Lutheran communicators share how their tasks changed during the pandemic

LWF Council 2018. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay
LWF Council 2018. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay

Strengthening relations, welcoming new communicators  

(LWI) - Communicators from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches and related agencies, representing 18 member churches, strengthened relations and welcomed new communicators in four online meetings in August. These regional communications gatherings also served as a venue to hear about how the communicators’ tasks have changed or were enhanced during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Presenting an overview from the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region, Rev. Eugenio Albrecht coordinator of the communicators’ network in LAC said that during the pandemic some churches in the region managed to produce excellent outcomes with few resources.  

He shared that the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB) YouTube channel grew from 1,200 subscribers to almost 11 thousand during the pandemic, citing the same for the Evangelical Church of the Rio de la Plata (IERP), which went from 120 to 2,300 subscribers. 

He also highlighted the development of new communication training materials from the Salvadoran Lutheran Church (ILS). 

In Indonesia, a new phenomenon is surfacing with the increase of live streaming worship explained LWF Asia Regional Officer Tetty Aritonang. “Because there are so many live streaming services and recorded worship services,” she said “church members have a new, broader opportunity to choose worship according to their taste."  

The Lutheran Christian Church in Nigeria (LCCN) communicator and ALCINET coordinator, Felix Samari was happy to report the workshop opportunities for regional communicators and clergy during the pandemic. The LCCN joined with the editor of the LCCN Reformation Tabloid, Christiana Oche to organize learning opportunities for the church, further “connecting the church and the state through communications.”  

“Volunteer communicators in the diocese are growing and bringing stories to LCCN and this gave us an idea that this can be extended to the larger Africa region where communicators’ capacity can be developed,” Samari shared with the group.  

One outcome of the pandemic in the Central Eastern European region was an increase of parishes having digital worship, stated Agnieszka Tarnogórska communications officer of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland. 

“Forty of the 133 parishes of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland have embraced digital communications.”  

LWF regional secretaries participated and gave thanks for the work of the communicators and their gifts to the church. 

A vital part of the communion 

For the first time since COVID-19 restrictions limited travel in 2020, the communicators gathered online under the theme of “A Listening and Sharing Event.”  

In the past, the LWF has held joint communication workshops, training and fellowship with member church communicators in some of the regions. In 2019, Asia communicators met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for in-person workshops, and the same year, communicators from the three regions within Europe: Eastern Central Europe, Western Central Europe and the Nordic countries met in Strasbourg, France. 

A global network of communicators 

The possibilities for communication increased due to a rise in online conferences and meetings using online tools. 

“The future of the gatherings aims to collaborate with pre-existing communications networks in the communion and develop a global network of communicators, where experts can meet, share experiences and learn from each other,’ said Deacon Adrainne Gray, LWF Communication Officer for Communion Relations.  

Expressing joy and satisfaction to strengthening the communion with the communicators, LWF Head of Communication Rev. Árni Daníelsson said, "I rejoice over the good work that is being developed from your member churches and I encourage you to continue. We want to learn from you and we want to share what we have with you. We feel connected in sharing the news of the churches worldwide. Our hope is that this will bring us closer together as a communion of churches.” 

The next meetings are scheduled for 21 October with two time slots being offered to ensure communicators from all member churches can join and exchange ideas.  

LWF/A. Gray