Religion Communicators explore faith communications and presence at convention
CHICAGO — The omnipresence of faith communications “here, there and everywhere” and mastering the channels for communicating those messages served as the theme of the Religion Communicators Council’s (RCC) annual convention, March 30-April 1.
The three-day event, “Virtually Here, There and Everywhere: Faith Communications and Presence,” was a multi-faith forum designed to enrich, engage, educate and empower professional communicators of religion and faith-based issues.
The conference provided an array of offerings for participants and online viewers of the livecasts and recorded sessions including skills-building workshops, thought-provoking plenaries, affirming peer groups and networking, improv and comedy options, interesting religious site visits, and dramatic presentations of awards for excellence in the profession.
The conference tackled the tough social issues of gun violence with films, a plenary and discussions. It also offered workshops on gender analysis, media engagement, social media methods, making podcasts, getting accreditation, seeing theater as communication, creating material specific to young people, building a blog, handling a crisis, and countering hate movements.
For a full of list of presenters, visit the RCC Convention web page.
RCC members elected the Rev. Bud Heckman to serve as president of the Board of Governors. Heckman serves as the convener of the Interfaith Funders Group and, presently, as a transitional executive director of Religions for Peace USA.
Heckman expressed his excitement about the future of RCC and a new strategic plan.
“RCC's new elected Board of Governors adopted a four-year strategic plan for the advancement of its work,” he said. “The plan gives a focus to the work in advancing the public's understanding of religion, as it works to foster the professional development of religious communicators.”
As part of the convention, RCC recognized excellence through two award ceremonies, the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards and the Wilbur Awards.
The DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given annually to active RCC members who demonstrate excellence in religious communications and public relations. For photos of the Best of Class winners and a list of all winners in each class, see the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards web page.
The Wilbur Awards, which recognize excellence in the communication of religious issues, values and themes in secular media, have been presented annually since 1949. Basic criteria include content, creativity, execution and results, but the ultimate criterion is excellence in the communication of religious values.
This year’s Wilbur Award winners included The Associated Press, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News, National Geographic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee), and WAND-TV 17, Decatur, Illinois. Hidden Figures, the 20th Century Fox production about the African-American women behind astronaut John Glenn’s historic space launch; Roots, the History Channel’s remake of Alex Haley’s portrait of American slavery; and black-ish, ABC-TV’s comedy about a black family’s search for cultural identity also took home Wilburs. Photos and the full list of winners are available on the Wilbur Awards page.
For more information on becoming a member of RCC, visit the Join RCC page. A special rate for new members is now available.
The Religion Communicators Council (RCC), founded in 1929, is an association of communications professionals who work for and with a diverse group of faith-based organizations in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing and development.