New York Chapter

New York Chapter Annual Report 2015-16

Election of officers for 2015-16

President — Linda Bloom

Vice President, Programs — Mary Dickey

Vice President, Membership — Christie House

Treasurer — Shirley Struchen

Upcoming meetings

Please join the New York Chapter of Religion Communicators Council for lunch on Tuesday, May 24, when Hansi Lo Wang of National Public Radio will be our speaker.

Wang, a New York-based reporter with NPR’s national desk, represented the news agency at the Wilbur Awards dinner during the RCC 2016 Convention in New York, where NPR received an award for its coverage of “Pope Francis, Catholicism and His Visit to Cuba and the U.S.” He will give us some insight about how NPR produces its award-winning segments. Wang covers issues and events in the Northeast.

We need RSVPs by noon on Monday, May 23, to so we can get a meal count.

Please note that this is a date change for our May meeting, which originally was scheduled for May 17, but was changed because some of our members are away that week. Our original speaker for that day, comedian Susan Sparks, will now be with us in October.

WHAT:  How NPR produces its award-winning segments, with Hansi Wang, a New York-based reporter with NPR’s national desk.

WHEN:  Tuesday, May 24, 2016

TIME: Lunch and networking from noon to 12:30 p.m., followed by the program from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 125 Columbus Avenue (and 65th Street), second floor.

COST: $12 for RCC members and students; $17 for non-members.

RSVP: Please RSVP by noon Monday, May 23, to

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NY Chapter Audio/Video Archives

NY experiencing “growth in religious expression” Tony Carnes tells NY Chapter

By Linda Unger

Tony Carnes at RCC New York Chapter meeting. Photos by Ryan John Koch.

During its February meeting, the New York chapter hosted Tony Carnes, editor and publisher of the web-based A Journey through NYC Religions. The meeting was held at the offices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which will be one of the venues for RCC’s upcoming 2016 Convention.

Journey is devoted to exploring religious life in every pocket of New York City. A small team of up to four people sets out regularly to any given neighborhood or district across the city’s five boroughs: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. There they identify houses of worship, interview members and leaders, and record celebrations and events. In 2015, Journey posted 159 articles and 60 videos based on these neighborhood visits.

Carnes said Journey has had more than 31 million views in five years and currently gets about 900,000 views per month. He attributed the interest to what he described as the rapid growth of religion in New York City and the great “media opportunity” that growth affords.


Faith influence at Paris climate summit

The Rev. Pat Watkins talks about faith-based efforts on climate change and the U.N. summit in Paris with members and guests of the New York RCC chapter during a Jan. 12 lunch at the Episcopal Center in Manhattan. Photo by Bud Heckman.

By Linda Bloom, RCC New York Chapter President

In his September address to the United Nations, Pope Francis noted that harm done to the environment is “harm done to humanity.” Those who suffer the most, the Pope said, are the poor and marginalized.

The motivation for many faith groups to go to the Nov. 30 - Dec. 11 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – popularly known as COP21 – was to remind leaders of 195 countries of that fact and particularly to address the immediate needs of poor countries most severely affected by extreme weather.

Two speakers led a conversation about “The Faithful in Paris: Religious Advocacy During and After the Climate Summit” during the Jan. 12 meeting of the New York Chapter of Religion Communicators Council.


NYC Chapter focuses on ‘Building a Better Blog’

By Linda Bloom, RCC New York Chapter President

Panelists discussed “Building a Better Blog” with the RCC New York Chapter during a Sept. 22 meeting at the Interchurch Center.

To be a successful blogger, you have to tweak the writing process to improve interaction with an online readership, a panel of communicators told the New York Chapter of Religion Communicators Council.

“As writers, we like figures of speech, but search engines don’t like figures of speech, they like direct speech,” explained David Tereshchuk, a journalist and contributing correspondent for PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

Objectivity is not a requirement. The Rev. Jennifer Crumpton, who writes a blog directed at women of faith called femmevangelical, said that offering a strong point of view helps attracts followers. “I also find that the more political I get, the more my readership grows,” she added.


May meeting: Allen W. Palmer on “Media and Religion: People of the Book”

Allen Palmer presenting to New York Chapter meeting and luncheon.

Christians, Jews and Muslims all share common religious roots. The New York Chapter of Religion Communicators Council met with Allen W. Palmer in May to explore those roots with his multimedia presentation, “Media and Religion: People of the Book.”

A university professor for more than 35 years, Palmer’s academic work has focused on international communication, mass media and society, and the cultural history of communication. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Palmer was the Cardin Chair of Judeo-Christian Studies at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland; Director of International Media Studies in the Communications Department, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Division Head for the International Association of Media & Communication Research; visiting Fulbright professor in Kyrgyz Republic and Namibia and visiting professor in Benin, Mauritius and the Philippines. He is an advisory board member for numerous journals and academic publishers.

Panel reveals its Twitter tips to New York Chapter

By Linda Bloom, RCC New York Chapter President

A New York Chapter panel discussion on Twitter.

When the Presbyterian Church USA recently voted in favor of expanding the denomination’s definition of marriage, Jaweed Kaleem, The Huffington Post's senior religion reporter, was able to track exactly when the deciding votes were cast because he was monitoring a specific hashtag on Twitter.

It would be impossible for Kaleem to read everything in his Twitter feed – he follows nearly 3,000 accounts – but he keeps Twitter on “in the background” during the work day and checks his feed on his phone periodically. He keeps locked lists on Twitter, which only he can access, on people or topics to check for story development.

An information-gathering tool, a platform for action, a branding opportunity, a gossip meter – Twitter is a social media phenomenon that can be many things to many people. But how to best use it?


Making LinkedIn work for you

By Linda Bloom, RCC New York Chapter President

Kevin Ryan at NYC meetingKevin S. Ryan (, a former journalist for the New York Times and Newsday and expert on social marketing for business, offered some helpful tips to the New York Chapter of Religion Communicators Council Nov. 5.

More than 20 participants brought laptops, tablets and smartphones to the workshop setting at the Church World Service conference room in the Interchurch Center.

Ryan offered practical advice on how to craft a LinkedIn profile which, he said, should read like a conversation rather than a résumé.


"Give the Internet a Soul," meeting with Elizabeth Scalia, managing editor of

Our lunch meeting on Tuesday, April 15, featured a stimulating discussion with Elizabeth Scalia, a managing editor of, an online portal that promotes dialogue and offers "credible and balanced information about religion" to faith communities, academics and the broader public.

The group gathered at Opus Dei on East 34th. 

Ms. Scalia talked about her Catholicism as a "terrible beauty of a life." And that Patheos features Catholic bloggers with many perspectives. 

She discussed her book, "Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life"  The blogger of the Anchoress critiqued the "gods" of the internet and social media as shrines to one's self and an "echo chamber." 

Despite the internet's "evil," Ms. Scalia found comfort in Pope Benedict's dictate to "give the internet a soul."  

Interfaith Disaster Panel (from left): Peter Gudaitis, NYDIS; Lesley Crosson, CWS; Francesco Paganini, UMCOR; Larry Peterson, LDS (photo by Tara Barnes)

Getting the story out is key element of faith-based disaster response

By Linda Bloom, RCC New York Chapter President

Can faith-based organizations fundraise for disaster response without sensationalizing or stereotyping?

Is it possible to explain the complexities of a disaster to donors?

Does the public realize the depth of experience that faith groups have in long-term recovery?

Those were some of the issues raised during a March 19 program on "Communicating in Times of Disaster," hosted by the RCC New York Chapter at the Interchurch Center, popularly known as "475" for its address on Riverside Drive in Manhattan.


Father Dave and RCC President Jay Rollins share a laugh at Thursday's luncheon. (photo by M.B. Coudal)

"Begin at the ground up" to reach young people says Father Dave Dwyer to New York chapter

Father Dave Dwyer, CSP, of Busted Halo, delivered a thought-provoking presentation at the February New York Chapter meeting on how religious groups can best reach young people.

He talked about the vast differences between generations. Whereas in our grandparents' and parents' days, people were religious and not spiritual, today, the opposite is true.

People are less loyal to religious organizations. Father Dave said, "It works the other way too, organizations are less loyal to individuals."


Sara Michaels and Sarah Pulliam Bailey share a laugh at the November NYC meeting.

NY chapter learns about Religion News Service

Thanks for joining us on Tuesday, November 19, for our luncheon meeting with Sarah Pulliam Bailey, national correspondent for Religion News Service.

Religion News Service is a news agency reporting on religion, ethics, spirituality and moral issues. Before joining RNS, Bailey was managing editor for Odyssey Networks, covering religion through multimedia. She previously spent four years as online editor for Christianity Today. Her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN and the Chicago Sun-Times, and have won awards from the Religion Newswriters Association and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Our lunch meeting took place at the Mormon Temple Building, third floor, 125 Columbus Avenue (and 65th Street).

Video and Audio Archive of Past RCC New York Chapter Meetings

John P. Blessington and Liz Kineke

Paul at RCCNYC April 2011Executive Producer John P. Blessington and Producer Liz Kineke, of CBS Television's Religion and Culture Series, spoke at the RCC NYC Chapter meeting in April 2011.

Listen to MP3 audio of John P. Blessington and Liz Kineke

Arnold Labaton

Arnold Labaton at RCCNYC March 2011Arnold Labaton of Religion and Ethics spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting in March 2011.

Listen to MP3 of Arnold Labaton.

Rosanna Scotto

Rosanna Scotto at RCCNYC January 2011Rosanna Scotto, co-anchor of WNYW's Good Day New York, spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting in January 2011. Learn more about Rosanna Scotto at Wikipedia.

Listen to MP3 audio of Rosanna Scotto or watch videos below.

Rosanna Scotto, Part 1

Rosanna Scotto, Part 2

Tom Ehrich

Tom Ehlrich at RCCNYC November 2010Tom Ehrich spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting in January 2010. He discusses how religious organizations can use social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), blogs, e-mail, and new marketing tools.

Listen to MP3 audio of Tom Ehrich or watch videos below.

Your Church and Social Media, Part 1 with Tom Ehrich.

Your Church and Social Media, Part 2 with Tom Ehrich.

Deacon Greg Kandra

Deacon Greg Kandra at RCCNYC September 2010Deacon Greg Kandra of New Evangelization Television spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting in September, 2010.

Listen to MP3 audio of Deacon Greg Kandra

Paul Raushenbush

Paul at RCCNYC April 2010Paul Raushenbush of The Huffington Post spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting in April 2010.

Listen to MP3 audio of Paul Raushenbush.

Joshua M. Greene and Shiva Kumar

Joshua M. Greene and Shiva Kumar at RCCNYC March 2010 Joshua M. Greene and Shiva Kumar at RCCNYC March 2010Joshua M. Greene and Shiva Kumar spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting in March 2010 about using video for effective communication.

Listen to MP3 audio of Shiva Kumar and Joshua M. Greene or watch video.

Joshua M. Greene is an Emmy-Award nominated filmmaker and author of several bestselling books on faith and religion.

Shiva Kumar, an awardwinning media producer and director, has worked in commercial and corporate filmmaking for over 20 years.

Shiva offers tips on how to incorporate video to deliver your message.

Terry Mattingly

Terry MattinglyTerry Mattingly spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting in February 2010.

Terry directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and writes a weekly column for the Scripps Howard News Service. He also leads the website that critiques the mainstream media's coverage of religion news.

Watch video or listen to MP3 audio of Terry Mattingly.

Ansley Roan

Ansley Roan at RCCNYC Jan 2010Ansley Roan of Beliefnet spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting in January 2010.

Listen to MP3 audio of Ansley Roan.

David Gibson

David Gibson at RCCNYC Oct 2009

David Gibson of "ReligionLink" and "" spoke at the RCC NYC chapter meeting on Oct. 20, 2009.

Listen to MP3 audio of David Gibson.

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