World Conference of the Global Adventist internet Network

World Conference of the Global Adventist internet Network

Communication World Leaders with Ted and Nancy Wilson. (Samuel Neves)

During GAiN, presenters from around the world demonstrated how to employ emerging technology to enhance the gospel mission of the Church.

March 07, 2016 | Bern, Switzerland. | Victor Hulbert, TED News, CD EUDNEWS.

Communication, IT and Media specialists from around the Adventist World converged on Seventh-day Adventist World Church headquarters in Silver Springs, Maryland, for a series of meetings between 24 February and 5 March. The two weeks of meetings included special advisories for the Communication and IT departments; Network Managers meetings for Hope Channel and drawing them all together, 'GAiN': the Gobal Adventist internet Network, hosted in the World Church auditorium, 24-28 February.

During GAiN, presenters from around the world demonstrated how to employ emerging technology to enhance the gospel mission of the Church. In his keynote address, Gary Krause, GC Associate secretary and director of Adventist Mission, said, "For too long Seventh-day Adventists have, to use Ellen White's word, 'neglected' the cities. Our mission to the cities must be more than drive-by evangelism." He posed the question, "What role can communication play in helping us 'seek the shalom' of the city?"

The rest of the week provided possible solutions to that tricky question. Harvey Alferez, Professor at Montemorelos University, showed that understanding the needs of people in big cities through data science can be helpful. He said, "following Christ's method to reach the city dwellers of our day means understanding and meeting their needs." His presentation described the potential of data science, the study of generalised extraction of knowledge from data to discover the needs of communities. He said this will make us more efficient in reaching people because we have taken the time to analyse their needs.

Presenting under the title, 'Digital Storytelling: Keeping it Safe', Mabio Coelho, the Chief Information Security Officer of the world Church, specified that social media is the prime way to tell your story today. However, it comes with its dangers, so while sharing your story and God through social media, you must also bear in mind, keeping safe.

Italo Osorio, Enterprise System Architect at the GC, in his presentation, said, "As technology and society evolve, the Church faces the challenge of upgrading our way of doing mission. We have to use the new tools at our disposal to build the platform which will empower the new generation that is coming, to do mission in a way that feels natural to them."

It wasn't all work; GAiN participants had the option of a tour of Washington DC where they visited places of historical interest including a visit to the Newseum – discovering the history and development of the news industry; the Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials and the National Geographic Museum where participants viewed a cleverly constructed 3D film, Jerusalem, weaving together the live experiences of three girls, Jewish, Muslim and Christian, who all live in the old city of less than one square mile, but who currently never knowingly meet.

Films were also a big part of GAiN and the subsequent Communication advisory. The world premiere of OPPOSITES: an engaging true life tale of a man who had the odds stacked against him, also 'Tell the World': a moving re-enactment of the origins of the Adventist Church focusing on William Miller and Ellen White, and finally, a Hope Channel co-production, 'Rest': which highlighted the way Adventists celebrate Sabbath across 9 different cultures and time zones. With work still to be done on translation and sub-titling, all three films will shortly be available to all parts of the world.

It is hard to say goodbye, but for the Communication advisory it happened in the most meaningful way, a Sabbath morning focus by World Church President, Elder Ted Wilson, on the great Bible communicators, including a donkey. Following a traditional American Adventist Sabbath lunch of 'haystacks', the advisory concluded with a communion service where Pastor Guillermo Biaggi, GC Vice-President for Communication, used a contemporary illustration of how a modern DNA test on a historic blood sample proved a 'guilty' man on death row was actually innocent. In the same way, the 'DNA' of Jesus blood, symbolised by the bread and the wine represents us as innocent in the eyes of God. Biaggi concluded, "We came together, now we go back to our territories to serve and change the world." 

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