21 December 2021
SAT-7’s Persian language television channel, SAT-7 PARS, last weekend marked 15 years of broadcasting the Gospel into the Persian world. In a special video message for viewers, respected pastors, Bible teachers, worship leaders and other presenters reflected on the significance of the channel and the privilege of ministering to a growing Persian Church.
Watch presenters’ messages in clip below:
Revd Vartan Avansian emphasised the shared journey of following Christ that SAT-7 PARS has enabled presenters and viewers to travel. This is despite being separated by geography and despite the severe government restrictions on Christians in Iran. “We have learnt a lot from one another these 15 years,” he said. “We have blessed each other and been blessed by the Word of God, and we have grown in Christ.”
Revd Albert Aslan spoke of his joy at the growth of the Persian-speaking Church that the channel has helped nurture. “We are thankful to witness the growth of the seed in good soil to become a strong and mighty tree for the Persian world,” he said.
SAT-7 PARS was launched on 18 December 2006 as the second channel in the SAT-7 family. Its aim was to support the growing Christian community in Iran and among the Persian-speaking diaspora. It grew out of an earlier ministry begun in September 2002, when Iranian Christian Broadcasting (ICB) started broadcasting one hour per week on SAT-7’s Arabic channel. Over the next few years its Persian programming grew to 18 hours a week, and in 2006 ICB became a part of SAT-7 as SAT-7 PARS and began 24/7 programming on its own dedicated channel.
“SAT-7 PARS has been impacting and changing people’s lives for 15 years,” says Panayiotis Keenan, Executive Director of the SAT-7 Persian-language channel. “It is also a platform for viewers to express themselves to the world, and a voice for the voiceless, for those who have been silenced and isolated.”
Persecution a fact of life
Persecution on a daily basis is a fact of life for the channel’s viewers in Iran, as well as for a growing audience in Afghanistan. Many are in daily contact with the channel to ask for prayer, support and counselling to help them deal with the issues they face, and counsellors in the Viewer Support team are available to speak to these believers.
Many of the channel’s broadcasters have experienced painful persecution themselves, including some, like Rashin Soodmand, who are the children of courageous Christians leaders who were martyred for their faith. “We are honoured to have had the opportunity to defend the history, integrity and sacrifices of the Persian Christian community and its leaders,” she told viewers in the commemorative video.
Today SAT-7 PARS reaches more people than ever. Programmes are aired via satellite, and online via the SAT-7 PLUS streaming and download platform. This year, after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, SAT-7 PARS’ programmes and viewer support teams have become a precious lifeline of encouragement, teaching and guidance to the small underground church there.
The mission of SAT-7 PARS continues to be to provide inspirational programmes for Persian-speaking peoples, programmes that faithfully and clearly present Christ in a way that is relevant to the cultural, religious and political climate of the region, and to give churches and Christians there an opportunity to grow in faith and develop their leadership and ministry skills.
Watch 60-second timeline of the SAT-7 PARS story