24 February | Darmstadt, Germany [Paulo Macedo, with tedNEWS]
Forty participants, attending from thirteen media centers across Europe, met from 24 -27 February at the premises of Hope Media Europe, Darmstadt, Germany. During the four-day meeting, participants had the opportunity to share their present reality along with their projects for the future, exchange experiences about current challenges, and together find new communication pathways to support mission.
“The purpose of this meeting was to bring together, hopefully on a permanent basis, those responsible for the media centres in the territory of the Inter-European Division (EUD), and the Trans-European Division (TED),” explained Paulo Macedo, EUD Communication director. “We need to come together at this time”, he continued, “because we have no formal forum at this level to exchange information, experiences, coordinate projects, and find a common platform to fulfil mission through media together.
Media centers represented were from the EUD fields of Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and Spain, and, from the TED fields, England, Iceland, Ireland, and Latvia. A special invitee was the Ukraine Media Centre director, Maksym Krupskyi.
The meetings commenced with fellowship as Mário Brito, EUD president, led Sabbath vespers with a devotional talk on the topic “Real Purpose in Communicating”, based on Ezekiel 47 and John 17.
“The most powerful messages sometimes are not written or spoken. We read people as people read us,” said Brito. “Think about your intention when you communicate. Is it only to inform? Is it only to train? Is it only to transmit what you think is the right message? Or is it really to change people’s existence? Search for the communication that brings hope and life to people through Christ”, he appealed. “And don’t forget that you will not convey hope and life if you, yourself, don’t have Christ. Then you can cooperate with the Holy Spirit to change people’s lives, like the water coming out from the Temple and bringing life, in the book of Ezekiel.”
For Sabbath worship, David Neal, TED Communication director, shared a sermon on the hope present in Paul’s first letter from 1 Thessalonians 5. “God’s people are meant to bring hope to a world in a state of permanent global crisis, and to people in deep existential crisis. This hope is our purpose – because a Christian lives a life of purpose – which we find at the cross, in and through what Christ has done for us. Because hope is deeply embedded in the Adventist DNA, should we not act and live as an expectant community ready for Christ’s return? And, like the Thessalonian church – be a happy, prayerful and grateful church grounded in grace,” Neal emphasised.
Florian Ristea, director of Adventist Mission, Sabbath School and Personal Ministries (EUD), affirmed that “it was encouraging to see people, especially young leaders, from around Europe, so dedicated and focused on mission, and using their creativity and resources in creating content for reaching people in their own countries with the Good News. Media is a powerful instrument”, he continued, “and it is obvious that the time has come to become (if it has not already become) a leading force in the Church’s mission.”
Klaus Popa, president of Hope Media Europe, the media centre of the Inter-European Division, and host of this event reflected. “The different media centres find themselves at different stages of development of their media ministry work. Coming together as a Hope Media Europe network enables media centres, not only to grow together by learning from each other, but also to develop together an integrated media ministry strategy that will increase the impact of the singular media centers as well as of all the network.”
“There was a lot of good news about everything that has been done in mission through communication in Europe, along with promising ideas, plans and projects for the future. Learning, sharing and coordinating will save resources and increase efficiency in our common purpose,” Paulo Macedo said. “Just look at the hopeful message coming from the Ukrainian media center.”
“You will not need bread or clothes if you lose all hope in living. We are there to share it!”
During the Media Center Meeting, EUD and tedNews interviewed Maxim Krupski, Hope Media Ukraine director. “First, we saw people suffering and leaving and we thought everything was lost” shared Maxim in an interview led by Vanessa Pizzuto, Associate director of TED Communication, and Samuel Gil, Hope Media Spain director. “Then we started to help people with their basic, essential needs. Right after the first few months of war, we realized there is an opportunity to evangelize. People need hope to continue wanting to live”.
As Maxim spoke about the suffering in his country and the joy of announcing positive news in the midst of distress and uncertainty, he could not help but shed a tear. He continued, “We’ve already had more than 1,000 baptisms since the beginning of this terrible war. And we inaugurated a new studio in the summer,” he announced with elation. “If you had told me we would inaugurate a studio, even before the war, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Ukraine is suffering the terrible consequences of violence and hardship for a whole year. At the church level, 8,000 of the 30,000 members have left the country. But the mission grows with 100 staff members continuing to work in the seven studios of Hope Media Ukraine. “We thank all for supporting our people and our members. We are doing mission as needed,” concludes Maxim.
The mission to reach Europe for Christ continues as permacrisis continues with communication and media personnel standing together on the front line to share Christ.
[Photos: TED and EUD]