Inviting people to Christmas Eve services

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The folks at the Acts 8 Moment have developed a great short video to aid in your parish’s efforts to invite people to Christmas services.

This video is a gift to any congregation who might like to customize it with local Christmas Eve and Christmas Day service times and other information. Feel free to use it as you see fit. It’s royalty-free and ready for customization. Video file download instructions and other notes are available here:
If you have questions, please leave a comment on the Acts 8 website (link above). We at Acts 8 hope this helps you invite people to share in the abounding joy of God’s love for us in this Christmas season.
Additionally, Nurya Love Parish has posted  helpful step by step instructions on how to do the editing to customize the video for your congregation.
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Frank Logue
Guest

No problem David. I certainly counted on expectation to help that short hand holding clip to help carry the meaning of the words, which it evidently did. Thanks for caring.

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David Allen
Guest
David Allen

Thanks for the background on both videos.

Even though I know that you have said it's a mixed gender couple, when I watch the video and hear the voice-over, it still looks like two men holding hands! The power of expectation/suggestion.

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Frank Logue
Guest

I feel I need to set the record straight here. I am the sole video editor of both versions of the video. This was a collaborative project and I did not write the script and many other recorded audio and commented on visuals in drafts of the video, but I did all of the editing on both English and Spanish version.

Having completed the English language video, my colleagues in Acts 8 and I felt we should create a Spanish language version if possible. I asked fellow church planter Alex Montes-Vela and he and parishioners generously gave their time and talent to translation and recording audio. They were not otherwise involved in the production of the second video.

In response to understandable and appropriate calls for less "white" imagery, I began to make changes to the video while they worked on the audio. A key concern was making sure everything we used was with full permission so any congregation can use the video for free. The decision to cut the hand holding was mine. That clip was from videoblocks.com and in the full video, it is very clear the couple is heterosexual. I decided to drop the heterosexual couple holding hands as they looked Anglo to me and I was trying to make the video more fitting a Spanish language version. No comparable clip of Latinos was available, so I made the editing decision.

I do apologize if these practical concerns in cutting a white couple holding hands led to anyone feeling left out. But I did want to be clear that this was not an issue of Texas Episcopalians sanitizing a video, but a white southerner who speaks no Spanish trying to work quickly and at no cost in creating a free resource for Episcopalians with a Spanish language Christmas liturgy.

-Frank

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Miguel Rosada
Guest

Michael, I am not sure what in the world you are talking about. David, you started this line of comments, both here and at ACTS 8. I did not think it bizarre to say in both places where you gave your opinion to give mine. We are both Latinos and Episcopalians. No comments yet on the exclusion of families, NOT A ONE, in the English version of the video... It seems odd to me that it awakens none of your outrage nor embarrassment, nor seems to have been noticed by anyone else here! This has really been an exercise in futility, it seems words can be taken to mean anything and people are quick to take offense selectively. Feliz Navidad!

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David Allen
Guest
David Allen

Father Miguel, you're the only "Michael" who has commented in this thread, have you gotten confused that two different David's (David Allen & David Streever) have commented?

Yes, Padre, I made a simple observation in the Acts 8 Movement comments, the source story for Jon White's story here at The Lead, where I have made the same comment, that the Spanish version had been sanitized by removing the gay couple. Period. I had no intention of addressing more.

You have expended great energy to come up with excuses and rationale for the edit. And you propose to obfuscate my simple observation by trying to drag me into a conversation about other aspects of the original video. I have no horse in that race. I didn't sense an objective on the part of the creators of the original video to somehow exclude families; nuclear, extended, single, same or differently gendered parents, etc.

However, the fact that you have expressed the idea that it is OK as Episcopalians to throw gay & lesbian folks under the bus to facilitate reaching out to elderly Latinos because the majority of them don't approve of same gender couples/marriage appalls me.

Not to mention, well documented in polling, that folks 65 and older, the demographic you state that the Spanish version was aimed at, are the least likely to be tech savy enough to ever encounter that video inviting them to Christmas service.

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Miguel Rosada
Guest

David: The two people holding hands are not obviously identifiable as two men. You see it that way but others looking at it may not interpret it that way, why should they? Several people in my congregation who have watched it think it is a heterosexual couple. As it is, the English language version of the video excludes mixed gender families with children....not a one there! There is one Anglo appearing gentleman with a child who could be a gay dad I suppose, but not a mom, dad with children in sight! Should non gay Episcopalians in heterosexual relationships with children then be offended about that obvious exclusion? How about the very family oriented Latinos! The Spanish version is appropriate to that culture, like it or not! It is also appropriate for the intended audience; older Spanish speaking Latinos who are actually the more likely ones who may be looking for a church to attend on Christmas Eve! This may be irrelevant, but in that over 65 demographic Pew found that only 18% of Latinos favor gay marriage. Are we trying to make a point up front or attract people to Christ? It is he who changes minds and hearts! Feliz Navidad

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David Streever
Member
David Streever

Miguel:
What part of your Christianity refuses to challenge prejudice? I'm not sure that we should be watering down the Gospel to make it 'culturally acceptable'. I'm also confused about your assertion that people who speak Spanish from Latin America are uncomfortable with LGBT folks. Is that true for everyone? Do you think the video is solely for people from Latin America who speak Spanish, or is it possibly intended to be watched by anyone in the world who speaks Spanish? I am surprised that you would state that LGBT folk are unwelcome in Latin America, as I wasn't aware of a multi-nation statement or any other official condemnation.

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David Allen
Guest
David Allen

Padre, they may be generic to you, but as a gay man, I immediately saw it for what it was, two men walking and holding hands at the exact same time that I heard in the English voice over, "no matter whom you love." And I subconsciously knew in that brief moment that I was included in the welcome to Christmas Services.

It was profound enough that when I watched the Spanish version less than 5 minutes later, as I heard in Spanish, "it isn't important who you love," that I immediately noticed that the gay couple had been cut out of the video.

What I find bizarre is the amount of energy that you are expending trying to refute my casual observation that the video was sanitized of the gay couple, not just here at The Lead, but simultaneously at Acts 8 Movement as well.

I'm Latino, you don't need to lecture me about my culture thank you. As to which demographic of Latinos that you think the video was aimed, I'm so disgusted and embarrassed by what you have to say to the point that I can't waste time and energy addressing it. Suffice it to say it fully explains your comments in both forums.

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Pete Haynsworth
Guest
Pete Haynsworth

Good grief. Who says that it's gays holding hands? Maybe gay Episcopal warriors should be slamming the original video for that clearly ambivalent and insufficient 2 second clip. Is "No matter whom you love ..." a trademark of the gay movement?

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David Allen
Guest
David Allen

It's not a trademark, but that's the context in which it has been used by both Episcopalians and the United Church of Christ in recent history. Such that, most gay or lesbian folks would have seen the video clip for what it was in conjunction with the voice over and identified that they were included in the message.

That was the only part of that portion of the video that was altered, they cut out the gay folks.

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Miguel Rosada
Guest

Respectfully, my comments had nothing to do with Latino Churches being less welcome to LGBT persons or families. Our parish certainly is! However, is this video supposed to be an invitation for Episcopalians? If it is for the general public, the folks in Texas did a good job of using images which would be familiar and inviting to Latinos, specially in this season. The Spanish version of the video is different. It has some more colorful images of Mary and Jesus. It does replace the scene of two people ( not unequivocally two men) walking holding hands for an image of Los Tres Reyes Magos. There is also added images of a smiling family eating dinner with text about family and friends referencing the traditional Nochebuena celebrations. It ends with a woman and a child in a creche which evokes a posada or Pastorela Navideña which is missing in the English version. I had nothing to do with the edits, but find the Spanish version to be very nice, if inviting the unchurched Latinos to Christmas services is what we have in mind! Blessings to all.

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David Allen
Guest
David Allen

Actually Padre, they didn’t replace the video clip of two men holding hands with an image of the three kings, the image of the three kings is in the ORIGINAL English version. That entire section of the video in the English version, starting with the folks in the parade through to the image of the three kings, is in the Spanish version, except they cut out the two men holding hands. That is the only difference in that 15 second part of the video, between the English and the Spanish versions, they sanitized it by cutting out the two men holding hands while the voice-over says, “it’s not important who you love.”

As a gay, Latino Episcopalian/Anglican I find it insulting to have my brothers & sisters sanitized out of the video.

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Ann Fontaine
Member
Ann Fontaine

The Spanish speaking members of our church would be surprised to hear that "they don't welcome" - just not true.

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Miguel Rosada
Guest

Using culturally appropriate imagery to invite people who would not otherwise come to church is not called sanitizing, it is called welcoming and evangelizing!

Blessings

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David Streever
Member
David Streever

Miguel:
At question is a spanish language version of the video. So, are you saying that people who speak spanish don't welcome LGBT folk? All of them? Most of them? Can you point me to the Pew research study that supports your theory?

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David Allen
Guest
David Allen

I have no issue with "culturally appropriate imagery," but it's dishonest to claim that this video hasn't been sanitized. The Spanish voice over is word for word the same as the English and the video clips used in that portion of the video in the Spanish version remain unchanged, except the gay couple has been removed. So are we to believe by your weak attempt at an excuse that in the Latino parishes of the Episcopal Church we don't welcome GLBT folks, that they aren't "culturally appropriate"?

Let's run this by the folks over at the Integrity Facebook page and see how your explanation flies over there!

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Frank Logue
Guest

Thanks to the Rev. Alex Montes-Vela and the congregation of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Manor, Texas, a Spanish language version is now offered here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2LthacwyIA

With links to version to download and customize here:
http://www.acts8movement.org/spanish-language-christmas-ad/

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David Allen
Guest
David Allen

Sadly, the folks in Texas have sanitized the video. Even though the Spanish language voice-over still says "no matter whom you love," they have removed the video clip of the two men walking and holding hands! That small clip left no question as to who was meant to be included in the original video. That explicit message of welcome has now been diluted for Latino viewers.

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Philip B. Spivey
Guest
Philip B. Spivey

Hospitality at its best! Thank you.

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