The Hour began as a radio program in 1971. Reverend John McCay, serving as Superintendent of the Hattiesburg District of the United Methodist Church at that time, supervised the start-up of the half hour program dedicated to spreading the gospel. By 1975, the program was airing on 15 radio stations across Mississippi.
Executive Directors who followed McCay continued to expand the ministry to include what
is now a half hour television program, which is broadcast on 13 television stations throughout Mississippi and other states in the Southeast. TIME THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE currently reaches into an area of over 10 million homes with an ecumenical program of hope and encouragement. We have verified weekly viewership of tens of thousands of households.
Hosts have included John McCay, Wallace Roberts, Sam Morris, Kimberly Pace, Connie Shelton, Eddie Rester, Shane Stanford and Steve Casteel. The mainstay was Keith Tonkel, who brought the International Sunday School Lesson to the program for over 30 years. Keith also served Wells United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Watch Keith's Memorial Video here.
Over the years, The Hour has won broadcasting awards from Witnessing Through Media which has included Awards of Excellence for Best Video Programs, Best Radio Programs and more. At the 2006 Annual Meeting of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) The United Methodist Hour was recognized for outstanding work in broadcasting and received the highest award given, the Award of Excellence, for a radio episode of TIME THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE, best of division for the television/cable category. And a certificate of merit was awarded for the video production, “Remembering Katrina." Numerous awards and honors have continued to be garnered.
From the humble beginnings of The Hour, there has always been a spirit of love and a hunger for fulfilling God’s will in the life of this ministry. God has continually blessed this ministry, preparing it for and pushing it toward new goals. It is this spirit that makes The Hour’s history a special and meaningful one. The faith of men and women who pioneered a new kind of ministry in Mississippi and in Methodism, along with those who continue the tradition of ministry today, is what has made the difference.
The mission of The United Methodist Hour is to, through media and technology, proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and to resource the local church to live faithfully and boldly in the world.
Our core values are:
1. We believe in the Bible as the living, breathing Word of God in action.
2. We believe that faith in Christ is sufficient for transforming lives, both present
3. We believe in the promise and potential of the Local Church as the “hope of the world”
4. We believe in the medium of technology as a means for reaching the unchurched,
dischurched and under-resourced with hope and a future.
5. We believe in the “servant life” as the hands and feet of Christ.
6. We believe in the unconditional love and forgiveness of God and in our responsibility to
express that to the world.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
We are a television and online witness serving as an extension of the local church’s mission and ministry for the glory of God. We pledge unceasingly to seek higher standards of excellence in presenting the story of Jesus Christ with truth and clarity throughout the world so that “they may know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom God sent.” (John 17:3) In carrying out our mission we acknowledge the futility of human efforts without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
MISSISSIPPI ANNUAL CONFERENCE CONNECTION
The United Methodist Hour is an agency of The Mississippi United Methodist Conference. As a part of this connection, The Hour is thankful to receive about 10% of the yearly operating budget from conference apportionments. The Hour assists the conference in many ways including:
****Coverage of Conference business sessions and worship services during its annual meetings each year. The Hour coverage is projected onto video screens during the proceedings and is taped to provide video archives for conference libraries. Additionally, dvds are offered to anyone who may want a copy of worship services for their own library.
****Guest preaching by The Mississippi Conference Bishop on the program from time to time. This provides an avenue for the bishop to share words of faith with those who may not otherwise have that opportunity. Watch these programs on our viewer on the home page.
****The airing of United Methodist ministry ads during Time That Makes The Difference television programs. These are edited into our programs to offer another place that others may see how The United Methodist Church ministers to the world.The United Methodist Hour is thankful to be a part of reaching others through the work of The Mississippi United Methodist Conference.