Endicott Parish Funds Radio Ministry
By Deborah Belonick
Each Sunday morning, hundreds of people in the Triple Cities area and beyond are exposed to the Orthodox Christian faith via a special project by SS Peter and Paul Orthodox Church. At 7:45 AM, for 15 minutes, “The Orthodox Christian Program” is broadcast by radio station WENE (1430AM). Sponsored by the Very Rev. Fr. Yaroslav Sudick, rector of SS Peter and Paul, and the parish itself, the program reaches a large population in the Endicott, Johnson City and Binghamton areas of New York weekly.
“Sometimes we Orthodox are too retiring about taking a chance,” said Fr. Yaroslav, referring to the development of the radio ministry. “But,” he continued, “people are paying attention to what we’re saying on the air.” Each program usually includes a sermonette, liturgical music, and a “word for the day” to familiarize people with the Orthodox faith and practice. He has found that co-workers of many parish members listen to the broadcast regularly and understand more about Orthodox Christianity as a result.
Development of the program required great effort not only on Fr. Yaroslav’s part but also on the part of the entire parish. First of all. Father is blessed with three parishioners with particular expertise in the area of radio programming who give of their time freely; Bill Dranchak, retired as an editor on the communications staff at IBM Endicott; David Dranchak, a former music major and now an electrical engineer; and Carl Wall, a manager at WENE, who was instrumental in providing the time slot for the program and continues to oversee the program in the WENE studio. The Dranchaks, through their company Billdran Enterprises, are responsible for producing the program. This production effort includes researching and writing the material, creating a manuscript on the company’s computer, recording the various program segments, and then putting all the parts together to create the master tape for the weekly broadcast. In addition. Bill acts as host on the program.
Secondly, the parish board has donated $3,000 for the purchase of equipment with which to produce the tapes. Father’s sermonettes are often recorded at the church with the balance of the recording and the creation of the master tape taking place at the Billdran studio, where an archival library of the tapes is maintained.
Finally, to meet the costs for one year, parishioners had a fund drive that netted $5,000. Also, money collected at the weekly coffee hour after church during the months of June, July, and August is earmarked for the program’s funding.
Through their commitment, Fr. Yaroslav, the staff of the Orthodox Christian Program, and the members of the parish are maintaining a ministry that reaches out to thousands of people each week.
Questions for Discussion:
1. What are the religious radio and TV offerings in your area? Are there any Orthodox programs?
2. What do you think would make an effective Orthodox radio (TV) program for local listeners?
3. Who are the people in your parish who would be good resources in finding out what possibilities there are for setting up an Orthodox radio (TV) ministry?
For further reading on this topic, see:
“A Radio Advertising Project,” Fr. D. Kovalak, vol. 4:2, 1985 (Witness & Mission)
“Public Access TV and Evangelism,” F. Davis, vol. 4:3, 1985 (Witness & Mission)
Deborah Belonick, a member of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, Binghamton. N.Y., is Associate Editor of Jacob’s Well, the NY-NJ Diocesan newspaper.