Use Publishing for Mission,
Adventist Editors Told
Church publishing leaders meet in Nampa, Idaho, U.S.A.
By Nathan Brown, Editor, Australian Union Record
Adventist editors worldwide were challenged to use their variouspublications to more effectively contribute to the mission of the church. This was a key emphasis emerging from the World Council of Editors, a gathering of Seventh-day Adventist publishing leaders, held May 5 to 8, in Nampa, Idaho, United States, home of the Pacific Press Publishing Association.
A group of 40 editors from 20 nations shared experiences and perspectives in what church leaders recognize as a specialized field of ministry.
EDITORS GATHER: An estimated 40 Seventh-day Adventist editors from 20 nations met in Nampa, Idaho, United States, for a World Editor’s Conference.The conference “emphasizes the unique role editors play,” said Howard Faigao, Publishing Ministries director of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “They occupy a very sensitive and important role within the church. To some degree, editors set a direction for the church, because often the written word is more forceful for what is said.”
The gathering specifically focused on the work of the church’s evangelistic magazines, but, Faigao emphasized, the council was planned to facilitate the sharing of ideas, concerns, and vision across the spectrum of the editor’s ministry.
“Many of our editors face the challenge of isolation,” Faigao explained. “Some of them have expressed that once every five years is not often enough for such meetings, and they would like to see better connections between our editors. Some editors are feeling that less attention is given to them by church leadership in terms of priorities, funding, training, and focus. But our editors work in a rapidly changing communications market. There are challenges in meeting the many needs within society.”
Ted Wilson, a general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, also recognizes the important role editors play within Adventist Church ministry: “Editors serve as important channels for information, and more than that, they are creators of concepts and ways in which the Adventist Church relates to its mission, its theology, and to personal growth,” he said.
“So the reason to get together is to help exchange ideas professionally and spiritually, but more importantly, to help the church focus in a more proactive way on the important things that editors can do to help the church achieve its goals. We need to keep working together,” Wilson, a former president of the church-owned Review and Herald Publishing Association, added.
PUBLISHING LEADER: The conference “emphasizes the unique role editors play,” said Howard Faigao, publishing director of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.Dale Galusha, Pacific Press president, said the publishing house was happy to host the meetings: “We hope the interaction we had will strengthen all our publishing houses. Hosting it at a publishing house gives more of a feel that this is designed for people who are working in this hands-on ministry.”
Faigao added, “As well as hearing stories from other editors, it is also beneficial to see the actual process that a major publishing house works through. Perhaps half of our editors here would not have experienced how a large publishing house produces literature.”
Recommendations coming from the meetings included the development of better systems for training, mentoring, and encouraging new editors within the church. Participants also discussed possibilities for greater cooperation between church publications around the world.
Randy Fishell, Guide magazine editor, provided a concrete example of how this can be possible. “Guide is a significant part of the Adventist heritage in [the United States], and we want to extend those benefits as far as possible,” Fishell said. “Under publishing agreements, digital files will be made available for use by other church publishing houses around the world, providing a meaningful periodical for elementary-age kids.” He has received interested responses from publishing houses in places such as the United Kingdom, Zambia, Hungary, and Mexico. “This was a very good forum to make that announcement,” he declared.
The cooperation between the North American and South Pacific editions ofSigns of the Times was also highlighted as providing a model that could be adopted by other publishing houses—sharing material and resources, while adapting the publications to the different cultures they are trying to reach.
“Compared to previous meetings, this time we have had the technical means to accomplish some of the things we have talked about in the past,” said Paulo Sergio Macedo, from Portugal. “And it is good to worship together. The spiritual focus has been good.”
MEETING TOGETHER: Richard Elofer, at left, director of Chaim V’Shalom (Life and Peace) Publishing House in Jerusalem, meets with Eli Diez-Prida of Germany’s Advent Verlag.“It’s a great opportunity to learn from others, and it is a good chance to build contacts that can continue to help,” said Akinori Kaibe from the church’s Japan Publishing House.
Earlymay Chibende, a Zambian editor, described the meetings as “a major professional boost in my role as editor,” adding, “Meeting many of my fellow editors has been so helpful. I now feel more confident in doing what I do with more direction.”
A Hungarian Adventist editor enjoyed the opportunity for fellowship, she said.
“I was quite discouraged before coming here,” Krisztina Zarkane Teremy admitted. “I come from a small publishing house, and we have lots of problems, but this has been a good encouragement, and I have received lots of good ideas. It is good to meet together, and we strengthen each other. It is good to know what is happening in other parts of the world. I enjoyed every second,” she said.
“I think the most important thing is the possibility to talk with my colleagues and to share my viewpoints,” added Alejandro Medina Villarreal, editor at the church’s publishing house in Mexico. “I was probably not as aware of the importance of what I do. We can be a very great blessing to the church. But our work is often very alone. I am a pastor, but I do not see my members so often. But here I am part of a team.”
“I think we will have made progress in how we can work together as an editorial team to pursue our common mission, through a networking of ideas,” Faigao said. “We expect that our editors will go home with a bigger vision for their publishing ministry.”