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COMMUNICATORS EXPLORE CREATIVITY

COMMUNICATORS EXPLORE CREATIVITY

Lasko, Slovenia, September 22-27. "Eden must have moved west" – that was the opinion at least, for over 100 Adventist communicators and media personnel who gathered at the Hotel Wellness Park in Laško, Slovenia.

September 30, 2011 | Victor Hulbert, BUC Communication Director - Pictures by Dragana Salakovic Duval

Lasko, Slovenia, September 22-27. "Eden must have moved west" – that was the opinion at least, for over 100 Adventist communicators and media personnel who gathered at the Hotel Wellness Park in Laško, Slovenia. The early morning mist reminded them of the way Eden was originally watered, while a stiff climb up the mountain opposite the hotel gave not only therapeutic exercise but stunning views across the valleys of this alpine region. However, it was down in the valley, and mostly indoors, where the creativity happened. "People are usually my 'highlight' at such events," states Messenger Editor, Julian Hibbert. "Just getting to know

them, and the context in which they exercise their various professions is immensely stimulating. Through all of it I sensed two things: the vast diversity of contexts in which our message must be made relevant is an ongoing challenge; and the impression that, despite the diversity from which we emerge, we share so much in common because of our core Adventist identity."

The sense of networking, identity, and learning certainly increased across the 5 days of the 'Explore

Creativity' Conference, 22 - 27 September. The event, organised jointly by the two European regions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (TED and EUD) included presentations on practical issues such as knowing your audience, helping the local church communicate better, marketing, media relations and social networking. With delegates gathered from as far north as Iceland, Finland and Norway, down to the warmer climates of Italy, Spain and the Middle East, there was a mixture of expertise, ideas and sharing. Working behind the scenes, TED Administrative Assistant, Deana Stojkovic, rejoiced in that sharing: "For me personally, I love the idea that I could connect the faces to the names in the emails, we could all gather together and learn from each other and so many were happy to share their experience and expertise." Newly elected SEC Communication director, Kirsten Øster-Lundqvist, had to rapidly change schedules to attend. She said, "the opportunity of networking across the two Divisions was outstanding, adding to that the GC leadership presence and the parallel conference for Ministerial Association directors brought the networking to an even higher level." Kirsten added, "the conference enabled me to pick up practical tips and discover different approaches to communicating."


Arunas Klimas, another delegate from within the British Union stated, "I was surprised to see a very big interest in media, talent and other resource sharing among media producers. I was almost jumping out of my seat to say 'amen'". Arunas also expressed the views of many that 'local politics' should not prevent sharing and cooperation. Those barriers seemed to break down over the weekend anyway, as by Monday afternoon media producers were making arrangements to meet again early in 2012.

What were the highlights? The spiritual highs for Kirsten were the Sabbath school by Dr Duda and the sermon by Editor Bill Knott – what she called "a spiritual and intellectual feast, in the midst of practical seminars." Julian adds that it "was the complexity and pervasiveness of the various forms of social media, and the potential for these to be used quickly and effectively to share information and influence thinking. It just makes me realize that such technologies really make it possible … for Christian witness to spread exponentially across the world finding people almost immediately, just where they are!" On the downside Arunas felt there were also examples of poor practise and that the Church still has a lot to learn about social networking

. Kofi Owusu, BUC New Media Producer was thrilled by the sharing and the new ideas that bounced back and forth across meeting rooms, dinner tables, and, in the evening, the leisure facilities.

He agrees with Kirsten's comment, "The mix of people and expertise meant that I was able to secure support and develop new plans as well as realign projects for my work." There was also satisfaction for pre

senters. BUC Communication director, Victor Hulbert, was delighted with the networking and con

versations he had following his workshops on Communication audits, Interview techniques and Copyright/legal issues. "While some of the countries here are very advanced media wise, others are struggling," he said, adding, "I found it very rewarding to be a small part of the process that helps build up the Communication teams across Europe."

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