Discipleship Ministries Documentary wins Telly Award and Recognized by Film Festivals

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An Irish pastor living in Chemnitz, Germany, the center of the German neo-Nazi movement, helps transform a neighborhood and its people. That’s the story of the award-winning documentary short film, On The Brühl, produced by Discipleship Ministries, an international agency of The United Methodist Church.

The film follows Rev. Barry Sloan who started INSPIRE MINISTRIES in Chemnitz, Germany. It will challenge you and make you question everything your church is doing to engage your community.

The documentary follows Rev. Sloan, who is director of evangelism of the Germany Central Conference, who is building bridges and breaking down walls in Chemnitz, a city experiencing massive problems with racism and right-wing neo-Nazi politics and propaganda. The film shows how INSPIRE has helped transform a once delipidated neighborhood, where the population is estimated to be 90 percent atheist.

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“It's not just people who are disinterested in church. In many cases, it's also people who are very anti-church,” Sloan said. “Here, there are so many people who don't know the first thing about Christianity.”

INSPIRE is a “See All The People” ministry of the Germany Central Conference of The United Methodist Church. INSPIRE has been experimenting for over two years with new opportunities to serve people in Chemnitz. See All The People is a movement started by Discipleship Ministries. On The Brühl is available to view online here.

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Blake Davis

At the 40th annual Telly Awards, which honor excellence in video and television, the film won silver in the non-broadcast documentary short category. It is also a finalist in the CARE Awards film festival, and is an official selection at the Boomtown Film Festival, Inspired Faith Film Festival and the NYC Film Festival.

On The Brühl was directed by Steve Horswill-Johnston, Chief Communication Officer, and photographed by Blake Davis, AV Producer, of Discipleship Ministries. Andrew Jensen, who was with United Methodist Communications at the time of filming and now is with the General Board of Finance & Administration, was also a photographer on the project.

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Andrew Jensen

The ministry reaches out to people in its neighborhood with a radical form of inclusion that includes:

  • Whisky- and wine-tasting events that are a great foundation for conversation, building relationships and deepening friendships.
  • Special neighborhood brunches where everyone in the community is invited to attend and bring something to share
  • Singer-songwriter event called Music Mondays that has become one of the top music venues in the city
  • Ministries for refugees arriving in Germany, including a “One World” welcome café and a weekly homework club for children, helping them to adapt to German school life

“People from a traditional church environment ask, where is the spiritual formation taking place? And where are the worship services?” Sloan said. “I get that. I actually think that we are building community, doing life with these people – our friends and our neighbors – because Jesus is a part of my life. In everyday connections that we have, we just have an opportunity to worship, to serve, to bless and to be salt and light in this part of town.”

On The Brühl: https://bit.ly/30jH98o
See All The People: https://www.seeallthepeople.org/

The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.UMCdiscipleship.org, the Press Center at www.UMCdiscipleship.org/about/press-center or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.