Christian satellite TV affected by Cyprus banking crisis

SAT-7 says its financial difficulties have been "aggravated" by the banking crisis affecting Cyprus.

The Christian satellite channel's international office is based in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, where the banks are only just reopening after nearly two weeks of forced closure.

The organisation admitted to supporters at its Network 2013 conference last week that it is exploring new strategies for income generation as a result of increasing financial challenges.

Dr Terence Ascott, SAT-7's Chief Executive, "For four years we've operated with a flat budget which has been very challenging. Now if we don't significantly increase our support we will be unable to sustain our programmes at their current levels."

Despite the financial struggles, supporters heard how the channel is being used to promote reconciliation and strengthen the faith of suffering Christians at a time of unprecedented upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa.

Dr Ascott said people were "more open to new ideas at a time of turbulence".

SAT-7 is "providing a platform for important Christian messages of reconciliation and forgiveness in the midst of violence and people's personal pain", he said.

Rev Dr Sameh Maurice, Senior Pastor of Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church, in Cairo, Egypt, was due to be the keynote speaker but a last minute visa problem prevented him from attending in person.

In a keynote address by video, he highlighted how God has been at work in the unrest since the Egyptian revolution at the start of 2011.

"People have been thinking in a new way," he said. Comparing the situation to Hebrews 12:26-28, he said,
"God is shaking the people to revise their thinking. God is unmasking the truth and people are seeing the difference between light and dark."

He continued: "God is opening the doors! God is breaking down the walls. God is calling millions to discover the truth in the face of Christ."

The Executive Director for SAT-7's Arabic channels, Rita Elmounayer shared how the network's Lebanese staff have started a new live programme, Just For You, aimed at suffering Syrians despite the historic animosity between the two countries.

SAT-7 TURK Executive, Melih Ekener, told of unexpected levels of interest shown by secular media outlets in the SAT-7 TURK news portal reports about Christians in the region.

SAT-7 TURK has just launched 24-hour-a-day web broadcasts and is planning to seek permission in June for a frequency on the state-owned TURKSAT satellite.