From April 19 to 21, 2021, about 100 media professionals from the Seventh-day Adventist Church across Europe met for the annual Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) Europe meeting, which was held online due to pandemic-related restrictions. This year, some participants also joined from Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
GAiN 2021was organized jointly by the communication departments of the two European divisions of the Adventist Church. Co-organizers Corrado Cozzi and Victor Hulbert, Inter-European Division (EUD) and Trans-European Division (TED) communications directors respectively, stressed the importance of spreading hope and peace through church communication.
Keynote Message and Workshops
In a keynote speech, Costin Jordache, vice president of public relations at U.S.-based Adventist HealthCare, reminded communicators of four fundamental aspects of this new digital age: speed, concision, exchange, and transparency. The digital world has made everything fast, short, open, and radical. This is, however, a double-edged sword, he said.
“Even though communication has become more open and accessible to all, there is a flood of information that makes 90 percent of the information superfluous, superficial, false, and useless,” Jordache said. “Also, this new way of communicating favors conflicts, the radicalization of opinions, and overall confusion.” Jordache provided some advice to counter this trend. “Slow down, and choose depth and truth! Focus on quality, not on quantity,” he said.
In five breakout sessions, participants were able to “network, exchange, encourage, and motivate” according to their areas of interest. Viewers could choose between communication and marketing, audio and video content, writing, production, and IT and web/app development. Another seven workshops allowed for discussion of case studies and teaching some skills, organizers shared.
Every year, the GAiN event also honors media professionals who have made a significant contribution to the Adventist Church in recent years. In 2021, the Communication Department of the Adventist Church gave the Adventist NetAward to Stephan G. Brass (EUD) and Tor Tjeransen (TED). Brass is the current communication director of the Adventist Church in Germany and editor-in-chief of Adventistische Pressedients (APD). Tjeransen is the communication director of the Adventist Church in Norway. The two have known each other since the 1970s, when they were students together in Germany and England.
Brass was one of the pioneers of digital evangelization in Germany, while Tjeransen, as Adventist Church president in Norway for years, focused on media and communication. Adventist Church communication director Williams Costa virtually presented the awards. “The Adventist Church will always need the advice and input of professionals such as Brass and Tjeransen,” Costa emphasized.
Brass and Tjeransen thanked their colleagues for the awards. “Without your support, I would not have been able to do anything,” Brass said. Tjeransen encouraged viewers to keep serving in their area. “Use all possible means of communication to share the most important message: the second coming of Jesus!” he said.
Once again, the participating media professionals decided on a joint project for the coming year. Back in 2017, several regions had participated under the slogan “This Is My Mission,” producing a series of short video clips for social media and YouTube. The following year’s topic was “Fathers,” and it included a documentary and a book. The last joint project produced was “Uncertainty,” which included a documentary, short clips, and a printed book. The project discusses how to thrive in life even amid fears, doubts, and an uncertain future.
At the end of this year’s GAiN, media professionals decided on a new topic after a short but lively discussion: “1,000 Years of Happiness: Because Happiness Can Be Found Anytime, Anywhere, and at Any Time in Life.” The project will include the production of a book, a documentary, video clips, and a feature film. “ ‘1,000 Years of Happiness,’ because the idea is to ask 10 people from different cultures, every one of them near 100 years old, about their experiences, trials, struggles, and victories,” Adrian Duré, the cross-media project manager, said.
About GAiN Europe
GAiN Europe is the European branch of the Global Adventist Internet Network, a network of Seventh-day Adventist communicators, technologists, and media professionals. GAiN Europe has accepted the challenge of sharing the good news of Jesus with others by organizing events that focus on the digital world to be where people are today: on the Internet. In addition to the GAiN Europe conferences, international GAiN events are also held each year.
Adventist News Network, Inter-European Division News, and Nyheter Norway contributed to this story.