers: Leo Severino (producer), and Eduardo Verástegui (actor and producer), and Sean Wolfington (Executive Producer). Both Brian's new film company, Believe Pictures, and Metanoia are creating good films that are worthy of our attention. During our short conversation Sean asked Brian about the DVDs he was carrying, and Brian pitched Common Ground to Sean, and suddenly Sean and Leo wanted copies. So, Brian gave his to them, and later I retrieved the last two from our car's trunk. So, maybe Common Ground will soon be a major Hollywood movie. (Just kidding!)

As it turned out, Brian is good friends with another Hollywood Screenwriter and friend of mine, Douglas Lloyd McIntosh who recently moved back to St. Petersburg, FL to aid with his elderly mother. Pam and I were on our way to have lunch with Doug, so in the parking lot next to our car, Brian recorded an mpeg greeting to Doug on my tiny digital camera. A few hours later we were in St. Pete and I played the lilttle parking lot movie for Doug, who, like me, is continually amazed at technology. Doug, too has a couple new movies out, released through the Fox Faith effort, Love's Abiding Joy, and Love's Long Journey.

As if there wasn't e'nuff for us to do in Florida, we finally got to meet Canadian recording artist Lorraine Hartsook and her husband Larry. Nineveh's Crossing is selling all of Lorraine's CDs, and her Pro-Life DVD Bring That Child to Be. We had talked many times by phone and e-mail, but had never met. As it turns out, she was on a tour through the Southern U.S. and was going to be in Orlando when Pam and I were there. So, Lorraine and Larry came up to my nephew Bob's house where we enjoyed a beautiful dinner by Elizabeth, after which Lorraine sang a song for us she had just written and recorded in Nashville. Above, left to right: Bob, Elizabeth, Pam, Larry, & Lorraine.

Before we left Florida, Common Ground had one last stop. I spend every Friday morning on Sirius Radio 159: The Catholic Channel with Gus Lloyd talking about movies and my book The Moral Premise. But on that Wednesday, I went to Gus' home studio in Tampa to talk about the Common Ground DVD. Yes, Gus made us stand-up to do the interview. "It sounds better," he says. He's always talking about his wife, Michelle. She took a break from homescool teaching to let me get this picture in front of Gus' "studio" corner.

On our way back to Michigan we stopped in St. Clairsville, OH where we caught up with Tatiana Cameron, her husband-manager Matthew, cellist Janel Leppin and keyboardist-producer Denny Brochard (of Peter, Paul & Mary fame) who had just begun Tatiana's "I Thirst" Lenten tour. It was the first time Pam met Tatiana. Experiencing a Tatiana concert is a must for every Christian. Her voice is perfect and the music is astounding. Yes Nineveh's Crossing sells all of Tatiana's CD and her "I Thirst" DVD that includes a documentary about her life as a pop star in Croatia.

But we weren't done yet. The next morning Pam and I stopped by Dr. Ray Guarendi's house in North Canton, OH and recorded what will be his first Audio CD—
Dr. Ray Hams it up Hammerin' his Hammond. You ain't heard nothin' folks. Look (listen) for it soon. In the meantime buy Dr. Ray's great DVDs and Books .... on our website, of course. Most people don't know that this well known Catholic clinical psychologist, radio host, author, TV guest, and Catholic apologist worked his way through college and graduate school playing in night-clubs. (And to some He gives Gifts.) He played Sunday Mass, too, until he confused the two gigs, and the church fired him for one too many jazz riffs at the end of a hymn.

And yes, we finally got home.

No comments:

Post a Comment