Religious Liberty to be Featured Topic at Crisis Publishing Initiative

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Persecution throughout the world is escalating, millions of Christians live with gross insecurity, and the concept of religious freedom as a universal human right is being challenged. The Christian persecution crisis is among the key topics at the Crisis Publishing Initiative Oct. 15 – 18, 2017, in Sopron, Hungary.

In a plenary session, a workshop, and two case studies the crisis will be examined from all sides by a religious liberties analyst and Christian publishers experiencing persecution.

The Crisis Publishing Initiative is for Christians in publishing on the front lines, as they seek to find the truth in chaotic situations and publish the information their readers need in order to respond to crises as those called to be light and salt in a fractured world.

Elizabeth Kendal, an international religious liberty analyst and advocate, will present a plenary session discussing the challenges of reporting on religious persecution with the discernment, wisdom, understanding, and courage required of writers and publishers seeking to be a voice for the suffering Church.

Kendal is an adjunct research fellow in the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at the Melbourne School of Theology, and the director of advocacy at Canberra-based Christian Faith and Freedom.

Since 1999, Kendal has published a weekly Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin to help facilitate strategic intercessory prayer. She is the author of two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today, which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and, After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East.

Kendal will also present a workshop on “Global Trends in Religious Liberty.” She will discuss how global trends have converged to create the “perfect storm” that forms the context for today’s escalating persecution.

In addition, case studies will be given by two publishers whose readers face persecution.

Gökhan Talas, co-founder and publisher of Miras Publishing Ministries in Turkey will present on publishing a Christian magazine in a Muslim-marjority country.

Talas is a professional graphic designer, writer and publisher. He and his wife, Ozge Talas, founded Miras Publishing Ministries in 2011, and began publishing Miras Magazine, the only Turkish Christian magazine, in 2012.

Previously, he worked at Radio Shema, Ankara’s only Christian radio station, where he prepared programs with the intent to spread the gospel. Later he moved to Malatya where five Muslim terrorists entered his church’s office and killed three of his friends, including the pastor.

“Publishing in the midst of communal fanaticism, fake nationalism and religion-based persecution,” will be presented by Joseph Benjamin, editor and publisher of Gujarati Christians magazine in India.

Benjamin publishes both the website and magazine versions of Gujarati Christians, and founded multiple adult literacy and vocational training centers for poor, rural women.

Benjamin launched the website in 2000 in response to persecution, famine, and floods in the area. Although created for Christians, many non-Christians also use the site. It provides evangelism content in the form of articles, prayers, and tracts. The high demand for additional content from the website led Benjamin and his wife to create a corresponding magazine Gujarati Christians in 2007.

Other topics to be discussed include how to cover the refugee and migrant crises, natural disasters, and war zones, as well as tools for reporters and editors, tips on how to stay safe, photograph crises, and deal with secondary trauma.

New one-day workshops on writing for publications and photography are now available for Crisis Publishing Initiative participants on Oct. 19, the day after the conference.

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