The films of Urbana ’81—global in scope, and both a treat and a burden for the missions minded—are for rent.

At first glance, the assembly hall looked like a giant flying saucer that had made a forced landing on the frigid wastelands of a remote galaxie conceived by George Lucas. Sparkling diamonds of light reflected off silvery sleeves of ice on trees and shrubs, adding to the fantasy-like atmosphere. Yet the drama here did not take place astride a tauntaun, or inside an imperial snow walker on the remote planet of Noth. Rather, it occurred at the 1981 version of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana Missionary Convention.

Though no reruns will appear on network television or HBO, and though the stirring addresses, workshops, and intense Bible studies and discussions with missionaries and missions representatives have faded into the memories of 15,000 students, IVCF staff, and missionaries, one aspect of Urbana ’81 will continue just as it was first presented in the circular assembly hall. To Every People, a series of four films ranging from 10 to 14 minutes in length, left a powerful impression on delegates. It related the Christian mandate to tribal, Hindu, Muslim, and Chinese worlds, capturing the essential flavor of Urbana ’81.

Produced by Twentyonehundred Productions, the multimedia arm of IVCF (233 Langdon, Madison, Wis. 53703), the films are a gourmet feast, offering an overview of the history, cultural distinctives, past contact with Christianity, and current opportunities for presenting the gospel to unreached peoples. Using well-edited footage from sources as diverse as the Hearst News Service Archives and the University of Wisconsin Film Library, along with the best of evangelical cinematographic resources, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.