Passion, honesty keys for creatives

Friday, July 12, 2019
Award recipient encourages digital disciples: use Gabe Reynaud’s “trailblazing” spirit to tell stories that matter

Faithful creatives should use the “trailblazing” spirit of pioneering filmmaker Gabe Reynaud to tell stories that matter, says the recipient of Manifest’s most prestigious award.

Pr Wes Tolhurst’s faith in following a calling from pastor of the Written to the Created Word of God and his demonstration of excellence in faithful creativity saw him named as recipient of the Gabe Reynaud Award this year.

In a video message screened during the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia’s Digital Discipleship Conference on July 6, the Gold Coast-based filmmaker paid tribute to late father Athal “who inspired me to see the beauty in this world that God has put there for us” and wife Melissa “for taking the leap of faith with me three-and-a-half years ago.” He also thanked Reynaud’s wife, Andrea, and children Shannon, Ebony and Brittany “for releasing Gabe to tell the stories that were so often far from home, and for gifting his unique creative abilities as a legacy for Adventist creatives in the future.”

Tolhurst described Reynaud, a mentor, as being passionate about the stories he told through his filmmaking and about his opinions. “And he wasn’t afraid to tell things as they were. He wasn’t afraid to be honest.” Tolhurst’s experience, particularly the viral response to a home video shot to promote son Finn’s beekeeping enterprise, had showed that “the world is really thirsty for stories, storytellers and artists that are passionate and honest. Because I do believe that it’s artists who change a culture long before administrators and legislators ratify ideas.”

Addressing the digital disciples at the conference, Tolhurst, on a shoot in Western Australia at the time, told them “there’s never been a better time to launch your vision. . . . God didn’t call a denomination. He called you. So, don’t wait for someone else to say, ‘OK, let’s do this,’ or to legitimise your message, it’s God’s calling you should be listening to.”

Gabe Reynaud Award
Manifest is an Adventist Church in the South Pacific-led movement exploring, encouraging and celebrating faithful creativity. Its Gabe Reynaud Award honour list includes artist Joanna Darby, academic, composer and writer Dr Robert Wolfgramm, the interactive, outdoor drama Road to Bethlehem, clown, storyteller and trainer Graeme Frauenfelder, entrepreneur and publisher Jeremy Dixon, children’s minister Pr Daron Pratt, singer/songwriter Melissa Otto, and children’s ministry and production creatives Rod and Zan Long.

Wes Tolhurst accepts Gabe Reynaud Award

Gabe Reynaud Award recipient Pr Wes Tolhurst produced a video recorded message to share with delegates at the 2019 Digital Discipleship Conference.


Gabe Reynaud

Gabe Reynaud is the Adventist Church’s first professionally trained film director. He eventually became Senior Producer at the then Adventist Media Centre and pioneered a filmmaking unit at his alma mater Avondale College of Higher Education. His work as a faithful creative, including Keepers of the Flame, The Search, Digging Up the Past and Chasing Utopia, won a number of international awards. Reynaud died in a motorbike accident in September 2000. His vision, according to brother Daniel: for the church to recognise the power of art not to preach but testify to God’s wonder and awe and mystery, and for artists to use their talents in all genres to testify to a God who is the embodiment of creativity.




Brenton Stacey

Twitter Staff Profile

Brenton is Avondale University College’s Public Relations Officer. He brings to the role a decade’s experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities. He is also co-convenor of Manifest, a movement exploring, encouraging and celebrating #faithfulcreativity in the Adventist Church.

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