PARTNERSHIP, PASSION AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NEXT GENERATION AT SAT-7’S EUROPEAN VISION MEETING
“It is a great privilege to invest in people’s lives when they are still young,” shared Rita El-Mounayer, SAT-7’s Chief Executive Officer, in the dynamic opening session of SAT-7 Europe’s Vision Meeting on 17 September. Ms El-Mounayer left Partners, guests, and online participants in no doubt as to a major future focus of the ministry.
In an interview with Jan Orskov, SAT-7’s Chief Operations Officer, Ms El-Mounayer shared how SAT-7 is revitalising SAT-7 KIDS, its Arabic children’s channel, and creating more programs for children and youth across the ministry in the months to come. She also outlined how the ministry’s social media work is booming and the video-on-demand service SAT-7 PLUS is meeting young viewers in their preferred way to consume programs – on mobile devices.
“To really see change in the Middle East and North Africa, we need to connect to and support young people,” said Ms El Mounayer. “If we do not start now, and introduce children to forgiveness and acceptance of each other, it will be too late later on,” she added.
It was clear that supporting the next generation, ministering to isolated believers, and inspiring women remain key priorities for SAT-7. Ms El-Mounayer also spoke to how SAT-7 is also investing in professional, young staff to keep ideas and energy firmly in the driving seat. These newer hires include Shady Francis, Arabic Channels Digital Director, who revealed during the meeting that, SAT-7 ARABIC’s YouTube has the highest number of subscribers of any YouTube channel for a Christian ministry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
“We can all be a part of this ministry with whatever we have been gifted by God,” shared Joel Zacharias Dam, a young professional working in production for the SAT-7 PARS channel and supported by Mission Afrika. “SAT-7 has become a testimony to me of how we can work as different parts of the same body,” he said after sharing how inspired he has been by what he has witnessed at his time in the ministry.
“The ministry has really lit a passion for me in supporting our brothers and sisters in the Middle East who don’t have access to the Church,” shared Kasper Breindahl, who was sent as a volunteer by Norea Denmark and is now a full-time SAT-7 staff member supported by them.
The SAT-7 Europe Vision Meeting, generously sponsored by Norea Denmark, recorded an all-time-high participation of in-person and online guests, including representatives of 20 German dioceses and faith-based organisations. The presentations from SAT-7 staff and Partners ranged from sharing the dire status of freedom of religion and belief, to climate change concerns. The conference sharing social, political, and religious dynamics across the globe that are impacting Christians and other minorities – and what our role as Christians should be amidst the challenges presented.
“We are a people of hope. We must continue to be people of hope in the midst of a world that sorely needs it,” shared Ed Brown, General Secretary of Stefanus Alliance in Norway, at the end of his presentation.
Mark von Riedeman from Aid to the Church in Need shared highlights from the organisation’s 2021 Religious Freedom in the World report. The report shared stark statistics including that 67 percent of the world’s population face grave violations of religious freedom.
Professor Claudio Fontana from the Oasis Foundation in Milan, Italy shared how the MENA region is warming at twice the rate of other regions, which is creating a vicious circle of negative impacts in the region. Professor Fontana also encouraged participants that religious leaders could advocate together to create positive encounters between Muslims and Christians in the region, saying, “The doctrine of creation scales mankind to its just dimension: custodian, not owner, of creation.”
“We are a partnership ministry and we can only achieve all we pray for if we do it together. So, it is crucial to have been able to meet together in person and online to reignite our commitment and our passion for this mission,” shared Kurt Johansen, SAT 7’s Executive Director for Europe and Asia. “Seeing the passion of our young staff, and a view of the strategic plans for the future, it is difficult not to be excited about the opportunities for this unique ministry to move forward despite all the challenges we have heard about. I would like to thank everyone for coming and contributing.”