Trans-European, Euro-Africa 
Join in Advisory Session

Four days of meetings highlight integration, fellowship, worship.

BY MARK A. KELLNER, news editor, Adventist Review, reporting from Lako, Slovenia

More than 100 Seventh-day Adventist communicators—working in print, on the Internet, and via radio and television—met to share ideas, get to know each other better, and envision ways to bring Christ’s message to a postmodern, secular society. For what is believed to be the first time, media workers from both the Euro-Africa and Trans-European divisions of the church assembled jointly in Laško, Slovenia, on the banks of the Savinja River.

ADVISORY LEADERS: Miroslav Pujic, TED communication director, and Corrado Cozzi, EUD communication director, were leaders of the joint advisory held in Lako, Slovenia.
The multifaceted program included 38 different sessions covering communications strategies and techniques, ranging from a “communications audit” for local churches to Web content development, news writing, photography, and crisis communications. Gary Krause, director of the Office of Adventist Mission, presented one of the most powerful sessions. Starting with a well-known “urban legend,” Krause showed how stories and examples can be used to drive home a spiritual point.

“Make stories the ‘Velcro’ of your communication,” Krause urged.

On Sabbath, or Saturday, September 24, the attention of the delegates changed to worship. As delegates from a concurrent session of Trans-European ministerial and Adventist Mission directors joined the communicators, Bill Knott, editor and executive publisher of Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, spoke on the subject “Setting Captives Free.”

DEVOTIONAL SPEAKER: Benjamin D. Schoun, a general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, spoke several times during the event.  [PHOTOS: Dragana Selakovic-Duval
Stressing the need for Adventist churches to become places where healing can take place, Knott said, “Look deep into the well of our own brokenness and converse with the God whom the Scriptures say is touched with our own weaknesses. He has been there too. . . . Make sure they come to the place where the healing can happen.”

Knott was one of several worship speakers for the conference. He was joined by devotional speakers Benjamin D. Schoun, a general vice president of the Adventist world church; Williams Costa, Jr., General Conference Communication Department director; and Julian Hibbert, editor of The Messenger for the British Union Conference.

“This conference is a good reminder that we are on the right way,” said Maja Godina Marin, recently appointed as editor of Adventist publications for Slovenia. “I learned that I can get some help” from colleagues, she added.

Rainer Refsbäch of the Swedish Union Conference said the conference provided the opportunity “for colleagues from around Europe to exchange experiences and get to know each other.”

MEANINGFUL IMAGES: Melita Pazitka, a marketing manager at Premier Foods in the U. K., shared perspectives on the power of photography to communicate a message.
Anne-May Müller, from the Danish Union Conference, echoed the support for the event’s networking and educational potential: “The value [of the event] has been very focused in teaching from gifted professionals. The networking and exchange of ideas—that is what’s inspiring.”

Journeying to the conference from Dorog, Hungary, Web pastor Krisztina Andre said the event offered encouragement for her work: “I didn’t know many things about how to communicate about God’s Word, but I have learned how to communicate in many ways. The speakers gave me encouragement.”

“This conference gave a different perspective from the normal advisory,” said Corrado Cozzi, Euro-Africa communication director. “Instead of talking about strategy and planning, we aimed to train, exchange technical support, and inspire new ways to ‘communicate’ the gospel. The satisfaction of the participants seems to be the most eloquent assessment of the choice we made.”

After days of learning about the importance of skilled communication both to Adventist members and the world beyond the church door, Hibbert’s words of encouragement stayed with delegates: “We’re not going home alone” to our creative tasks, he assured, “God is going with us.”

Copyright © 2018, Adventist Review. All rights reserved worldwide. Online Editor: Carlos Medley.
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