Around 300 Seventh-day Adventist technology professionals working in a variety of related roles gathered in Hortolândia, São Paulo, Brazil, for the first Adventist Institute of Technology (IATec) Summit on April 28-30, 2019.
Organizers said that professionals attending the event are currently working for various church administration offices and institutions, mostly in the South American Division territory. Some of them, however, came from as far as the African continent, they said.
Organizers also shared that approximately half of the event participants work for the local IATec center, which opened its doors in 2017 to support technology initiatives and projects across the region.
Being able to gather for the first time is something to be remembered, South American technology leaders emphasized.
"This event has been a real milestone for our team," said João Santos, who works in support and technological solutions at the Adventist Church’s administrative headquarters in the state of São Paulo. “It has united us, also providing high-quality sessions that help us to gain insights before we develop our technology projects.”
The event provided discussions on technological trends, including artificial intelligence (AI), cloud solutions, data protection, and big data. Participants also led in workshops, which included practical discussions about how to find solutions to common technology issues and roadblocks in Adventist administrative offices and institutions.
Event organizers said they made sure every event activity fostered professional instruction, motivation, and integration. It was an event, they emphasized, that favored practical solutions to technology problems across the region.
“We believe that when we bring our team together, we can better understand each other's needs,” said IATec director Eliezer Magalhães. “It allows us to share even more solutions, both for church offices and local congregations.”
Church Leaders’ Support
In addition to the devotional moments, lectures, workshops, and networking opportunities with other professionals, participants listened to encouraging remarks from top church leaders, including South American Division president Erton Köhler and Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson.
Wilson congratulated technology professionals for their dedication, which he said is essential to fulfilling the mission of the church.
“This meeting and this venue represent a vital part of the strategy of sharing the Bible message with the world,” Wilson said. “Participants in this event are using the talents to move the mission of the church forward, and I praise God for that.”