United Methodist Church Opens Hearts, Minds, Doors in Lithuania

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United Methodist Communications
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Contact: Stephen Drachler
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August 10, 2006

United MethodistChurch Opens Hearts, Minds, Doors in Lithuania

NASHVILLE- A grant from United Methodist Communications has made it possible to bring the "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." media campaign to Lithuanian television.

The $15,554 grant-the first Igniting Ministry grant given to a church outside the U.S.-paid for nineteen 30-second commercial spots that aired on LIETUVOS TELEVISIO, the major television station in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian language commercials mark a new expansion of the advertising campaign into languages other than English. Commercials have been produced in Spanish and Korean for Spanish and Korean language audiences in the United States.

The television campaign was conducted in conjunction with an outreach evangelism project in Lithuaniato distribute brochures about The United Methodist Church to people across the country.

"My vision is that every Lithuanian deserves how to know God personally and to know something about our great church and where to find it," said the Rev. Herbert Lange, a missionary and retired minister serving in Lithuania. Lange is a native of Lithuaniawho later moved to Germany and then to the U.S., where he graduated from Asbury Seminaryin Wilmore, Ken., and was ordained as a pastor in The United Methodist Church.

Lange said that the Igniting Ministry commercials were "very relevant to the life of Lithuania." While the voices in the commercials had to be redubbed in the Lithuanian language, the images were felt to be appropriate to the culture. The commercials that were used were Advice, which asks viewers to renew forgotten relationships with each other and with God; Rain/Fence, which utilizes simple occurrences in our lives as reasons for people to pause and gain new perspectives;and A Thousand Hands, which reminds us "It takes more than a building to make a church. And it takes more than one hour on Sunday to understand why."

From July 24 to 29, United Methodists from churches all over Lithuaniacame to Vilnius, the capital city, to distribute brochures. Buses brought people from various cities to gather in the church, which is located above a car repair shop. The volunteers then went out in teams to selected areas and stood on the streets handing out more than 65,000 brochures. The television commercials ran concurrently during this time period.

The brochure distribution campaign was adopted by the Lithuanian Annual Conference as their evangelism outreach project for 2006-2007. They plan to do the same thing in other cities.

The UnitedMethodistChurch began its "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." advertising and welcoming campaign in 2001. United Methodist Communications offers $1 million in funding annually to local churches, districts and conferences to help expand a welcoming ministry through an advertising presence in their communities.

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