South England Conference Communication Department report 2014
The Communication and Media departments organised the first-ever local conference of the Global Adventist internet Network (GAiN). GAiN is a General Conference global event, and it was a privilege to receive support in hosting this event on a local conference level.
With a mixture of international and local speakers, the presentations and workshops were of such high quality, that retired General Conference Communication Director Rajmund Dabrowski declared this to be the best-ever GAiN conference. Dabrowski instigated GAiN during his time in office.
At this event the GAiN conference was also being live-streamed and tweeted for the very first time. With a blend of keynote presentations and workshops targeting the needs of a local church, geared towards a better understanding of media and communication, the attendees left inspired, requesting that there be more training like this in the future.
The South England Conference website, in conjunction with the British Union website platform, continues to receive recognition and praise. As the site continues to develop, we see more and more people posting events and stories.
Statistics from 2013 show that there are nearly double the number of visitors to the site as compared to 2011. We can also see that these visitors stay for longer, and visit more than one page. Regrettably, there are no statistics for the old SEC website from 2012, but those from 2011 show an average of almost 4000 visits per calendar month.
Websites today can collect figures and trends from those using the site. These figures suggest that three out of four new visitors to one of our Adventist churches will have visited the website first. Therefore, having a website is crucial for all churches, especially the churches that rent facilities.
The news section of the website continues to expand, and the department is constantly ensuring news coverage of various events throughout the conference. During the 2014 Camp Meeting the website was updated daily, with news stories and photos from each day. As a result of training, both at the GAiN conference and through local church programmes organised by the director, there has also been an increase in churches submitting news stories on their local events.
This year the SEC Communication department organised a netAdventist website training day. The conference and the union are subsidising the costs of the netAdventist platform, and so the use of this platform is also being facilitated. The aim of the training day was to improve church use of websites, and to strengthen their internet presence in general using netAdventist web platforms. The British Union IT team lent its expertise, and skilfully navigated attendees through the training. Double the amount of people attended than were present for previous website training days, and the group had to be split in two in order to provide optimal training. This training has been visible around the conferences as local church websites are launched and improve.
The director continues to train communications leaders in order to help them fulfil their role for their local churches, so that these churches can better understand communication as an evangelistic tool. Ultimately, the better trained the communications leaders are, the more enhanced the local churches’ communication and media will be.
Communication and Media Director