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Thursday, July 08, 2010


T2T e-mail for July 8, 2010

I send occasional e-mails to Odyssey members and friends and call them from "Time to Time" or "T2T" for short. Here is one I sent today:


It is HOT in New York city this week and we have lots of "hot" news for you!

If you go to Odyssey’s website (www.odysseynetworks.org) today, you will see the first of our three video news pieces on “Faith at the Gulf,” shot at the recent 60th anniversary conference of “Fellowship in Prayer” (www.fellowshipinprayer.org). Today’s (Thursday’s) features Father Edward Beck (ABC News) and Fellowship in Prayer executive director Janet Haag. The second segment will be up on our site late tomorrow (Friday). It will feature Gustav Niebuhr (now a professor at Syracuse University, formerly at the New York Times) and Jan DePinto, a Sufi Muslim. The third segment will be on our site sometime on Monday. It includes “Faith at the Gulf” reflections by Sohaib Sultan (Muslim Chaplain, Princeton University) and Heena Reiter, a rabbinic student. These are the fine work of our summer volunteer editor, Ester Villanueva, and our summer videographer staffer, Torrey Townsend.

Then, next Thursday, July 15, you will see the first of Torrey’s video segments from his work for us along the Gulf coast of Mississippi where he is taping this week. Torrey is connecting with people of faith who are active in the Gulf oil spill cleanup and relief.

Torrey’s earlier piece for us on “Prayer in the 21st century,” is no longer on the front page of our website, but is still up on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj80E4XiNYU .

And, by July’s end, “Odyssey – Call on Faith,” our new app (mobile channel) for smart phones will be up and running for our “soft” launch. You can view the “Call on Faith” promo PSA now online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suG7UvXrAOg but the Call on Faith website mentioned at the end of that video is not yet active.

Thus, as you can see, our summer is busy and flying by here at Odyssey Networks!

We are also getting ready for September:

· “A Million Minutes for Peace-a multi-faith movement… mobilizing the power of prayer,” in collaboration with the United Nations, is our initiative aiming to obtain 1 million people to pledge one minute of prayer for peace on September 21st, the International Day of Peace. Check out the special “micro site” for this effort at http://www.amillionminutesforpeace.org/ . There you will find our updated PSAs (English & Spanish versions) and the first of our “Prayer Wall” prayer videos.

· September also brings Odyssey’s cause work on Addiction. We’ve partnered with SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to promote National Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month – September, 2010. Our PSA promotes Recovery Month’s 1000+ events nationwide. Also beginning in September, we’ll be promoting eight free one-day interfaith workshops for clergy to be held across the country. Stay tuned for more information.

· And, of course, September is the month for our Odyssey annual member gathering, September 27 – 30. We now have a location for this gathering, the Hilton Hotel in Silver Springs, Maryland (3 blocks from the DC Metro red line Silver Springs’ stop) and a good price (for Washington) of $189/night. Please plan to attend. You will want to arrive no later than Monday afternoon, September 27, and plan your return home for anytime on Thursday, September 30. A pre-event producer’s retreat will take place at the hotel on Monday afternoon, September 27, beginning at 1:00 p.m. We are pleased to be hosting this event with the National Council of Churches Communication Commission. Many more details coming soon.

Nick Stuart and I are traveling to Chicago next week to meet with a new Odyssey Board of Trustees nominee, Bishop Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl. While we are there we are hosting a luncheon meeting with ten Odyssey members in the Chicago area.

I hope your summer includes some time for rest and relaxation.


PS: Back in May I preached at my home congregation, Atonement Lutheran Church in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, on "Tolerance" and my sermon became the topic of a column in the Reading, Pennsylvania newspaper, the Reading Eagle/Times. You can read John Smith's column, "Tolerance is narrow path Bible advocates" online at http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=230675