Representatives from the South Pacific Division (SPD) joined about 300 Adventist communications, media and IT professionals along with personal ministries personnel in Budva, Montenegro, for the Global Adventist Internet Network Europe (GAiN Europe) conference, held October 20-24.
GAiN Europe is a joint program run by the Trans European (TED) and Inter European (EUD) divisions and this year there were representatives from the General Conference, Adventist Review, Euro Asian Division (ESD), North American Division and four representatives from the SPD.
“Almost everyone that was at GAiN last year was here too, but more people came [this year],” said Paulo Macedo, EUD communication director. “We had a huge representation from other divisions—ESD, NAD, SPD and also from the GC. Even more important were [those who joined us from] personal ministries and Adventist Mission. Our topic ‘purpose’ was to find common ground for mission together.
“And our main goal is to bring this discipleship approach for each church member that we have in the physical world to bring it to the digital because nowadays virtual and physical are the same so we need digital disciples. This was the goal and I think we got there—I’m very happy.”
Representatives from the SPD took part in the meetings, with all four members of the delegation contributing at least one workshop in the streams, and participating in important networking and content sharing opportunities.
“Attending GAiN Europe was a very enriching experience,” said North New South Wales Conference communications coordinator Henrique Felix, who presented on the Kingdom Come documentary trilogy. “Getting to share a little bit of what we do here and learn from Adventist communicators in Europe and other continents was incredibly motivating. It strengthened our sense of purpose and gave us the assurance that, despite the challenges, as a global Church, we are working together for the second coming of Jesus.”
The theme of the conference was “Purpose” and this was really brought home by some communicators sharing testimonies on how their work helped them find purpose along with the daily devotionals which featured the Division and GC leaders sharing their faith journey.
On Sabbath morning, TED president Dr Daniel Duda delivered a sermon about moving through the doors that God opens. He spoke of growing up in a communist country and being forced to learn the language of the oppressor. But even as a young boy he made the decision to learn Russian for Jesus.
The GAiN Europe network have collaborated on a few media projects in the past few years with the themes of uncertainty, happiness and fatherhood.
An update was given on the current network project that shares the theme of purpose. Documentary films, short clips and a book are all being developed in conjunction with this theme.
“In the European context a lot of our media people work solo because of the reality of the church situation here,” said TED communication director David Neal. “A media centre in Slovenia is one person, one room for example, so we can do better together. To connect and collaborate, I know these sound like cliches, but it really does make a difference in the European context.”
Attendees were offered workshop streams they could attend such as institutional communication, film-making, IT, media and mission, and social media.
A group of around 15 people from Ukraine attended and shared that it was nice to eat good food and feel safe.
On Sunday afternoon, a trip to the fortress city of Kotor was organised, and attendees explored the old town, climbed the hill to see the church and the fortress, and hunted for souvenirs for their families back home.
A global GAiN conference will be held in Chang Mai, Thailand next year while the next GAiN Europe will take place November 15-19 with a venue to be determined.