The Seventh-day Adventist Church will launch its first global television channel with French-language programming in July 2016 as part of a $7 million joint project between the Inter-American Division and the General Conference.
Inter-American Division leaders approved the budget and launch date for the channel, Esperance TV, as well as two other channels — Hope Channel Inter-America in English and Esperanza TV in Spanish — during year-end business meetings at the division’s headquarters in Miami.
The three channels will be part of the Adventist Church-owned Hope Channel network, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, at the headquarters of the General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist world church. The General Conference is covering a third of the $7 million that will be invested into the project over the next five years.
“This is your channel, so your territory will represent Hope Channel,” division communication director Abel Marquez told union-level church administrators at the meetings.
Marquez said the master control equipment of the three channels would be located at Hope Channel’s headquarters in Maryland, and the division would operate and manage the channels, pay satellite fees, produce and schedule programs, and promote the channel across its territory.
Nearly $900,000 is earmarked toward the rental of the satellite, service contracts, equipment, production, and materials for the three channels in 2016 alone.
The ambitious plan for the new channels was approved at the division’s year-end meetings in late 2014 and the launch was scheduled for 2015. But the division only got Adventist world church approval for the budget during the General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, last July, delaying the launch until 2016.
“With our board organized, our strategic plan laid out, and our budget approved, we can proceed with the task before us to launch the new channels,” Marquez said.
In a sign that the project would get off the ground, the Inter-American Division presented each president of the division’s 24 unions with a Roku streaming television box to take back to their unions. The union leaders were asked to make plans to purchase boxes for their local churches and communities to watch the new channels.
Other parts of the Adventist world church are collaborating on the project, and French-speaking church leaders are especially excited about the prospect of having a channel that meets the needs of their territories. Four church administrative units — the North American Division and its affiliated Canadian Union, the Inter-European Division, and the Inter-American Division’s French Antilles Guiana Union — are working together to develop and share programming, Marquez said.
Marquez said overall programming would rely heavily on productions from the Inter-American Division’s headquarters and 18 media centers across the division’s territory, which covers the Caribbean, Central America, and a few countries in South America.
“Our first step will be to build a series of programs to fill the channels with our media centers,” he said.
A media center at Montemorelos University in Mexico, Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica, and the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union already contribute programming to the Hope Channel.
Inter-American Division leaders took a moment to dedicate the new channels to God and ask that God bless the effort to share the Adventist message to viewers across the division and around the world.
“We hope plenty of fruit will come forth and that we may see many lives transformed by the gospel of salvation,” Marquez said.