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17 April 2019 | Nicosia, Cyprus [tedNEWS]  

Social media is now such an integral part of our lives that Nicosia church members, aged 9 to almost 90, spent an entire weekend, 5 – 7 April, to learn both the theology and the practical skills of using social media for God.

Cyprus Sabbath morning 20 nationalities worship 1500pxMembers from 20 nationalities meeting together for Sabbath morning worship in NicosiaMore than 95% of Cyprus population have access to the internet and 65% make active use of social media, particularly among youth. [Internet World Stats & statistica.com] With only around 200 members on the entire island of 850,000 people, programme participants recognised the need to be active, increasing both the profile of the church, and also using their personal social media to share that faith is an important part of their lives.

Cyprus Nicosia youth working on green Monday video idea 1500pxNicosia youth work together on a 'Green Monday' video ideaFor one teenager that meant creating a 60-second video clip sharing how he managed to keep the Sabbath even though a major competition was scheduled for Saturday. That was just one of many ideas that came from the Sabbath afternoon break-out groups that led to a number of recordings on people’s mobile phones.

To prove that social media is not just for the young, a retired minister and former Middle East Union president, Pastor Jony Manasian was filmed by another keen volunteer, Banislav Hrubik, telling a story from his days in the Iranian army in the days of the Shar.

In leading the training in a very practical manner, Trans-European Division Communication director, Victor Hulbert, filmed that process on his own phone, demonstrating to participants that making videos for social media is easily achievable.

“Recent presentations in Iceland, Scotland and Lithuania led me to realise that getting people ‘hands on’ with the equipment and in front of the camera means they can then have the confidence to continue once the training is over,” Hulbert stated.

In Iceland and Scotland, Hulbert had prepared a sample ‘reflection’ in their local context that they could use as an example. Both in Lithuania and Iceland he took that a stage further by taking participants out-doors to interview local people, creating a feature with local interest.

“In my own personal experience, I’ve discovered that reflections like these reach way beyond my Adventist friends, and often have an impact on people who have little experience of organised religion,” Hulbert added.

There are three Adventist congregations in Nicosia: Greek, International, and Bulgarian. All three groups were involved in the training with the aim to create localised content in Greek, English and Bulgarian.

Unlike much of Europe, Cyprus still maintains a rich religious heritage. Pastor Branislav Mirilov, President of the Cyprus Region, noted that this gives Adventists something of an open door to share their faith alongside the strong religious traditions on the island. As such, filming in locations like Salamis, St Barnabus church, or Lazarus church in Limassol, could build bridges with local communities. Hulbert encouraged that this kind of filming be done both in the local Greek language, and in English for the very diverse community on the island.

Cyprus St Barnabus snapshot or photoChoosing your moment and angle can turn a boring holiday snaphot into something special.The Sunday morning training also included photography skills, with some very helpful tips coming from local communication expert and member of the Greek speaking church, Alex Elmadjian. Hulbert used a couple of photos from an evening visit to St Barnabus church to illustrate the difference between a snap-shot and creativity.

This is not the first training in Cyprus. An earlier training in March 2018 led to the inauguration of ‘Holy Cakes’, a fun children’s cooking programme. What Mirilov described as ‘very useful and instructive seminars’ will undoubtedly add to that portfolio.


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, 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. Readers are free to republish or share this article with appropriate credit including an active hyperlink to the original article.



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