SAT-7, the Christian satellite television broadcaster watched by over 15 million Arabic-, Farsi- and Turkish-speaking viewers in the Middle East and North Africa, will hold its annual “Network” conference in Turkey for the first time next week (26-28 March).
During SAT-7’s international gathering of television producers, supporters and partner representatives, church leaders and SAT-7 staff from across the region will offer perspectives on events and share news of the network’s six television channels.
“We are expecting a record attendance this year with representatives from 26 nations,” says SAT-7 International CEO, Dr Terence Ascott. “I think the very significant turnout for this event, with people coming from as far away as the USA, Korea and Singapore, shows just how high on people’s agendas the Middle East and its beleaguered Christian communities now are.”
Taking the Network 2014 theme “Broadcasting HOPE in an era of hopelessness”, Dr Ascott will give a keynote address looking “at both the reasons why there is a lack of hope – even a sense of despair – and what it is that SAT-7 does to bring HOPE and positive change in the lives of our audiences in this troubled region.”
Whispers of hope
Zekai Tanyar, a Turkish pastor and former chair of the Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey, will lead daily devotional sessions and give his views on the past and present spiritual state of his country.
He says, “It is an immense encouragement to witness such gatherings in Turkey, when 40 years ago there were almost no printed books apart from the Bible. Now we are using mass media with the potential to reach millions and seeing the collaboration of the family of Christ across the nations!”
Mr Tanyar spelled out why Christian hope remains a vital missing dimension in a region which has seen hopes for change lead to disappointment in countries such as Syria, Egypt and Libya. He said: “The world nowadays is so interconnected even the youth look over the walls to other places and lose hope. But God is happy to meet people where they are. As they zap and flick through channels and sites, He can and does whisper hope to the soul. If that is where people are, then that is where the Church must be too; not to amuse its in-house audience but as a channel for God’s love.”
We will publish a further report from Network in April.