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Common Ground: A Nation Under God

A Fennell Media Production

Common Ground: A Nation Under God is a documentary series that seeks to examine what unites and separates the American worship experience. The series will examine the spiritual spectrum of ordinances, beliefs, and practices of the myriad of denominational Christian faith and non-Christian faith groups throughout the county. The project will be a major undertaking, with an anticipated budget of $824,000 that includes pre and post production, and travel expenses for the five-part series. Currently in the project is in the pre-production phase; however, producer and director Arthur Fennell would like to begin the production phase of the project in mid to late 2017.

Christianity and non-Christian faiths together make up almost 80% of the religious beliefs within America. Specifically, the Pew Research Center for Religion and Public Life reports that Christianity makes up 70.6 or 71% of all religious groups in the United States.[1] This number contains a myriad of denominational groups like Baptists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Episcopalians, and Lutherans, to name a few. While doctrinal similarities exist, each one of these groups (an estimated 217) operate under various ordinances and ascribe to a specific form of worship that varies from the others. In addition, Jewish, Muslim, and other non-Christian faiths comprise of 5.9 or 6% of the United States population.[2] These statistics highlight one clear fact- that God and religion play a vital role in the lives of most Americans. However, these statistics also indicate that God is many things to many people and certainly not the same to all people. Herein, lies the premise and subject of this powerful and candid documentary series entitle, Common Ground: A Nation Under God- the similarities and differences of America’s worship experiences.

America’s concept of and belief in God has been portrayed countless times in Hollywood, and it is preached and proclaimed everyday all over the world. However, it is famed journalist and documentarian Art Fennell’s curiosity with how much America really knows, understands, and values about God that lays the foundation for this piece. His goal-from a laymen’s point of view, is to open the door and reveal what this nation truly believes, and for all intents and purposes, what it doesn’t. At its core, this groundbreaking and engaging documentary will perhaps better clarify America’s unique stance on spirituality.

Specifically, throughout this honest, researched-based journey viewers will gain a deeper understanding of the various religious cultures, myths, stereotypes and misconceptions. As it seeks to educate its audience, the series will examine the various doctrines of God, unique worship styles, and delve into the business of church leadership, management, and community based programmatic efforts that surround Christian and non-Christian groups alike. The series closes with insight from spiritual leaders and theologians on the arguments of good versus evil, heaven and hell, and of Utopia versus fire and brimstone as outlined in the book of Revelation. At the conclusion of the series, audiences will understand why weekly worship services from Sunday through Saturday are regarded as the most segregated experiences for a nation of believers who subscribe to unity and harmony of spirit.

[1] Wormald, Benjamin. “Religious Landscape Study.” Pew Research Centers Religion Public Life Project RSS. N.p., 11 May 2015. Web. 28. September. 2016. <>.

Associated Members

We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston Arts and Culture