More than 180 Seventh-day Adventist communicators met in Bucharest, Romania, for the 2022 Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN Europe) gathering on October 14-18, 2022. The “Forward: Keep Moving” event gathered communication leaders and experts from 35 countries, all of whom work in Adventist journalism, radio, TV, and social media.
Most of the communicators who registered for GAiN Europe serve in the Adventist Church’s Inter-European Division (EUD) and Trans-European Division (TED) regions. Some participants, however, came from as far as French Polynesia, Mongolia, and Mexico, leaders said. A group of Ukrainian Adventist communicators also drove for hours in a van to attend the gathering.
The organizational team consisted of the EUD and TED communications departments, the technical and management staff of HopeMedia Europe, the communications leadership of the Romanian Union, and a highly efficient technical staff.
The work was efficient and synergistic, coordinated by the communication directors Paulo Macedo of the EUD, and David Neal of the TED. They were joined by Klaus Popa, president of HopeMedia Europe, and Dragos Musat, communication director of the Romanian Union.
Also noteworthy was the remarkable contribution of Corrado Cozzi, former EUD communication director. He was invited by Macedo, who presented an award of recognition to his predecessor.
Neal virtually presented a recognition award to his predecessor, Victor Hulbert via Zoom.
Hulbert, who has been ill for a number of years, said an emotional goodbye to GAiN 2022 participants, recalling with nostalgia the work he had done with his colleague Cozzi in previous years.
The event was marked by great and deep emotions for example, when welcoming the group of participants from Ukraine. As is well known, Ukraine has been the scene of a bloody war since February; one that is creating death, pain, and destruction, resulting in global effects. After greeting the Ukrainian participants with warm applause, the organizers invited SeongJun Byun, the communication director of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, to pray for peace in Ukraine. It was a very touching moment that moved many of those present.
“Our house was damaged when some bombs fell on our city,” shared a member of the delegation. “We were so afraid, but the Lord helped us escape and find refuge with the whole family in Germany. Now we just have to pray for those who remained in our land … and the extraordinary thing is that Ukrainians and Russians are praying together in our new church on German soil,” he concluded.
Motivational input from the General Conference
Participants also enjoyed a video contribution from Williams Costa, the director of global communications. Costa emphasized the importance of strategic collaboration in communications among the various regions of our global church.
Particularly inspiring were the meditations by Bill Knott, historical editor of Adventist Review. Knott delved into the theme of Adventist identity, which “cannot be separated from an intense love of neighbor.” With his evocative and sometimes poetic eloquence, Knott identified Adventist identity as a ‘journey beginning with Creation and ending with the return of Christ’ in the Bible.
The Intensive Program
GAiN’s program featured numerous workshops, case studies and discussions, led by experienced communicators from different areas of the church and the communications world. The common goal was to explore how best to communicate the gospel in today’s complex world – that is, how to unite communications with mission, since communication in the Adventist Church exists precisely to support the Church’s mission.
The chaplain for the event was Simret Mahary, an expert in the field of cross-cultural relations, and pastor of the Frankfurt Central Church, in Germany. He is also the founder of PRESENCE kulturlounge, a cultural center in Frankfurt, which offers a variety of cultural, spiritual and life-related activities. Mahary emphasized how the journey of faith is sometimes an unknown path, which has a deep meaning beyond the goals one sets. Mahary also highlighted, with great depth, how each of us has our own individual and personal background, which should be respected and understood, and how important it is not to impose one’s view of reality on the people with whom one relates.
Cross Media Network Project – Happiness Network Project
One of the highlights of the conference was the Happiness Network Project: ‘Happiness’ is a cross-media project consisting of the creation and production of written content and audio-visual materials for TV and social media, based on varied and different perspectives, points of view and aspects related to the main topic: HAPPINESS.
It is a network project, under the coordination of Adrian Durè, involving the participation of multiple media centres, media entities and institutions around the world, responsible for the creation and production of content.
HAPPINESS is a project initiated, created and coordinated by the Inter-European Division, the Trans-European Division, and Hope Media Europe, in association with the North-American Division and the South American Division. It is supported by the Communication Department of the General Conference, and strongly supported by the commitment of several other divisions and coordinated by an international creative team that will work hand in hand with the contributors and partners.
“Because happiness is not a destination, but a daily journey.”
The selected topic aims to motivate and inspire the audience/readers to understand the concept of happiness, to connect it to their daily experiences, and to recognize those things that make us happy. Happiness is not something that we bring from birth; it is something that is learned. Happiness is variable and different in every person, and in every culture and context.
‘Happiness is a gift, a gift from God. Happiness is not a destination, but a path that we travel every day, a journey.’
Visiting the Parliament and Speranta TV
Participants also had the privilege of visiting the Romanian Parliament, the largest palace in Europe. At the invitation of former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Justice, Titus Corlatean, the participants were able to tour the lavish halls of this immense structure. Particularly meaningful and touching was the prayer of blessing that an organizer from the Romanian Union was able to dedicate to parliamentarians and senators present in one of the halls of Parliament.
Also described as intense and beautiful was the meeting with Romanian Union employees in the headquarters of the Adventist Church in Bucharest, and with communicators working at Speranta TV, in their studios.
The Romanian Union president, Aurel Neatu, welcomed GAiN 2022 participants and also gave an overview of the work of the Adventist Church in Romania.
On the same occasion, the EUD communications director, Paulo Macedo, also wanted to present an award to his Romanian counterpart, Dragos Musat, who has been working around the clock to support the organization of GAiN 2022 at all levels.
Whom am I speaking to?
The last day of the conference was dedicated in large part to the theme “Marketing in a Post-Modern World”, that is, how to efficiently and effectively reach external audiences with the Gospel of Christ. Through the input of some experts in the field, such as Daryl Gungadoo, Lorand Soares Szasz, and Jonathan Contero, participants were able to better understand the ways through which to identify and reach audiences with the Word of God.
The original version of this story was posted by the Inter-European news site.