Looking to Flipping the switch to Personal Communication in 2021!

The story started in 1980 for what is known as Presbyterian Media Mission (PMM), a cooperative media ministry, indebted to Pittsburgh Presbytery who rallied: the Presbyteries of Redstone, Kiskiminetas, Upper Ohio Valley, Beaver-Butler, Washington, Shenango, West Virginia, Eastminster, and then The Synod of the Trinity to share in this unique opportunity to reach out to people and serve churches through the media for the last four decades. Passages Radio Shows featuring people sharing their stories of faith from all walks of life was the centerpiece to a number of different creative storytelling projects as an outreach to people beyond the churches four walls.

At the heart of every communication is a person. In this year of so much adversity and need for diversity we find that every church is back to being about the basic function of sharing the Word
in people staying connected as God’s people.

So the switch this year was flipped to have education, ministry and mission all turn to help people stay connected through a cross-section of traditional and non-traditional communication reaching more people for some churches than ever before in recent history.

There are two ways of proclaiming the Gospel through traditional and non-traditional media:

  • There is a time when the Church, in the name of the Gospel, speaks to/with the world about the church. This kind of communication is sermons, worship services, bible discussions and prayer.
  • Then there is when the Church, in the name of the Gospel, speaks to/with the world about the world. This programming suggests that the audience may not understand religious words and forms. This kind of communication addresses problems and issues which bring pain and suffering to the world (hunger, racism, environmental issues, etc).

The community of faith has no substitute. It is our understanding that there is no form of communication that can provide the complete faith experience like being God’s gathered people. “Where two or three are gathered I’ll be in your midst,” is what Jesus Christ taught us in the tapestry of faith wrapping our individual faith walk with a corporate journey we do together.

PMM began joining the information highway of life in using digital communication in 1997 as Paul modeled using the Romans highway system to take the Gospel to more people.

The combination of personal with traditional media is the order of the day! Each church finds that churches are as unique as individuals and that to do what the next church down the street is doing doesn’t work anymore. A custom approach to communicating for each congregation as the “mass” that once was associated with media is no longer there. Media on a personal level through social media has flipped us to a custom approach in reaching people because the phone is as common as a pencil or pen in communicating.

So Presbyterian Media Mission (PMM) is flipping the switch to help individuals and churches to move to a personal approach to sharing our stories of faith for a new day!

Thank you for forty years of supporting media ministry.

Gregg Hartung
PMM – Director


Missionary in Media Introduces Himself

Hi, my name is Rev. David Roberts and I will be bringing a new direction to PMM. In my senior year of High School, back in 1982, I first became involved with PMM. I met a wonderful visionary and pastor named Rev. Dennis Benson, and took a production class that taught how to produce media for the church. Hearing his vision for the church, sparked my imagination to see that the church was not something that occurred in a specific building or a specific denomination and was regulated to predefined ways of ministry. God and God’s church is much bigger than that!

I did not go straight into ministry. My initial studies were in music and technology. I caught the initial bug with programming the first home computers that were connected to the family TV and graduated to my first Apple II as soon as I could get one. I worked in technology and electronics for my first 40 years until I received a call to go from that world back into ministry.

My grandfather, and father were both Presbyterian pastors and my great grandfather was a Congregationalist pastor. As a PK, I grew up as part of the ministry as all our families do. When I turned 40, After a planning session with my wife Jamie, I left my job and went to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and got my M.Div., as I also was a student pastor of a small church in West Virginia. Meanwhile, I reconnected with PMM and met Gregg Hartung, and helped and learned from him as part of my seminary experience.

After graduation, I got an inner ear infection that made me temporarily lose most of my hearing. Being in a silent world for a few weeks took me to the Internet where I could communicate by text. My only daughter Molly, got me on a new new service called MySpace. From their I got into the beginnings of Internet gaming. As people who I played games with found out I was a pastor, I was amazed by the depth of questions they asked and the deep needs they had for answers I seemed to feel were very basic.

Eventually the people that owned and ran the game board I was on. Asked If I would start an Internet church. I replied that I had no idea what an Internet church would be, but if they built their vision of an internet church, I would be happy to spend my off evenings there as a resource and pastor. I expected a few isolated chats from time to time. What I got was 3000 visits the first week. It was then I learned the internet was a place God was sending me too.

Now, with Covid, many other pastors and churches have stumbled on the internet as not only a way to speak to their congregations at home. But, they also soon discover the huge numbers of people that are tuning in from all over the world. We as a church need to figure this out. We need a place where we can study, share experiences, discuss and learn. That will be the direction that will be added to what PMM is about to become.

So, that is who I am as one of those delightful stories Dennis would expose us to on Passages. I truly love and appreciate the entirety of PMM’s ministry and hope to see those ministries to continue to function. But I also know that we have a bright and essential ministry before us. I hope you will continue your love and support as we start being something new!

 


A Positive Step in dealing with an Addiction!

Today is drug take back day! It can be a big help to combat drug addiction.

Here is a link on more information about today.

Take Back Day

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and anonymous means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications.

Tri-State area Giant Eagle stores … take back boxes …

https://www.wtae.com/article/giant-eagle-drug-take-back-boxes-prescription-medications/27289680

Here are several addiction stories …

https://www.wtae.com/article/deputy-shares-heartbreaking-story-of-losing-his-only-child-to-drug-overdose/27269669

Local Butler County man shares his story of drug addiction …

A community remembers those who have died because of drug addiction.

State of Addiction: Heroin memorial gets attention in downtown Butler

It was once an empty lot.It is now a symbolic image of broken hearts and lost lives swept up by the heroin epidemic.On the corner of North Main Street and North Street sits the Overdose Memorial in downtown Butler.Eighty-six crosses are arranged symmetrically, each bearing a wreath and purple ribbon

Individuals are taking steps to speak to the addiction problems in our communities!


We pray for those going through the state of addiction and the families members, loved ones and friends who are there to love and care for them in getting better from this illness.

From your friends of Media Mission and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.


Explore Where God’s Power Can Take You …

Mars & Beyond – Vacation Bible School 2019

I had the joy in doing a greeting as the Mayor of Mars, PA on Saturday, March 23, which was New Year’s Day on the planet Mars, to kick-off unveiling at Unity Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh the new Mars & Beyond Vacation School Bible School materials 2019 to 85 people in attendance and at least 20 churches from the greater Pittsburgh area.

My welcome to the group was to share the medallion I received from NASA’s Chief Scientist Dr. Jim Green on Thursday, evening March 21 at the Mars, PA Blast-Off Dinner to begin the planet Mars new year celebration on earth. NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover medallion was minted using metal from this engineering test unit tee duct from the Mars Science Laboratory’s lower environmental control system.

Though primarily minted for NASA’s use, Winco (creator) has made some of the Mars Curiosity Rover medallions available to the public through select distributors. All to say that it was a real honor to receive this from NASA’s Chief Scientist as a gift Thursday.

It was great fun to work with the Cokesbury VBS staff and Rev. Dennis Molnar on presenting the opportunity of a creative VBS that allows for the sky as the limit for children to learn about faith and life.

https://www.concordiasupply.com/Vacation-Bible-School/VBS-2019-Themes/To-Mars-And-Beyond-VBS-2019-Cokesbury?gclid=CjwKCAjw-OHkBRBkEiwAoOZql4zXZc7RJU1mupRrn7zqeqwN2fRtZlUYRnxSvFxixOF01pfmOZv7CBoCIIIQAvD_BwE

Mars Exploration Celebration Days will be May 31 – June 2 in downtown Mars, PA, with a STEAM education event with NASA exhibits, drones, robots, and rockets to just name a few fun activities for children and youth.
http://marsnewyear.com/exhibits/

Mars New Year and VBS providing a gravity assist to inspire young people to explore Mars and the universe.

Stories from Presbyterian Media Mission about imagining our future as humans …

Ed Lindemann Director of Planning for Rockwell International and putting a man on the moon via Apollo Space Program audio clips about planning for the future ….

Planning for putting man on the moon …

The issue of hope is big regarding human history …

How do you hold on to hope when the future look bleak …

Here is hoping to a successful summer in space with VBS!

Mars Exploration Celebration Days May 31-June 2.

Apollo 11 – 50 Year Anniversary July 20th

 

Spaceship Square in Mars, PA 

 


Was it racism in the verdict of police officer shooting?

The wife of former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld burst into tears, shaking uncontrollably, when a jury announced Friday it had acquitted her husband of homicide. Meanwhile, the mother of Antwon Rose, who the officer fatally shot last summer, did not cry in the courtroom. Michelle Kenney later said she was disappointed in the verdict but not surprised.

Racism continues as a built-in part of the fabric of living in the U.S. today!

Pittsburgh’s Public Radio Station WESA has the story covered in the top four stories on their website this weekend. To read and listen click here https://www.wesa.fm/news

Let’s reflect on racism as it seems to be around every corner and swept just under the surface in every community.

Here are some voices expressing the various subtle and dynamic points of racism in the U.S.

Ashley asks that you walk in the shoes of a young black woman … listen to what she experiences as a college student. Listen to her story on Survivors …

Lafayette shares about racism and prejudice … the object of hatred because of color is just sheer ignorance. I confront that everyday as a black man. Listen to his story on Passages …

Children learn racism from adults. Lora helps to unpack racism from her life experience in being one of the elder’s of the community. Listen to her story on Passages …

Turning the other cheek is really tough to do when you are treated different because of your skin or race. Manuel explains what he did when confronting a racist situation. Listen his story on Survivors …

A little music to help us all to get to a better place! Click on the audio button below …

God’s love is big enough for us all!


Looking to the Future for Ireland …

What is going to happen in the near future for Ireland?

What is worrying the Irish in Britain about Brexit?
https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/abroad/what-is-worrying-the-irish-in-britain-about-brexit-1.3800293

With the UK possibly pulling out of the European union via Brexit there are a number of different possibilities for the isle.  Simon Coveney, Republic of Ireland minister for foreign affairs and trade, speaks with Jason Naselli about his government’s approach to the border, the Conservative/DUP deal and the ‘Brexit bill’.
https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/facing-brexit-ireland-northern-ireland-and-eu?gclid=CjwKCAjwvbLkBRBbEiwAChbckdui8gWo5D8PyZNGLxpWG4GegsqTL0wHZliPK6-Wv5DNiAQXO6rkRRoCOmAQAvD_BwE

Some stories of struggle and peace from the historic Catholic and Protestant communities viewpoints in regards to the socio-economic dynamics in the country.

Stories from Rev. Wilford and Father Tom …
Father Tom explains what it is like for some of the Catholic working class in Ireland …

Rev. Wilford Orr a Protestant leader shares about the insecurities felt in that community …

 

Brexit, what is the Irish backstop and why does it matter?

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/11/brexit-what-is-the-irish-backstop-and-why-does-it-matter.html
We pray for peace resolve in moving into the future for Ireland!


Johnnie Cash and the song “Hurt”

Reflections and thoughts on the song Hurt performed by Johnnie Cash …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg8xYSWOFR8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6klx6ViCYsw

Last interview with Johnnie Cash …  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1zRFnw4jOU

Nine Inch Nail “Hurt”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0bZtf5MCzY

Johnnie Cash “Hurt”

YouTube

Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

Music insight and reflections from you tube …


Celebrating Stories from Women

International Women’s Day

Here is a link for a special day of recognition and awareness …
https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Now some stories from 3-4 special women of various generations …

Looking back 91 years with Mavis an international labor leader, give a listen to her legacy … she is special. Click on the audio button below.

She is someone who found her way to an Olympic Gold Medal as part of the USA Women’s Basketball team. Click on the audio button below to hear Suzie’s story …

Thea looks to what she wants to do with her life on Survivors! Reflect on how Thea works through discerning her future with help from a teacher. Click on the audio below to listen to her story.

A woman who gives finds satisfaction in being a generous listener as she works with the poor in Harlan, KY. Click on the button below to hear Valerie’s story.

Celebrating women from all walks of life today!

Passages and Survivors Production Teams pray that all women are able to embrace a story of hope today that makes a difference for them the rest of their lives.


The Struggle for Victims of MS – Actress Selma Blair

March is MS Awareness Month
Find out more about this awareness month at https://mymsaa.org/ms-information/symptoms/?gclid=CjwKCAiA8OjjBRB4EiwAMZe6y-UNizNaFv2yqwAYGEqN6ql_iE_V64oiqsD89MqD3Zg2SYkCFOfiJBoCPN0QAvD_BwE

What is MS? https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS

Stories of MS

Actress Selma Blair interview with Robin Roberts on her fight against MS …
https://www.boston.com/news/celebs/2019/02/26/video-selma-blair-ms-diagnosis-gma-good-morning-america-interview

Audio Stories from PMM’s Passages from those living with MS …

Carol is a nurse and wonders what is wrong? Listen her story on discovering her having MS.

Carol knows that nothing can take the place of family and friends when dealing with MS. Listen to Carol’s reflection on her husband helping care for her …

The struggle with MS in a family can cause all kinds of hardships. To get help is the first step in healing relationships and to get to a better place. Listen to Randy who is recovering from drugs tell his family story.

Dorothy tells of her wondering, if her husband Dick, has a serious illness. Dick is finally diagnosed with MS.

Dick tells about his wife helping him deal with MS. Dorothy talks about staying married in the midst of struggling with Dick having MS.

We pray for all those people who are victims of MS!

“The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”  1 Corinthians 12:22 (NRSV)

 


“The Stench of Prison” …. Reflections from the late Chuck Colson

I was just out of technical school and working at WCBG 1590 AM Radio in Chambersburg, PA, recalling August 9, 1974 when then President Richard Nixon resigned from office, the first (and to date only) U.S. president ever to do so.  I remember NBC  Breaking news frequently interrupting local programming on what was happening in the nation’s capitol.  As a young DJ, I was a bit annoyed, wanting to just play music all night long.

The hearing in Washington D.C. with Michael Cohen being questioned by Senators brings back memories of my working on editing, a number of years later after being a young DJ, an interview that Dennis Benson did with White House conspirator Chuck Colson who pleaded guilty and went to prison.  Here is the Passages show featuring Colson telling about life in prison …

Executive Producer for Passages Dennis C. Benson wrote in a Facebook post in fall of 2018 about Colson ….

“Stench of Prison”

I am alone for breakfast in my usual booth. My news feed on my iPhone stuffs another criminal politician story into my conscience. Is it power that corrupts? Is it the money that blinds our leaders from being true to higher moral values?

A few years ago, I spent some time with a corrupt politician who found his way back to an ethical life.

“It was before Watergate really closed in on me. It was the realization that out of all the things I had done into life, the great American Dream, hadn’t provided fulfillment. I plead guilty. I went to prison right after I left the White House.”

“Went to prison. That’s a year after I had become a Christian. And as of those Nixon law and order men, I used to think of
prison as a place for criminals who belonged there.”

“I got to prison, and the first shock was seeing men around me who didn’t belong there. Men who were there for incredibly trivial mistakes.”

“And I saw a lot of human suffering, people who were forgotten. We started a little Bible study group when I was in prison. Men would come to us, night after night , and gave their lives to Christ. And I would see their lives changed, transformed.”

“So when I left prison, though I wanted to forget it, and put it behind me, because it is a horrid place, and I still had the stench of prison on my clothes, and I wanted to forget the place and I wanted to walk the fields, look at the birds, pick the flowers, and take some time with my family, but–I still couldn’t forget the men I left behind in prison.”

“So after wrestling with God for a year, I made the decision to go into the prison work full time. And now that’s where I spend my life.”

“I have been in more than 250 prisons since I got out myself. The amazing thing to me is that when I got to prison, there was a guy in the next bunk who was doing three years for a $3,000 tax aversion. And there was a kid across the way who cashed a bad check for $84 dollars!”

“There was another fellow there who killed 26 people. Here was a hit. You will find the whole range of people in prison. And it is one of the problems we have, one of the reasons we have not reformed the present system the way we ought.”

“We are very self righteous. We think that it is good enough. Those criminals have committed a crime, put them in there, and throw away the key and forget about it.”

“Those are our brothers and sisters. They hate people who have made a mistake, some of them for very minor mistakes.”

“Remember when Jesus was marched up that hill, to hang from the cross, he did as much for that man or woman in prison as he did for us.”

“Prisons do not rehabilitate. They don’t defer crime. We have more people in prison, and we have more crime. They are not working.”

“I almost feel like I am back in prison. I travel perhaps two weeks at a time. I am on the tail end of a two week trip right now.”

“Then I take two weeks to read and write. It’s really hard. Everyone thinks the Christian life is a bed of roses. It’s got its ups and downs. And sometimes you get out on the road, staying in second rate hotels.”

“Sometimes you get awful tired and awful weary and worn down. And I do. I used to feel self pity about it.”

“I don’t anymore because I realize that it is a great privilege to serve the Lord even though it is pretty exhausting.”

Chuck Colson died in 2012.

(© 1/6/13 by Dennis C. Benson 616 510 0873. All rights reserved.)

A reflection from what seems like just yesterday!