January / February 2016 Update

Religion is a part of everything. RCC helps you talk about it.

Wilbur award entry deadline approaching

One way RCC helps people “talk about” religion is the Wilbur Awards competition. Through this annual presentation RCC recognizes excellence in the communication of religious faith and positive value through a variety of secular media.

There is still time for you to join in the “Wilbur Watch.”

Have you

  • seen or heard a program or newscast on radio or TV,

  • read a book, viewed a television program,

  • read a national, regional, or special interest magazine, blog or newspaper

produced by the mainstream media that you feel exemplified outstanding presentation of religious values or positive messages?

If so, take a minute to contact the producer, writer or publisher and encourage them to enter the RCC Wilbur Awards for 2016 (for work completed in 2015). The entry brochure and forms are on the Wilbur Awards page. The deadline for entries is February 5, 2016.

Member news

Selby Ewing (NY Chapter), Project Director, ON Scripture – The Bible for Odyssey Networks, passed on word that Odyssey Networks announces the launch of the new digital space for ON Scripture – The Bible™, used by preachers, lay leaders and students across America and across denominations. This new space is envisioned as a digital campfire, a place where anyone can come hang out and be a part of the conversation. Odyssey Networks CEO Nick Stuart (NY) is also an RCC member.

Mike Hickcox (MAL) and Communications Director for the Society of St. Andrew is the manager and producer for SoundTheology.org, a free, online audio archive of stories and recordings of faith leaders. More than 800 programs are available. See more details under Resources for Communicators below.

Joan G. LaBarr (Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter) was inducted into the United Methodist Association of Communicators Hall of Fame at their recent annual meeting in Portland, OR.

Professional development opportunities

RCC professional development webinar set for Feb. 3, 2016

Robert JonesOn Wednesday, February 3, at 1:00 p.m EST, Robert P. Jones of Public Religion Research Institute will be talking with RCC members about "New Results from the American Values Survey: Making Sense of the Changing Religious and Political Landscape in the United States." Robby’s presentation will feature hot-off-the-press data from the 2015 American Values Survey and the American Values Atlas – one of the largest surveys of American religious and political identity ever conducted, which has results for all 50 states and the 30 largest metropolitan areas.

To join the webinar, please log on from a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/4719485977 and take a moment to install the browser extension. You can also join by phone (for audio alone): +1-415-762-9988 (US Toll), +1-646-568-7788 (US Toll), or +1-888-974-9888 (US Toll Free). Use Meeting ID: 471 948 5977

Webinars are just one of the benefits RCC provides to members. If you have not taken our recent webinar survey yet, please take 3 minutes to tell us today what you would like to see for upcoming webinars.

If you can travel...

Registrations for the 10th Professional Seminar for Church Communications Offices are open. The seminar, entitled “Participation and sharing: Managing Church communication in a digital environment,” is organized by the School of Church Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and will be held in Rome on April 26-28, 2016. See the X Professional Seminar for Church Communication Offices for more information and online registration.

(Thanks to RCC member Brian Finnerty (NY Chapter) who is National Communications Director for the Prelature of Opus Dei for the information. The conference is organized by school of religion communications that is part of Opus Dei's university in Rome)

Resources for faith communicators


You can access a listserv of activists who are helping each other to help Muslims and Muslim/interfaith organizations deal with the current environment. It is called the CNC Islamophobia Google Group. Kalia Abiade runs it. Contact her at [email protected] or 312-970-0491 cell. Thanks to RCC member Bud Heckman (NY) for the info.

Voices of historic faith leaders can be heard at SoundTheology.org

Imagine sitting in a quiet room and listening to a conversation with Martin Buber, Joseph Lowery, Fred Rogers, and James Cone. How about hearing Reinhold Niebuhr, Peter Gomes, Charles Schulz, and Henri Nouwen? The closest you may come to that intimate and fascinating experience is listening to the programs available on SoundTheology. This online audio archive, with free and unlimited listening, is produced and managed by former RCC national president Mike Hickcox. There are more than 800 programs available and new ones are added weekly.

Areas covered extensively include civil rights, theology, church history, and church-and-society issues. The full collection is from many faith traditions, preserving audio history and making it available to hear today. If your faith group or organization wants to preserve important historic audio programming, get in touch with Mike at [email protected].

Convention News

Speakers, presenters, workshop leaders continue to be added as the schedule and plans for Faith-based Communications: Bridges, Avenues and Intersections are being completed for the March 31-April 2 national convention in New York City.

Latest details & registration are available on the Convention web pages and in the RCC 2016 brochure .

Make your plans now & be sure to reserve your RCC 2016 hotel room before rate deadlines expire.

Religion Communicators Council has reserved room blocks at three Manhattan hotels for the March 31-April 2, 2016 convention and deadlines for these special rates are approaching.

The Hotel Newton, 2528 Broadway, near West 94th Street, has a Jan. 29 deadline for the RCC special rate, although it will continue to accept reservations at other rates as available after that date.

The Manhattan at Times Square Hotel, 790 7th Ave. at 51st St., has a Feb. 22 deadline for the RCC 2016 rate.

The Hampton Inn Manhattan-United Nations, 231 E. 43rd St deadline for the RCC 2016 rate is Feb. 29.

All three of these centrally-located hotels allow for easy access via subway, bus or taxi to the convention’s meeting locations — the Interchurch Center on the Upper West Side; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in the Lincoln Center area, and the Church Center for the United Nations. For reservation instructions, as well as the updated convention schedule, speaker bios and registration information, please consult the 2016 convention page on the RCC web site.

Thank you!

BIG THANK YOU for many of the RCC members who continue to support RCC with your Financial gifts.

For the annual fund from October 2015: Katherine Kerr, Stephen Padre, Kelly Fanning, Ken Bedell, Jeff Huett, Monica McGinley, Brian Gray, Deb Christian, Robert Black, Fred W. Swartz, Pamela Burdine and James “Jim” C. Suggs; for scholarships: Brian Gray and Robert Black.

For 2016 annual fund: Jeff Huett, W. Evan Golder and Mary Anne Aktay: scholarship fund: Tony Spence and Mary Anne Aktay.

Memorial gifts for RCC scholarships were given in Wesley “Pat” Pattillo’s name by Philip Poole and Shirley Struchen.

Donate to RCC, a 501(c)3 tax deductible organization.

Your gift makes it possible for RCC to promote religious literacy in the news media and among people of faith.

Tax-smart way to support RCC

If you are 70 1/2 and older, your traditional IRA can make a wonderful tax-smart gift. A new law lets you actually direct up to $100,000 annually from your traditional IRA as your required minimum distribution. The gift must come directly from your plan administrator, and go directly to a charity such as RCC. It provides a wonderful way to use your required minimum distribution for a good cause and not have to claim the distribution as income for tax purposes. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact RCC Treasurer, Jim Cullumber at [email protected].

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