May 2017 Update

Member news

Rev. J. Bennet (Ben) Guess, a former RCC member who also served on the Board of Governors, a prominent civil liberties activist and minister has been named the Executive Director of the ACLU of Ohio. Guess will begin the position on July 1, succeeding Christine Link, who has served with distinction as Executive Director for 27 years. He will be based in Columbus, Ohio.

Rev. Eric Shafer (Member-at-Large), pastor at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, CA, reports the congregation is the site of the second shelter for homeless college students in the nation which has garnered lots of media attention (think a call from 60 Minutes). More info on the Mount Olive Lutheran Church website. Shafer has also been working to "resurrect" the Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council, which had been dormant for some years. Christians, Jews, Bahá’í, Mormons and Buddhists are active in the new group.

Casey Parrett, 2015 Convention scholarship recipient, graduated May 12 from Virginia Tech. She majored in public relations and received a bachelor of arts degree in communication magna cum laude with honors. At the commencement ceremony, she received the Edward J. Ewing Award for exemplary service to the Department of Communication. She also earned the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations, an entry-level credential from the Universal Accreditation Board, which also grants Accreditation in Public Relations. She was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, honor society of the National Communication Association and was co-president of the Virginia Tech chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America during her final semester.

Jackie Fuller (Washington DC Chapter) was recognized for her election as Vice-President of RCC’s Board of Governors in her faith community’s (Unity Worldwide Ministries) recent ministry leadership updates.

Job opportunities

Director of Communications, North Texas Conference United Methodist Church. Dallas, Texas location. See the position description for details.

More openings / positions / career opportunities on the Job Openings page on the RCC website.

Speaking of opportunities

Newseum offers First Amendment courses onsite and online

Are you based in the Washington D.C. Area? The Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute offers First Amendment Courses for religious leaders, civic leaders, educators and journalists. Scholarships are available, and you can also earn academic credit. Visit the Religious Freedom Center First Amendment Courses web page for details. The Fall application deadline is June 15.

Tobin GrantWebinar set for Wednesday: How to Use Data and Research in Religious Storytelling

J. Tobin Grant, will offer a webinar for RCC on Wednesday, May 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET on how we can and should use data and statistical research better in our religious storytelling. Grant is a political scientist at Southern Illinois University and a data specialist and contributor for the Religion News Service. To join the webinar, logon to: (preferred) or call-in to: +1-408-638-0968 or +1-646-558-8656 using 6913454656#.

September webinar to focus on social media

The next webinar is planned for September 19. Ryan Koch, Director of New York Office of Public and International Affairs for the LDS Church will lead a webinar with RCC members on developing an advanced game plan and adding techniques for your social media efforts. Taking Your Social Media Presence to Another Level will be the title. This workshop will take you beyond the basic ingredients of social media and into a smorgasbord of social media management, metrics, and strategy. Stay tuned for exact day/time/sign-in info.

New members

Welcome to Van E. Driessen, Director for the Christian Science Committee on Publication for New York. He will affiliate with the New York Chapter.

Also, welcome John C. Ackerman, Director of Media Relations, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, IL as a Member-at-Large.


In the last version of the Update, the publication for which John Thomas, III is editor was incorrectly identified. The correct title is The Christian Recorder. Apologies for the error.

Did you know? Info you can use:

RCC Board member and Professor of Practice, Department of Communications at Virginia Tech, Dr. Douglas Cannon, APR+M (Member-at-large), has surveyed RCC members about their jobs three times in the last ten years to see trends on what religion communicators do. At the April national convention, he reported that 40 tasks were measured in the last survey, clarified the distinction between managers and technicians to help build self-awareness of what religion communicators are doing, discussed changing priorities for top tasks from 2006 to 2016 and shared that a detailed report is posted on the RCC website to compare religion and secular communicators. You can read the RCC 2017 survey results on the RCC website.

It is possible to become a Sustaining Member of RCC which eliminates the need to renew your membership each year. Paying a one-time membership fee of $1,500 will make you a sustaining member. RCC currently has six members with this status: Mohamed El Sanousi, Douglas Cannon, Katherine Kerr, Ken Bedell, Nadine Monn, and Pamela Burdine. If you are interested, contact Executive Director Shirley Struchen.

 Make plans now to attend

2018 ConventionDoug Cannon, APR+M and Jeff Huett, APR are the Co-Program Chairs for the RCC Atlanta Convention set for April 5-7, 2018. The theme is Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication.


RCC Update by Deb Christian, RCC National Past President

PS: Please send any news to share with other RCC members to Deb at [email protected].

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