CROSSING OVER LINES THAT DIVIDE CHRISTIANS
SAT-7 ARABIC is producing a ground-breaking new talk show that demonstrates the unity Christian believers can find within diversity. By bringing leaders from different denominations together to discuss the common ground they share, Cross Over will encourage viewers to accept and love one another despite their differences.
In each 55-minute episode, a Protestant pastor and a church leader from a Catholic or Orthodox background come together in dialogue. Guided by Presenter Said Melki, the speakers explore the points of agreement between their traditions, including those found within wider topics on which they differ. In one episode of the 13-part series, the conversation will include a leader from the majority religion.
FINDING COMMON GROUND
Melki hopes that the show will help break down barriers between members of different denominations, some of whom may feel that their communities do not share a common background at all. “At this critical time for the Christians of the Middle East, we must open a line of communication between churches through dialogue and cooperation,” he said.
Instead of taking place in a studio, Cross Over’s episodes will be recorded in churches and monasteries. The subjects planned for discussion include prayer, the sacraments, mission work, and worship music. The show will also tackle wider topics, such as family, education, and the arts, as they relate to the Church.
ENGAGING VIEWERS, ENCOURAGING TOLERANCE
The show is aimed at viewers of all ages and backgrounds, including those who are not religious. Alongside the discussion, the episodes will feature short clips in which members of the public share their thoughts. Viewers will be invited to take part by responding on social media to a different discussion question each week. These will be provided a week in advance, giving viewers time to share their thoughts and comments so that they can form part of the next conversation.
As 2017 marks the 500-year anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Cross Over is being produced at a very timely moment. The program was partly inspired by the joint declaration signed by the heads of the Catholic and Lutheran Churches in Sweden in 2016. This landmark agreement stated that there is more that unites the two traditions than to divide them.
The team hope that by helping Christians to look beyond what separates them, the show will not only improve relationships between denominations but also encourage viewers to develop tolerant, accepting attitudes towards others in general. In these ways, Cross Over will contribute to SAT-7’s goal of helping build strong, peaceful societies in the Middle East.