Weaving Life tells how Dan Terry, a United Methodist who worked with numerous Mennonites through the years, wove relationships, joy, partnership and understanding into his lifelong work in Afghanistan. Terry, 64, was among 10 humanitarian aid workers assassinated in Afghanistan in August 2010.
Going against the grain of almost all conventional wisdom, the documentary shows how Terry set out to build bridges where “everyone else was blowing them up,” says production consultant and storyteller Jonathan Larson. “He spans the chasms of suspicion, religious hatred and outright warfare, with patient bonds of trust and openness.”
The production of this film was also a weaving together of opportunity, timing, and willing student production workers through Eastern Mennonite University’s visual and communication arts students, who worked on the documentary during the spring 2012 semester and first showed it during EMU’s graduation weekend in April.
Paulette Moore, media arts and peacebuilding professor at EMU who oversaw the 16 students who worked on the documentary, says they were drawn to the story because of Terry’s almost 40 years “devoted to the people, the culture, and the landscapes of Afghanistan.” The students were able to interview Terry’s wife and daughter extensively for the documentary.
Glen Lapp, EMU’s distinguished service award recipient in 2011, and Brian Carderelli, a videographer and resident of Harrisonburg, were among the 10 workers who were killed along with Terry. The team was returning to Kabul from a medical relief trip to northern Afghanistan when they were ambushed.
Larson, an international aid worker who first met Dan Terry as a student at Woodstock boarding school in northern India, tells much of Terry’s story in the film, and is the author of a forthcoming book, Making Friends among the Taliban: A Peacemaker’s Journey in Afghanistan (Herald Press, to be released Oct. 19, 2012).
“Every now and then, a story comes along that seems so improbable, that it causes us to stop and reconsider what we have taken to be settled issues,” says Larson.
MennoMedia, which produces documentaries through participation in the Electronic Programming Committee of the National Council of Churches, worked with EMU intern Justin Roth to complete the documentary to meet ABC-TV specifications for airing this fall.
To find out which ABC stations are planning to air the documentary, checkinterfaithbroadcasting.com/vv.
For information on encouraging a local ABC station to use the program, call Sheri Hartzler, electronic programming director at MennoMedia at 540-574-4487.