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Sermonette

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Sermonette (i.e., a small sermon) is a generic term for short, locally-produced inspirational messages that were aired by many U.S. television stations during their sign-on and sign-off periods.

While some of these segments carried the actual program title of "Sermonette," there were a variety of names used by individual stations, such as "The Pastor's Corner," "Meditation," "Words of Inspiration" or the like.

Sermonettes were generally about three to five minutes in length, and featured religious clergy from churches in the local station's coverage area. Reflecting the majority religious faith in the U.S., the clergy involved were almost always Christian (Protestant or Roman Catholic), although in TV markets with a large Jewish population, a rabbi might occasionally be called upon. The segments were pre-taped for airing at their normally scheduled early morning or late night time slots.

Some stations also presented a nationally-distributed filmed or videotaped inspirational message, either in addition to, or replacing, local messages. One of these best-known national sermonettes was A Seed from the Sower, presented by Dr. Michael Guido. [1]

Along with films featuring the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner (the U.S. national anthem) and other patriotic or inspirational short features, sermonettes gradually disappeared from U.S. TV schedules as more and more stations switched to 24-hour programming, eliminating the classic sign-on and sign-off routines.

In the United Kingdom, similar short religious programs used to be broadcast at end of schedule, but were called "epilogues" rather than "sermonettes."

In the 1970s, comedian Chevy Chase delivered a parody sermonette as a regular on Saturday Night Live, speaking as the pastor of the "Church of Confusion".

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