2015 Convention: Faith-Based Communications: Connecting Locally, Reaching Globally

Wilbur Awards Banquet April 11, 2015

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Bob SimonWilbur Award winner Bob Simon killed in car crash

Bob Simon, a long time CBS correspondent and Wilbur Award winner died Wednesday night, Feb. 11, in a traffic accident in New York City.

RCC President Jay Rollins writes: "Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones as we mourn the sudden and tragic loss of Mr. Simon of CBS' 60 Minutes. He will always be known for his integrity and for giving voice to the marginalized around the world."

Here is a one-minute clip from Bob Simon's acceptance remarks at the 2012 Wilbur Awards.

See Remembering Bob Simon's legendary career at CBS News on the CBS News site to learn more about his career.

Religions for Peace USA Responds to Chapel Hill Shooting

Friend and Colleagues,

Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-SalhaIt is deeply saddening and disturbing to hear that three young Muslims were murdered yesterday evening in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and Ms. Abu-Salha’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19 were all high-achieving students and valuable members of their educational, civic and religious communities.

Although the police claim the motive of Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, is still unclear, the message to the Muslim American community is nothing less than one of racial and religious prejudice. Today we grieve with and pray for the communities and families most impacted by these incidents.

Read more on the Religions for Peace site...

Congrats to RCC member Macky Alston

Macky AlstonAuburn Seminary’s Macky Alston named one of "15 faith leaders to watch in 2015"

NEW YORK — The Center for American Progress has released its list of top “faith leaders to watch in 2015,” and Auburn Seminary’s Macky Alston, award-winning filmmaker and vice president for strategy, engagement, and media, is one of only fifteen selected. This recognition signals that Alston’s own prophetic voice and his ability to elevate others’ will continue moving progressive faith voices from the pews to the public square, and has the power to drive social change in 2015. The Center for American Progress stated that the leaders and faith advocates selected, “remind us how important faith voices are as we work together to create a more just and equitable nation.”

Read more on RNS site...

Chapels can be battlegrounds, but trend is toward use by all

Restrooms in Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel got an overhaul last year, including improved and expanded wudu stations. Muslim students use those for ritual washing before praying in the chapel. “We’re very proud of our wudus,” said the Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, a United Methodist elder and Hendricks Chapel dean.

While Hendricks’ restroom rehab caused no stir, Duke University found considerable controversy last month after announcing Muslim students would offer the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, from Duke Chapel’s bell tower. Before that actually happened, the university in Durham, North Carolina, reversed the decision, prompting more news coverage and counter-protests.

“The recent actions opened up a conversation, both within and outside the university, about plurality, interfaith engagement and theology, and also about the role of religion in the university and the centrality and nature of the Duke Chapel as a symbol of the university,” said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations.

Read more on the UMNS site...

Stephen Prothero to speak at April convention

Dr. Stephen Prothero is a key leader in religious literacy and will be with us Thursday, April 9 for the opening of our convention.

Dr. Prothero is a professor in the Department of Religion at Boston University and the author of numerous books, most recently The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation (HarperOne 2012), God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter (HarperOne, 2010) and the New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy: What Americans Need to Know (HarperOne, 2007).

He has commented on religion on dozens of National Public Radio programs, and on television on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, and PBS. He was also a guest on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, "The Colbert Report," and "The Oprah Winfrey Show." He was also the chief editorial consultant for the six-hour WGBH/PBS television series "God in America" (2010).

A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, he has also written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe.

In 2010 he was invited to speak about religious literacy at the White House. During 2012-13 he was a fellow at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History.

Prothero received his BA from Yale in American Studies and his PhD in the Study of Religion from Harvard. He lives on Cape Cod, and he tweets @sprothero.

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