People of Faith: Christianity in America is getting some local media attention these days. Wheaton College issued a news release this week. Also, Jane Charmelo, a reporter for the Lombardian, our home-town newspaper, ran the following piece in it’s February 15 issue.
‘People of Faith’ explores church history
- by Jane Charmelo, Lombardian and Villa Park Review Newspapers
A new DVD series has been released that takes a look at the history of the American church, produced by documentary videographer Tim Frakes.
“People of Faith: Christianity in America” is a six-part documentary that “takes a look at key themes, controversies and personages in the history of the American church,” he related in a press release.
Frakes described that the series runs over three hours in total length, and “is aimed at church-based adult education classes and small groups in an effort to promote both general knowledge about church history and discussion about the historic, contemporary and future role of the church in American culture and society.”
Frakes, a 18-year resident of Lombard, owns Tim Frakes Productions in Glen Ellyn, and is an award-winning videographer, video producer, script writer and editor. He is a 1984 graduate of Harding University, and his videos can be seen on major TV networks and have been distributed around the world on DVD. The Lombard resident has produced programs in 20 countries throughout Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Europe and the Middle East, as well as in the United States.
When asked how he got into video production, Frakes responded, “Back in high school in West Chicago, I worked for the West Chicago Press, a weekly local newspaper, and became fascinated with mass media.” “At Harding University, I enrolled in the school of journalism. They required spelling, so I moved to radio. Radio was fun, but television was even more enticing,” he continued, adding, “After college, I went to work for WCFC-TV 38, Channel 38, Chicago, and worked my way up the ladder to become a producer. The rest, [as] they say, is history.”
Frakes mentioned that from 1993-2007 he served as principal videographer for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and in 2007 launched Tim Frakes Productions, which “produces single camera documentary and image video for non-profit, faith-based, broadcast and corporate clients.”
He is also a contributing producer for “30 Good Minutes” on WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago.
Frakes said the “People of Faith” series was commissioned by the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, a center for research that also is a program at Wheaton College. It was founded in 1982 by evangelical historians and Wheaton College alumni Mark A. Noll and Nathan O. Hatch.
Frakes said the documentary was funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. an Indiana-based foundation established in 1937 by three members of the (Eli) Lilly family.
He outlined that the series is compiled of six programs, each of which addresses an aspect of the history of the American church, adding that it “tells the story in the American context and from the colonial period forward.”
Frakes said the project had been in the works for about five years, and he came on board about a year-and-a-half ago as producer, editor and director. The series was written by veteran author and executive producer Steve Rabey and Frakes was assisted by documentarian Paul Butler.
“Faith in the New World: From Monarchs to the Marketplace” is a basic historical overview of the church history, according to Frakes, and “Many Mansions” takes a look at the diversity within American Christianity.
“The Challenges of Change” examines the role of innovation in shaping the historic and contemporary church, Frakes highlighted, and “Homegrown Saints” tells the stories of 10 “important and historic” figures throughout the church history, such as John Hughes, Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Rev. Billy Graham, among others.
Lastly, “The Future of Faith” discusses current issues and future directions, Frakes added.
He said the documentary also includes interviews with over 30 scholars and church notables such as Noll, Martin Marty, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Jean Bethke Elshtain and R. Laurence Moore.
The final result, Frakes said modestly, is “a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of the history of American Christianity.”
As for the interviews with current church figures, “The scholarship is impeccable,” he added.
Frakes said he believes that “People of Faith” is meant to reach “a broad national audience,” adding that it is geared toward “educational and congregational settings [for] Christians of all stripes.” Frakes noted that the series, which includes study guides and support materials, is available through Vision Video at www.peopleoffaithseries.com. For more information on Tim Frakes Productions, visit his Web site at www.frakesproductions.com or on Twitter @timfrakes.