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30 March 2017 | Binfield, UK [Natasha Mirilov] In a first for Europe, 150 communicators from across the continent gathered to connect, collaborate and change the way the Seventh-day Adventist Church uses technology, media and communication skills.

What is likely to become an annual event, Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) Europe, was held at Newbold College of Higher Education, Binfield, 23-26 March 2017. While previous conferences have been held at local or Division level, this was the first time the Trans-European Division (TED) and the Inter-European Division (EUD) have joined together in a conscious attempt to improve networking and collaboration on media projects.

According to the official website, GAiN meetings are “designed to foster the use of technology, media and the internet to help the mission of the Adventist Church.”

Co-hosts for GAiN Europe, Victor Hulbert and Corrado Cozzi, welcome delegatesCo-hosts for GAiN Europe, Victor Hulbert and Corrado Cozzi, welcome delegates. [All photos: Tor Tjeransen/ADAMS Adventist photo system]Event organisers, TED Communication director, Victor Hulbert and EUD Communication director, Corrado Cozzi, did exactly that on the opening evening, as they introduced the Catch Box, a soft throwable microphone, into the Adventist Media world.
Tossed around during the inaugural programme to introduce attendees in the hall, it helped identify that delegates joined from as far away as Russia in the east, Portugal in the west, Iceland in the north and Greece and Italy in the south. In addition, a few guests came from North America. In keeping with a technology event, there was no printed programme, but the schedule, information on speakers, and campus maps were all found on a specially designed guidebook app – something that will now grow for other events.

GAiN catch ballGavin Anthony leads the church in Iceland - and learns how a 'catch-ball' throw mic adds a fun dimentsion to any discussionIn line with the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, the theme for this year’s GAiN Europe was ‘re:formation, re:volution’. Cozzi explained that Luther’s words, “Here I stand, I can do no other,” a sentence Luther used as he started the reformation, inspired the GAiN organisers during the planning process.

Hulbert held the opening devotional, demonstrating through photos, that the reformation is all around us. He explained how he likes to use his social media time by sharing stories and information which could be interesting to people who are not necessarily part of a church. Comparing what kind of gossip people like to follow on their Facebook and twitter accounts, he explained that Adventists “have something better to gossip about”. He encouraged all attendees to reflect on this throughout the GAiN weekend and take the opportunity to learn how to tell some of those stories and reform the revolution which makes our church.

Tom de BruinDr Tom de Bruin, lecturer in New Testament draws re:formation, re:volution lessons out of 'Fantastic Mr Fox'.The evening then moved to a new high with inspiring words from Newbold theologian and communicator, Tom de Bruin. He focused on his favourite stop-motion animation film, Fantastic Mr Fox, and the famous words ‘Canis Lupes! Vulpes Vulpes!’ (‘Wolf! Fox!’). De Bruin took the audience through Mr Fox’s challenged life and noted that when faced with a crossroads, the character chose revolution. Author George Knight explains that Adventists must do the same, by critiquing, retooling ourselves and focusing on our identity.

James Poulter is Senior Global Social Media Manager at LEGOJames Poulter, Senior Global Social Media Manager at LEGO.On Friday the live Twitter TV screen was opened where attendees could express their feedback and opinions by using the hashtag #GAiN17. “The internet is NOT virtual. It is reality. When you speak, there are people on the other end. – @jamespoulter,” posted by Cozzi, was just one of the many tweets that popped up on the screen. James Poulter is Senior Global Social Media Manager at LEGO and a committed Christian. He brought modern relevance to Bible themes during his presentation on ‘good news or fake news’. Following this seminar, popular vlogger, Espen Johnson showed everyone how powerful, yet simple it is to vlog – and generated a substantial amount of discussion.

GAiN Espen JohnsonEspen Johnson shares the basic skills of V-blogging - leading to intense discussion.Publishing, choosing various fonts, Social Media Strategies, iPhoneography and news production, were among the 17 workshops presented at the conference. Thrilled delegates have asked for more and longer workshops next time. These programmes were specifically targeted for communicators in the Adventist Church, equipping them to ‘gossip’ about their stories better.

Daniel Wildemann, from Advent-Verlag, the German Publishing House, led the attendees through Friday vespers. As a cartoonist, he showed how the reformation joined faith with art to share strong messages. He then demonstrated how images are being used today to illustrate, advertise and broadcast the Adventist message – and perhaps, how we can do it better.

Daniel KluskaDaniel Kluska shares innovative witnessing in Poland during the Hacksaw Ridge releaseSabbath morning combined testimony, praise and worship, with one highlight being the Polish team, sharing their experiences of their Hacksaw Ridge witness, with Dan Weber and Stan Jensen from North America, who were both part of the process of getting the Desmond Doss story from book to cinema screen. Newbold historian, Robin Anthony, then led a packed contemporary service through a historic journey of reformation from 1 Kings, to the challenges of the present day.

Contemporary serviceGAiN perticipants preached at all three Newbold church services while leading the whole morning of praise in the contemporary serviceWhat turned out to be the most popular meeting, was the Sabbath afternoon ‘Project Slam’, hosted by Wolfgang Schick, Vice President of Media Services at the German Media Centre, Stimme der Hoffnung. With a strict 10-minute rule, attendees had a chance to present their projects, activities and proposals. This included Animal Encounters; a reality TV show featuring three friends on a holiday, learning about various animals in Costa Rica – a project by Adventist Review TV partly co-funded by the two European Divisions. The session also featured missionary Lara Zestic, a young mid-wife, her travels and experiences while volunteering in Thailand and Greece and her use of social media. However, the most impressive demonstration was on drones, presented by 8-year-old Noah Gungadoo, - setting a world record as the youngest ever presenter at a GAiN conference.

Saturday night saw two important activities. During a networking time, delegates looked for a combined project on which all studios could collaborate. By this time next year, expect to see myriads of very short video clips highlighting individuals of all ages, background and cultures involved in mission. Klaus Koppa, General manager for Stimme, was thrilled with the response, as he announced the project during the closing ceremony on Sunday and countries across Europe enthusiastically committed to participate.

GAiN NoahGAiN Europe was record breaking - this time with Noah as the youngest presenter with ideas for using a drone for missionSaturday night also saw the European premiere of an inspirational film of hope, Opposites, produced in co-operation with ACT, Adventist Communication Training. Sam Neves, Associate Communication director at World Church headquarters, further elaborated on Sunday, of the growing potential of ACT. He also demonstrated a new translating platform, smartCAT, which can be incorporated into Facebook. This application is a ‘translation ecosystem’ which allows the same Facebook status to be translated in several languages.

"The time of just publishing in English and hoping for the best, is gone - Sam Neves @saneves #GAIN17,” was tweeted by SECmedia, the weekend’s tech team sponsored by the South England Conference.

thanks to GAiN leadersVictor & Corrado thank those who led out in plenary sessions & workshops during GAiNAs the weekend-long conference was coming to an end, contact details were being exchanged and many ideas and products were being shared. Stan Jensen, Canadian Union Communication director, shared that “this is the best GAiN I have ever been to.” He was not alone. Comments, both verbal and on the anonymous online-evaluation form indicated the same mood. “Great job! A wide variety of topics and presenters.” Or the comment that touched Cozzi and Hulbert’s hearts, “Big thanks for organising and your love of His Mission.”

The next Global GAiN conference will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in August 2017 while GAiN Europe will return in March 2018.

A selection of photos from the weekend are available on the TED Facebook page. Some presentations will be available online in due course.


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Esti Pujic, associate editor
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tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.




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