The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America is preparing to embark on one of its most ambitious evangelism initiatives with the launch of three new satellite channels to broadcast across its populous territory.
The new channels will join the family of the church’s Hope Channel television network around the world in sharing the message of hope and salvation in the three major languages spoken in the Inter-American Division (IAD), Spanish, English, and French.
“This is not something the IAD is doing for you, it is something we are doing together,” said Pastor Leon B. Wellington, IAD communication director, at advisory meetings held last week in Miami, Florida. The meetings brought together more than 60 communication leaders and media production specialists from throughout the IAD territory.
Inter-America’s Executive Committee voted to establish the three new channels during its business meetings held last November.
“For years, we have enjoyed the blessings of Hope channel, helping us to spread the truth of our faith, and now we have the privilege of having our own channels to reach every home in the Inter-American Division territory,” said Pastor Leito. It will take pioneering efforts to make the channels a reality, he added.
“Our main objective with the new channels is to present the gospel to our region in a culturally relevant context, provide opportunities for all language groups to minister to the constituencies, develop and expose nascent talents, and assist viewers who are seeking spiritual answer to their daily challenges,” explained Wellington.
Hope Channel Inter-America
The channels will be named Hope Channel Américas, Hope Channel Caribbean, and Hope Channel Français.
Last week’s advisory meetings were designed to determine the IAD fields on which to depend for programming and promotion, and to address technical operation issues and needs, said Pastor Wellington.
Hope Channel’s President Brad Thorp congratulated IAD leaders for establishing the new channels.
“As communicators who influence the Adventist Church, who project the image of the Adventist Church, Hope Channel is the window to the world as to who we are as a church, carrying the compassion of Christ through our programs,” said Pastor Thorp.
“We need good sermons, technical expertise in every story, in every report, and we need that element of compassion to come out to be up close, personal and compassionate,” he added.
Building a series of programs to fill three channels will be the first step before launching the channels, said Thorp. Normally for a channel to launch, there must be at least 1,000 programs in inventory available and potential for additional productions, he explained.
Hope Channel’s Vice President for International Development Kandus Thorp, Vice President of Production Gabriel Begle and Satellite Services Director Marcelo Vallado went over branding, content essentials, copyright infringement, key strategies for success, labeling and submitting programs, developing advertising underwriting support and more, during the advisory meetings.
Out of the 18 or so media centers throughout Inter-America, Montemorelos media center and Inter-Oceanic Mexican media center are the two centers that have been consistently providing programming for Hope Channel’s Esperanza TV, said Abel Marquez, associate communication director for the church in Inter-America. Marquez, who will oversee management of the three new channels, said most of the rest of the media centers will provide programming for their regions and will engage in creating and producing programs for the new channels.
The delegation participated in group sessions where they listed available programs and program ideas to be developed for broadcast on these new channels.
Freddy Jimenez and Giovanny Ramirez, television director and general producer, respectively, of Esperanza Colombia TV in Medellin, Colombia, were excited to see the vision and the new opportunities with the new channels. Jimenez and Ramirez were part of the team presented with a special award for outstanding work in communicating the good news of the gospel in north Colombia.
The advisory brings greater challenge to their on-going on-demand programming of seven series addressing the youth, prayer, worship services, health, Bible studies, and others and three new series in production, said Jimenez. “It’s exciting to capture the vision that together we can do something greater with the new Hope Channel Américas,” said Jimenez.
This is an opportunity to break the barriers of creativity, providing a fresh new approach to sharing the gospel without omitting Biblical principles, always sharing the same message in an appealing way for those outside the church,” said Ramirez.
Reaching those who do not know of the hope of eternity is what will drive the new channels, said Marquez.
“The possibilities are endless in reaching our populations in Inter-America through these new television channels,” said Marquez. “Having our programming at their fingertips on satellite, the web, cable companies and open channels, is very exciting.” The new channels, said Marquez, “challenges us to produce programs from our IAD headquarters office.”
Hope Channel Français
Hope Channel Français promises to become the premier French channel serving not only the French-speaking regions in Inter-America but worldwide, thanks to the collaboration between the French Antilles Guiana Union, Church Headquarters in Canada, and the Inter-European Division (EUD).
“We have seven [church] divisions in the world where French is spoken, and this collaboration would be most fruitful even with the cultural diversity,” said Corrado Cozzi, communication director of the church in the EUD. The EUD covers French-speaking populations in France, Belgium, and Switzerland. So far a new studio is being built in Paris to produce additional programs to add to the 500 programs they have in their inventory, said Cozzi.
The French Antilles Guiana Union currently airs 224 programs online for four hours a day and has the potential to increase to six hours of programming soon. Collaboration with this union will be key in making the new Hope Channel Francais a success, said Pastor Thelor Lambert, communication director of the church in French Antilles and Guiana who oversees the media center.
For Canada, pulling resources together, adding its four programs which air online, the partnership to launch the new French channel among the three organizations will prove to make a dream come true, said Daniel Stojanovic, vice president for administration in the church in Canada.
“In Quebec we have not been able to run a channel by ourselves, so this collaboration will make it possible to reach 12 million French speaking people in Canada and the United States,” said Stojanovic.
Fostering the development of programming for each particular region will be key in a successful channel, said Pastor Thorp.
“The emphasis to work together is not managing each other but management of the development of the program, coordination and liaison is what is needed,” added Thorp.
Financing the channels will be a challenge as many of media centers have not been able to produce programs because of set design, and additional staff and equipment needs, according to Pastor Wellington. However, this will not stop the spreading of the gospel in this evangelism ministry, said Pastor Wellington.
“It’s a step of faith,” he said. “We not only depend on our church organizations but members and friends of good will who are similarly interested in advancing the kingdom of God and can join us with their skills and finances,” said Wellington.
“This is the right time to reach the masses, a population which is becoming more technological and more skeptical and may not wish to meet in an auditorium or tent as generations in the past,” Wellington added.
IAD leaders hope the launch will take place later this year.
Under its global name Hope Channel Inter-America, the new channels will reach North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America through satellite coordinates.
For more information on the upcoming launch of Hope Channel Inter-America’s three new channels, visit interamerica.org
To view a photo gallery of the Hope Channel Inter-America Advisory, click HERE