In his introductory comments, Bishop Laptev of The Church of Ingria likened the battle with the dragon from Revelation 12:15-16 to resisting false information which seeks to captivate human minds and hearts. “It’s been a priority for the Church in all times to proclaim God’s Word. . . stand up against the destructive ideas of this world. In all times, there have been tools to do that—first, the Apostles’ preaching in the city squares, then Gutenberg’s printing press which was used to print Bibles, and today our main task is to master media space,” said the bishop.
Government official Svetlana Stanpakova, chief specialist, Department for Relations with Religious Associations, St. Petersburg Administration, said the local government is supportive of such activities and is willing to help spread best practices, ideas, and insights. She also proposed doing a press tour of different churches in St. Petersburg. A book with guidance materials will be published in follow-up of the seminar.
The seminar participants shared their experiences and best practices, discussed the advantages of different software versions, debated about rewriting, researched ways to draw out a silent interviewee and to resist the speech flow of negligent travel agents who cram tourists with unreliable information.
In her presentation, Bishop’s Secretary Yelena Novichkova stressed it’s important to make church excursions interactive. People are happy to sing a hymn together, touch an old stone, ring the church bell, have tea with pastry, etc.
One of the ideas put forward by Tatiana Ryumina, director of St. Michael’s Church Museum in St. Petersburg is to do an intercongregational Long Night of Churches similar to the Long Night of Museums. Another suggestion to reach out to those whom it’s hard to bring to the church is to create online audio guides using izi.TRAVEL, an open and free story-telling platform for producers to publish stories and a smart phone app for consumers to hear. This can be a way to introduce people to the churches, their history and current life.
Darya Shkurlyatyeva, head of the ELCIR Information Department, made a vivid and inspirational presentation about “road churches,” networks of churches in Western Europe and Russia that are kept open for tourists during the summer holiday season.
Leonid Zarkh, an experienced TV director who worked for Russia-1, 5TV, and regional TV channels, editor of a Koltushi newspaper, presented a very insightful overview of new information technologies, computer software, sound and lighting equipment and shared some of the script-writing, shooting, post-production and promotion techniques. He also discussed the basics of doing a live webcast using such software as vMix and OBS Studio and explained how to identify your target audience by using TargetHunter and CerebroTarget.
It was a great time fellowshipping with brothers and sisters in Christ! Many thanks to the ELCIR Theological Institute for its hospitality! We pray the Lord gives us opportunities to apply the knowledge we received!
Our special prayer is for the authors of congregational news articles. As Leonid Zarkh aptly noted, “An author is of great value today. There are many rewriters, not many authors. The value of original content has gone up a lot.”
Thanks be to our Lord for making this seminar possible!
Information courtesy of Darya Shkurlyatyeva
Photo credits: Irana Nadjafova (seminar’s official photographer), Tatiana Ryumina (Irana’s photo), Yekaterina Aleksandrova (group photo)