April 23, 2024

Empowering Publishing Ministries in Europe

Insights from the European Tri-Division Workshop

Vanesa Pizzuto with EUDNEWS
European Tri-Division Publishing Leaders’ Workshop in Collonges-sous-Salève, France. In the background, the Adventist university, Campus Adventiste du Salève, sits on a hill overlooking Geneva, Switzerland.

More than 50 publishing leaders and special guests gathered in February for the European Tri-Division Publishing Workshop held at Campus Adventiste du Salève — the Adventist university in Collonges-sous-Salève, France.

The workshop, intended for exploring best practices and sharing inspiring testimonies, brought together leaders from the Euro-Asia Division (ESD), Inter-European Division (EUD), Trans-European Division (TED), and the Ukrainian Union Conference (UUC) under the theme “It’s Our Time — Today, Not Tomorrow.”

According to Almir Marroni, Publishing Ministries director for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC), the workshop aimed to “enhance collaboration among publishing institutions and literature ministry coordinators across Europe, including the Euro-Asia region.” Open dialogue about the opportunities and challenges encountered by various publishing houses can “promote unity and integration,” Marroni said, inspiring everyone to continue exploring methods and strategies to involve every Adventist in sharing literature.”

The agenda was packed with divisional reports spanning the last quinquennium (2019-2023) and seminars exploring the three main pillars of Adventist literature distribution: church members, literature evangelists, and student evangelists. Paulo Macedo, EUD communication director, presented a seminar on fostering strategic synergy across church departments.

“With the current trends in communication and media, the church has a challenging, yet promising, task to do: to bring structures together in vision and cooperation for mission,” Macedo said. “As a former editor and current communication leader, [for me] it’s a privilege to work towards that goal. … Publishing ministries have invaluable experience and powerful content. Communication and media have means and tools that could enhance this beautiful ministry. May God help us achieve strategic synergy.”

The program wasn’t all business. Attendees also took educational outings exploring the legacy of Reformers in the streets of Geneva, Switzerland, and the historical narratives at Torre Pellice and the Waldensian Museum in Italy. Reflecting on the visit to Torre Pellice, Trevor Johnson, Stanborough Press sales manager, said, “What resonated most for me is the importance of not allowing time to erode in our minds the sacrifices made by those who valued the truth of the word of God even more than life itself.”

As the workshop drew to a close after six days of fruitful discussions, Marroni distilled five key recommendations for publishing leaders:

  • Foster higher synergy in all areas of the church.
  • Explore innovative and intentional distribution initiatives that church members can get involved in.
  • Seek opportunities to strengthen the work of literature evangelists.
  • Explore the unique niche for digital and printed publications.
  • Explore initiatives to mobilize youth in literature distribution.

“Publishing Ministries exists to support the church, not the other way around,” Marroni said, underscoring its prophetic origins and enduring significance.

Reflecting on the workshop, participants highlighted its role in strengthening connections among publishing houses and facilitating the exchange of best practices. “It was nice to meet with old friends and make new ones in this first official publishing meeting after the pandemic,” said Mario Martinelli, president of Safeliz Publishing House in Spain. “The volume of materials produced in recent years is staggering. … I’m personally inspired to continue advancing God’s work through the means of printed words and digital media, alongside collaborative efforts within our church community.”

Norbert Zens, EUD treasurer and Publishing Ministries director, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the prophetic foundation and pivotal role of Publishing Ministries in the church’s mission. “Knowing where we come from, we realize the certain future we have — with a central role to play in the Mission of the Church,” affirmed Zens.

António Carvalho, manager of Publicadora Servir, the church’s publishing house in Portugal, said he was not sure what to expect from the meeting before he arrived. However, after taking part, he said, “this program has been a source of motivation and inspiration for me. To paraphrase the title of a famous work by Aldous Huxley,¹ I can say the ‘brave world of publishing’ is going onwards! God be praised for what you are doing through the printed pages all over the world!”

“It’s been an enriching week of dialogue,” said Kristinn Odinsson, manager of Dansk Bogforlag, the Danish publishing house. Reflecting on the unique challenges in Denmark, where door-to-door sales are prohibited, making traditional literature evangelism work impossible, Odinsson added: “Publishing still has a future, but we need to find new ways to distribute. Going forward, we need to find innovative ways of getting our books out. And we surely need to collaborate with our media and communication departments.”

The original versions of this story were posted by tedNEWS and EUDnews. Photos: Vanesa Pizzuto, Adventist Media Exchange, CC BY 4, and courtesy of Almir Marroni.


1. Aldous Huxley was an English writer and philosopher. Brave New World (1932) is one of his best-known works.