This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Oklahoma Mennonites launch Mennonite radio program

Photo: Congregants at Joy Mennonite Church in Oklahoma City. (Photo by James Branum)

Joy Mennonite Church, a small congregation in Oklahoma City, has found a way to expand its reach exponentially. On Oct. 7, it launched Mennonite Radio, a twice-weekly radio broadcast committed to programming that emphasizes Jesus’ nonviolent teachings and a Christ-centered biblical lens.

James Branum, host of Mennonite Radio, is an avid listener of shortwave radio programming. Shortwave technology is built for broadcasting at a distance, and Branum found himself drawn in by diverse international programming from the British Broadcasting Network to Radio Havana Cuba and Radio New Zealand International. However, Branum found content from the United States lacking.

“Overseas listeners would understandably assume … that many Americans tend to be paranoid and mennoradiosquareafraid of the outside world, and especially people of other faiths and religions,” said Branum in an Oct. 9 email exchange. “To me it’s tragic that at this moment in history, with so much tension in the world, international listeners (particularly the many people in the third world who have no access to outside media beyond shortwave radio reception) are hearing such hostile programming from the USA.”

During one listening session, Branum discovered a station based in Monticello, Maine, that was selling air time for only $25 per hour to anyone “except those who advocate violence.” Branum, a part-time minister of peace and justice at Joy Mennonite and part-time attorney at the Center for Conscience in Action of Oklahoma City, an organization assisting military service members seeking an early discharge, approached church members with the idea of hosting a radio program, and Mennonite Radio was born.

Each week, Branum hopes to host two half-hour episodes featuring music, sermons and other content from the congregation as well as conversations and contributions from Mennonites across the country.

“I figure the best way to counter hateful or small-minded speech is to provide speech of my own,” said Branum. “I want to share from the unique Mennonite/Anabaptist perspective. I think our emphasis on orthopraxy (right action) is a very helpful [concept]. Jesus’ practical and earthy ethical teachings can make life better for all people, no matter what one might believe about God or religion.”

Branum uses his cell phone to record content and edits the program on his own computer. After the program is compiled and edited, he sends it to WBCQ in Maine for broadcast.

Although the program is still new, Branum is encouraged by the positive feedback he’s received from other Mennonites, especially young adults.

James Branum
James Branum

Branum hopes other Mennonites around the country will help spread the word about the show and consider sending in contributions: possible content could include sermons, lectures, essays, poetry, music (especially original music by Mennonites or on themes that resonate with Mennonites), recipes and tips for simple living.

Branum discovered the Mennonite church 10 years ago and was drawn to its focus on Jesus’ nonviolent teachings. He hopes listeners of Mennonite Radio will be similarly inspired.

“[The program is intended] to be evangelistic in the way of sharing the way of Jesus and the dream of a world that is not ruled by competition, greed, oppression and violence,” said Branum. “If we are looking for ‘converts,’ it is [for people] to be converted to living out the ideals of nonviolence, peace, social justice and equality to all.”

You can learn more about Mennonite Radio by visiting

Listen to Episode One now:

Anabaptist World

Anabaptist World Inc. (AW) is an independent journalistic ministry serving the global Anabaptist movement. We seek to inform, inspire and Read More

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