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Television commercial to share hope in Christ with New Yorkers

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–A new television commercial produced by the North American Mission Board will point people in New York — and many areas of the rest of the country — to the hope found in Christ at Christmas.

Scheduled for broadcast Dec. 15-30 on cable television outlets in New York City, the spot is designed as a follow-up to ongoing Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts in the city, said Robert E. “Bob” Reccord, NAMB’s president.

“In a time when we have the uncertainties of war and a possible recession … we thought it would be good for Southern Baptists to remind the country there is hope, and this hope is found in Jesus Christ,” Reccord said.

The television campaign was the suggestion of several key pastors interested in the Southern Baptist response to the Sept. 11 attacks, Reccord said. There are corresponding plans to air the ad widely in other parts of the country, including New York State, central Florida and north Georgia.

Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., said he is working to have the spot aired locally and in other parts of the country.

“It is another extension of how we are making ourselves available to encourage with help and hope people in our community and state,” Welch said.

The spot, which opens with the question “What Will Become of This Child?” juxtaposes images of a newborn baby with images of the heroism and self-sacrifice that surrounded the terrorist attack in New York.

“Will his feet walk with others in times of trouble?” it asks, followed by shots of individuals helping others away from the disaster scene.

Similar cuts accompany the remaining questions:

“Will his lips speak words of kindness and encouragement? Will his arms embrace and comfort those in need? Will he see through the eyes of compassion? Will his ears hear the longing of people’s hearts?”

The last phrase, “Will he be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice?” is followed by a wider shot of the baby and his surroundings — now obviously Jesus in a manger.

The answer, in white text centered on a black background, is simply “Yes.”

The ad then closes with a striking image of the steel-beam cross that recovery workers found at the World Trade Center site, accompanied by the words, “Jesus Christ, the true hope of Christmas. A message from Southern Baptists.”

“It’s a reminder of the sacrifice Christ made, that he was willing to give up his life to others — using the analogy of the firefighters who were willing to do that at the World Trade Center,” Reccord said, adding that the agency hopes to follow up with a more evangelistically oriented spot next year that will include a telephone number for response.

The commercial, produced by NAMB’s FamilyNet subsidiary, follows a similar effort in late October in which a full-page ad in USA Today proclaimed, “There is Hope” through Jesus Christ.

The spot also has been made available to churches, state conventions, and associations for broadcast in their local areas, Reccord said. It is available for download in a computer video format suitable for display in churches and homes through the website www.namb.net/nycspot.

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  • James Dotson