October Update

Reimagining Religion 2018: New Stories, New Communities, January 26, 2018

Reimagining Religion 2018: New Stories, New Communities

A note from the RCC President: New venture

RCC seeks to highlight how, through storytelling, communicators are instigators for change. To do so RCC is experimenting with a one-day conference format with a cadre of respected partners in a regional setting on the West Coast.

RCC is a lead organizer along with the Religion News Association in offering a conference hosted by the Knight Program in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, Claremont School of Theology, and others.

The conference is 10:00am to 7:00pm Pacific time on Friday, January 26, 2018 at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

One of the biggest religion stories of today is the rising number of Americans who no longer identify with a particular religion. But disaffiliation is only one side of the story. The current period of flux also is characterized by people and congregations exploring spirituality and experimenting with new forms of religious expression.

For communicators and journalists, today's religious creativity represents opportunities for more complex and compelling narratives of meaning, purpose, and identity that will engage audiences. Participants will explore “reimagined communities” and new forms of storytelling.

Bud Heckman, RCC President

They will hear from leading Hollywood creatives (like Madam Secretary’s Barbara Hall), top religion reporters (like LA Times Jaweed Kaleem), and tinkerers and innovators on the edges of the future of religion.

Details on the conference will go live on October 26, 2017. There is a $99 rate for registrants and $25 rate for students.

Hope to see you there,


Convention 2018 in Atlanta

Planning continues: hotel site visits, sponsorships sought, more workshops finalized

Angelyn Current, Jeff Huett, Amelia Tucker-Shaw

Be sure to mark your calendar for April 5-7 in Atlanta, Georgia for Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication, RCC’s national convention. More details on the Convention web page. Registration is open.

The Convention “A” Team (Atlanta Logistics) members (l-r) Angelyn Current, Jeff Huett, and Amelia Tucker-Shaw were on site at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel to work through details to give attendees the best possible experience at the upcoming convention. The “A” Team members are all part of the larger convention planning team.

Sponsorships sought for Convention

Highlight your organization's services with Program Book ads or Sponsorship Packages. Details available on the Convention Sponsorships web page or from Cherilyn Williams, APR ([email protected]). Costs are reasonable and it is a terrific way to promote your faith group.

Lanette Hart

Lanette Hart

Another workshop session finalized: Leadership Communication in Changing Times (Workshop/Management/APR track)

Lanette Hart, APR, principal for Hart & Associates LLC in Jacksonville, Florida will lead a workshop to help communicators meet the constant challenge of managing change. Participants will learn what’s new, gain better knowledge of how change affects strategic planning, get tips for personal and professional leadership and more, more, more!

Read more on the Convention Schedule and Speakers page.

Looking ahead

Membership renewal letters for all members will go out by the week of Oct 30th.  One benefit of membership is the opportunity to enter RCC’s peer award competition. Start now planning your DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Award entries - DEADLINE is January 19, 2018.

Keep your eyes and ears open for outstanding communication of the values of faith in the secular media.  Wilbur Award entries deadline is February 5, 2018.

Welcome new members

Mat McDermott, Hindu American Foundation, Director of Communications – Washington, DC chapter.

Nathan Wilson, Member at large, Director of Communications at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana (we incorrectly used his middle name in the September issue).

Joan Gaylord, NYC Chapter, writer, editor, marketing with Joan Gaylord Creative.


RCC webinar videos available:

Toolkit for Ministry Post Charlottesville: A toolkit against racism has been produced and made available by General Commission on Religion and Race of the United Methodist Church. RCC member Selby Ewing is Communications Director for GCORR.

Member news

Rev. Steve Martin (Washington, DC Chapter) reports, “The Christian Century published another of my photos from Charlottesville. Grateful they're being used to keep this important discussion on race and nonviolence alive.”

Gregg Brekke (Member at large, Louisville) The Board of Directors of the Associated Church Press recently announced the selection of Gregg Brekke as its new Executive Director. His work in the field of religious journalism has encompassed many roles, including his current position as editor of Presbyterian News Service in which he will continue.

Rev. Ken Bedell (Member-at-large) has written a book on racism that was recently released by Praeger, Realizing the Civil Rights Dream: Diagnosing and Treating American Racism. He is now living in Colorado after serving during the Obama administration as a Senior Advisor in the Department of Education’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and has a PhD in sociology. See the Civil Rights Dream website for more information.

Rev. Eric Shafer (Member at large) will be honored on October 21 with the “Community Service Appreciation Award” for interfaith humanitarian service from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, recognizing his leadership with the Students4Students Shelter (formerly known as the Bruin Shelter) at Mt. Olive Lutheran, Santa Monica, California, where he is pastor. In keeping with the interfaith aspect, the Bahá’í Faith is the co-sponsor of the day's activities and 20 community service organizations will be represented. Wonderful to see the Mormons and the Bahá’í honoring a Lutheran.

Jenn Meadows and Allen James Bowen

Jenn Meadows (Member at large), a former RCC scholarship student and now Director of Communications for the United Methodist Committee on the Status and Role of Women in Chicago, married Allen James Bowen Saturday, October 14, 2017.

Give to RCC

Thanks to all who help support RCC through gifts and donations in honor or memory of others. Please join these who gave recently. Donate online on the RCC website.

Contributors to annual fund:

Jeff Huett, Douglas Cannon, Kathryn Kerr, Mike Maus, Tom McAnally, Deb Christian in honor of Shirley Struchen, and Anne Reimel in honor of Lloyd Householder.

RCC Update by Deb Christian, RCC National Past President

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

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