Assembly communicators tell stories that engage the European church fellowship

19 June, 2023

Photo: Helena Theis/CEC
Photo: Helena Theis/CEC

Press Release No: 20/23
19 June 2023

Some thirty communication team members from Member Churches and partners of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) have gathered in Tallinn, to report on the CEC General Assembly, promoting the theme “Under God’s blessing – shaping the future”. The assembly is held from 14-20 June. 

A diverse team comprising news writers, video producers, photographers, experts in media relations and stewards is seconded by the European churches. Each day they are disseminating information and telling stories from the assembly.

Videographer and photographer Ulf Tjärnström, supported by the Church of Sweden to join the communications team, underlined the importance of storytelling in conveying what living, breathing European ecumenism means. “Storytelling is very much in our DNA—it’s one of the things that forms us as human beings,” he said. “Working with topics like God and eternity, we tell the stories that will capture the imagination of people and make them think.”

Karolína Karbanová, a communications steward from the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, is studying demography at the Charles University in Prague. “Over the last couple of years, I have matured when it comes to God and church,” she said. “I am happy that I am part of this huge and important event.”

Christiane Ehrengruber, who works for the Association of Protestant Missions and Churches in Germany, described what it’s been like to gather visual stories and compile videos for the CEC assembly. “Our stories answer the questions: What is the connection in all of this? How is this making an impact on the atmosphere — and on questions of peace and war? And, of course, on youth!”

Story telling is at the heart of CEC Assembly 

Samuel Pfeffer, a freelance video producer and photographer who partly began his career with the Protestant Church in Baden in Germany, said that enthusiasm is high, particularly among the youth at the assembly. “At the Youth Gathering, you could really feel the motivation — that was really great, and there are lot more stories that we are going to tell,” he said.

It is the people that are at the centre of every story, Pfeffer added. “There are people from many different backgrounds, and with different ideas of how things should work,” he said. “If you ask the right questions, you get the answers that tell the stories.”

Ehrengruber agreed that in addition to conveying what happens at the assembly each day, the job of the communications team is to also tell the stories of individuals and the newly formed friendships. “There is a lot of keeping the ear to the ground and hearing the grass grow,” she said.

Susan Kim, who is serving as a news writer with support from the World Council of Churches, reflected that the diversity and camaraderie among the communicators not only enriched the storytelling but made each day a fresh adventure.

“As we tried to harvest the many voices of European churches, we were blessed by being able to work together and get to know one another amid the busy assembly proceedings,” said Kim. “Working with the young and young-at-heart communicators was inspiring and moving, bringing a sense of joy and hope for change in spite of being immersed in communicating about the grave challenges of the world.”

Albin Hillert, who served a photographer seconded by the World Council of Churches, said, “The professionalism and energy of the team working to communicate this assembly — but also the collaboration with others helping to make the assembly happen — has made it a joy to contribute my small part to the work, particularly to convey through images the fellowship and the commitment with which churches are gathered here.”

“It’s a pleasure working with the such talented communicators,” said Naveen Qayyum, CEC Communication Officer. “They have their hands on the pulse of the church. Inspired by the CEC Assembly theme, they have highlighted important topics that concern European churches. “Our communications team manifests the beautiful diversity of a church fellowship that is CEC.”

The communication team members represent various confessions and regions.

Discover content from the 2023 CEC General Assembly communications team:

For more information or an interview, please contact:

Naveen Qayyum
Communication Officer
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 486 75 82 36
Twitter: @ceceurope
YouTube: Conference of European Churches
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