F ifteen Icelandic volunteers completed a full weekend of media training, 11-13 May 2018. The idea was simple, to inspire the very talented Icelandic media volunteers with creative ideas, and to provide them with knowledge, both technical and practical, on how to create content to be used on video websites and in social media.
The training was provided by Victor Hulbert, TED Communication and Media director, and by Yngvar Børresen of Hope Channel Norway.
“I am really looking forward to seeing Hope Channel Iceland being realized and established,” Børresen stated. He speaks from experience as the pastor who first established Hope Channel Norway with very simple facilities. Now partially retired, he still supports the ministry that has grown there over the years.
Børresen expresses his delight that “a small group of members from the church on the island, encouraged by the leadership, has taken the initiative to start using video cameras in order to reach out to their own countrymen.” He adds, “One may well ask, what more effective way can be used to reach out to a very modern media-using population scattered all over a mountainous island, miles and miles apart?”
The volunteers were encouraged to produce material, aimed at their small population of just over 350,000 by using their own mother-tongue. While a high proportion of Icelanders are fluent in English, they are proud of their language and sharing Adventist hope in Icelandic, and in the context of Icelandic culture, can make a significant impression.
Pastors Hulbert and Børresen shared a series of practical and theoretical interactive workshops that included script writing, equipment, sound, lighting and interview skills. The training included the opportunity to test the volunteers’ gained interviewing and videography skills in Reykjavik city center where they engaged the local community in street interviews.
“While done as a training exercise, this still gave participants the opportunity to overcome initial fears in facing the camera and public,” states Hulbert. “To be honest, I was surprised and greatly encouraged to see not just the commitment and enthusiasm, but to see the way their skills grew in just a short period of time.”
Steinunn Theodórsdóttir, a teacher at the Adventist school, could not join the Sabbath afternoon training as she had a witnessing commitment to visit the new born lambs at an Adventist owned farm with children from the school and church. Nevertheless, she took her iPhone with her, and learning from the Friday evening training, recorded an effective devotional thought linking the children’s excitement with the lambs to Jesus, the lamb of God.
“This was one of the emphases,” Hulbert reflected. “While we are looking at a simple studio setup based in one of the local churches, we are also focused on volunteers being able to generate content using their smart phones, many of which are now very sophisticated.”
On Sunday, volunteers also learned to interview in a more controlled environment, and the principles of sharing a message using a teleprompter, along with basic presenting skills.
Gavin Anthony, Iceland Conference President, directly asked the volunteers which section of the training they favored; unanimously they replied, “everything.” It was very clear that they all felt very motivated at the prospect of working together for a potentially modest Hope Channel in Iceland. In addition, quite a number felt drawn into a personal refreshed involvement with the church.
“I was very happy to meet every one of the enthusiastic participants in the course,” Børresen states. “There is no doubt they are talented, inventive, practical, down to earth, and at the very least, warm-hearted and friendly. It is not difficult to have faith in people like that. I want to thank them for some wonderful days together, and I wish them all the best and God’s blessings!"
The idea of bringing Hope Channel to Iceland, has been in development during the past year. With the first Media Training in Iceland, that dream is now one step closer to fullfilment.