Although a cool fall rain streamed outside for most of the event, spirits were bright, minds were eager, and conversations were lively at the 2017 Society of Adventist Communicators (SAC) convention held in Portland, Oregon, October 19-21. A blend of more than 250 professionals and students attended communication workshops, expert panel discussions, area media tours, special worship services, and an Adventist film screening — all geared toward “Building Bridges” of communication with other Adventists and within the community.
“My favorite part of SAC is the people,” said SAC president Tammy Fisher, communication director for the Georgia-Cumberland Conference in Calhoun, Georgia. “Social media is great for keeping in touch, yet nothing beats sitting around a table and talking, looking people in the eye, and connecting over work and the Adventist faith.”
During the Sabbath morning worship service, 919 new pairs of socks were collected for Portland’s homeless as attendees filled red shopping bags and 12 baskets with their donations. In this drive coordinated by Adventist Health, the donated socks were handed off to a representative in attendance from the Portland Rescue Mission.
“So often church groups arrive in a city for a convention, we gain knowledge and insight — and then we leave without impacting the local community in a positive way,” said Dan Weber, director of communication for the North American Division (NAD) and executive director of SAC. “We are so glad for the opportunity to partner with a local organization that is providing for the underserved population of Portland.”
Another highlight from the event included a panel discussion on crisis communication. The dialogue centered around the convention theme, “Building Bridges,” and addressed how several Adventist communicators have handled crises that have impacted Adventist organizations — schools, conferences, hospitals, and local churches. The discussion provided practical tips on how to navigate the unthinkable. Case studies included how communicators dealt with institutional closings, media inquiries, and tragedy.
The three-day event culminated with an awards banquet where almost 90 certificates were distributed to both professionals and students for communication projects in several disciplines: written word/print media; spoken word (radio/podcast); video (broadcast and web); design; and campaign (advertising and promotions).
“There were so many great projects submitted this year,” said Fisher. “I’m excited for the future of Adventist communication on all our media platforms!”
Fisher, who completed her term as president at the conclusion of this year’s convention, is ready to welcome new board members. “My dad always told me to be the best you could be, whatever you are doing. He also said that you are replaceable. I know the new board is made up of fantastic people who will lead SAC to a bright future.”
SAC’s new president is Libna Stevens, assistant director of communication for the Inter-American Division, with headquarters in Miami, Florida. Fisher moves to the past-president board role.
Next year’s event will be held October 18-20, at the new NAD headquarters in Columbia, Maryland. Visit www.adventistcommunicators.org for more about the 28-year-old organization and periodic updates on the upcoming convention.
is the assistant director of communication for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, Columbia, Maryland.
Southern Union | January 2018