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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Convergence in Church confab holds in London

THE 11th European Christian Internet Conference (ECIC) has announced the dates for this year’s meet slated to hold in London, inviting papers for the elucidation of the event.

The theme is “The Challenge of Convergency for the Church”. According to the President, ECIC, Juha Kinanen, who also said the steering committee invites webpastors, editors, webmasters and other new media professionals, especially from Europe to contribute their quota toward making the event successful and memorable.

He said that the conference to be hosted by Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, is scheduled for June 14-18 this year.

ECIC President noted that the aim is to exchange experiences about working with the Internet.
“We also seek to arrange co-operation in the area of this “new media” and past conferences have proved to be very fruitful and to fulfill a vital role for the Christian Internet presence,” he said.

The ECIC Steering committee, he further said, in a press statement made available to ITREALMS Online, extends an open invitation to all those who play a role in the Christian Internet presence in Europe, and hopes that the key personalities in the Internet field would be able to attend ECIC conferences.

The Conferences are not designed as “talk shops” but as “working conferences” For that reason , the number of participants is limited for each conference” he asserted.

Kinanen emphasised that the Steering Committee invitation for proposals, is aimed at making clear all aspects of the conference’s theme, including communion, education and mission.

On communion, he said that in ecclesiology the Church is defined as a community of believers but the new media challenges the definition of what a community is.

Online communities, he outlined, follow a different set of rules than face-to-face communities.
Issues such as does the traditional ecclesiological description of the church include the reality of online communities or do we need to adapt our theological framework to meet the new reality as well as could communion be complete if man do not have an effective online presence, would form part of the conference discussions.

On education, ECIC said, one important field of church activity is education, ranging from the traditional religious education or the teaching of catechism to e-learning.

As knowledge and education become more and more important in the information society, the church must fully explore the potential of the Internet.

Stressing, “If the digital divide is the border between the educated elite and the information-poor, then media education becomes an important task for the church” just as fostering media competence means enabling people to help themselves.

While on the mission of the church, ECIC boss explained that it is taking part in God’s mission to the world, describing it as not only reaching out to people who have not yet heard God’s Good News but also bearing witness and providing guidance within society, which includes a digital society.

In the time of media convergence, the church needs a holistic approach to deal with these challenges; integration of television, mobile phones and the internet and location based services.
Therefore, he noted that the conference will explore these challenges and try to search for answers.

Potential presenters, the President said, may submit proposals either for individual papers, workshops or for “Tell Your Story” sessions.

Individual paper proposals should include a one-page abstract and a one-page curriculum vitae. The abstract should summarize the argument of the paper, the sources on which it is based, and its relationship to existing scholarship, which could be sent the Steering Committee, ecic@ecic.info as attachment and has till March 31 March 2006.

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