littletown

Little Town of Bethlehem from EthnoGraphic Media (EGM) will be screened during the  Prepare Conference for new campus ministers, July 17-19. The conference, produced by the UMC General Board of Higher Education & Ministry, is specifically designed to serve those within their first five years of campus ministry. The conference will use Little Town as an example for how film can be used in campus ministry.

The United Methodist Campus Ministry Association (UMCMA) is an independent network of hundreds of United Methodist campus ministers reaching campus communities in creative ways. EGM will be hosting a workshop on film in campus ministry using award-winning Little Town of Bethlehem as an example. Vanderbilt University UMC chaplain Mark Forrester will be a featured presenter, along with other panelists. The workshop will take place on Thursday, July 21st.

According to EGM president Bill Oechsler, “We’re excited that the organizers of these faith events have selected this film for their training. Since its launching Little Town of Bethlehem last year it has proven a catalyst positive dialogue and action. I have seen firsthand the power of engagement at our screenings and we have tremendous feedback from both the audience and panelists.”

Little Town of Bethlehem was produced by Mart Green and directed by Jim Hanon. This full-length documentary shares the gripping story of three men—a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Christian, and an Israeli Jew—each born into violence but willing to risk everything to bring an end to violence in their lifetime. Little Town of Bethlehem was filmed on location in the West Bank, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem with the hope of bringing awareness to a growing nonviolent movement in the Holy Land that rarely, if ever, makes international headlines.

Sami Awad is a Palestinian Christian whose grandfather was killed in Jerusalem in 1948. Today he is the executive director of Holy Land Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes Palestinian independence through peaceful means. Yonatan Shapira is an Israeli Jew whose grandparents were Zionist settlers who witnessed the birth of the Israeli nation. Today he is an outspoken advocate for the nonviolent peace movement, both in his homeland and abroad. Ahmad Al’ Azzeh is a Palestinian Muslim who has lived his entire life in the Azzeh refugee camp in Bethlehem. Today, Ahmad heads the nonviolence program at Holy Land Trust, where he trains others in the methods of peaceful activism.

Award-winning director Jim Hanon describes the film’s unique perspective, “Little Town of Bethlehem doesn’t focus on who’s right or who’s wrong. Rather, it shows what it truly means and ultimately takes to love one’s enemies.” Images of men, women, and children standing firm in the face of overwhelming opposition are as inspirational as the words, thoughts, and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi that Sami, Yonatan, and Ahmad each recalled during filming. However, Little Town of Bethlehem doesn’t just inspire viewers. It also raises an important question—“Might love be the greatest weapon of all?” Watch the trailer at http://littletownofbethlehem.org.

EthnoGraphic Media (EGM) is an educational non-profit (501c3) organization that explores the critical issues of our time. As a community of artists and filmmakers, EGM uses media to tell true stories of hope and compassion in the midst of suffering and strife. EGM believes that gaining a deeper understanding of the human condition inspires positive action. Recent projects include Little Town of Bethlehem, Miss HIV, and The Grandfathers as well as bestsellers End of the Spear and Beyond the Gates.

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