Making God's Love Visible
Close to finishing a degree in Arabic, Pippa Giles jumped at the chance to be immersed in an Arabic culture while spending a week in SAT-7’s Christian TV studios in Lebanon.
“Although I was well acquainted with Arab hospitality from having spent some of my childhood and my degree in the Middle East, life at the SAT-7 Lebanon studios was something different!”
Pippa was struck by the warm interactions between everyone, from the cleaner to the head of productions, and by the “harmonious” interaction between men and women at SAT-7, something she had never seen before in Arab cultures. “There is only one word to describe the atmosphere at the SAT-7 studios,” she said: “family”.
Employees who had worked for bigger, commercial media companies also said the culture at SAT-7 was different: “At SAT-7 they are not purely colleagues but a community – where Christians of all denominations can work together”, Pippa added.
She saw this attitude worked out in SAT-7’s programmes. As Pippa shadowed the editing team, she noticed “a deliberate effort to ensure that SAT-7 represents the Christian community as a whole, and doesn’t favour any one denomination, Arabic dialect, or country.”
Another thing that surprised Pippa was how viewers are invited to interact with programmes, on-air or via social media, to discuss, question or share experiences. Watching the Audience Relations team, she also saw the care taken to answer the hundreds of messages received.
Being at the studio for just a week, Pippa’s role was largely about meeting and shadowing team members and putting her language skills to use (although most staff are fluent in English). It was an eye-opener though:
“I didn’t fully realise the scope of SAT-7’s work until I saw it in action,” she said. “Listening to the stories of the employees, reading viewers’ messages, chatting to children on the set of SAT-7 KIDS, and watching the filming of shows discussing taboo issues – these experiences just brush the surface of the huge impact SAT-7 is having in the Middle East. I left feeling encouraged and inspired to share my experiences with Christians in the UK.”