September 2018 Update

RCC awards and rewards

Begin choosing your work now from 2018 to submit for a DeRose-Hinkhouse Award. The entry submissions will begin in November. Remember, you must be an RCC member in 2019 (membership renewal begins soon!) to enter work for the 2019 awards. The awards are given for work done in 2018 and will be presented at the national convention April 10-13 in Chicago. More details to come! The DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards are RCC’s peer recognition competition. Learn about the DeRose-Hinkhouse Award Categories (PDF).

Make Marvin Wilbur proud! Who was he? Namesake for RCC’s awards presented to secular media who best promote and present the values of faith and religion in the secular media. It is time to start garnering entries for the 2019 Wilbur Awards presentation, set for the national convention in Chicago, April 10-13. It is a highlight of the convention! Visit the Wilbur Awards web page for information.

Resources and opportunities

Special offer for RCC members (Washington DC area) — The United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry, OC Inc., cordially invites Religion Communicators Council members to attend the 36th Annual Parker Lecture and Awards Breakfast for a special discounted price. The $25 ticket (half the standard price) includes a full breakfast as well as the lecture and awards ceremony. The ceremony will be Thursday, October 11, 8:00 a.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. Go to the Parker Lecture discounted ticket web page to purchase the discounted tickets. Dr. Everett Parker, for whom lecture series and awards are named, was a life member of RCC.

National Council of Churches (NCC) is presenting a Community Engagement Webinar Series that began in early September to provide constituents with resources and tools to develop a non-partisan get-out-the-vote campaign that can make a difference in their communities. Info available at National Council of Churches website. RCC member, Steve Martin (DC Chapter) is NCC Director of Communications.

Member news (and some FOR – Friends of RCC)

Glory Dharmaraj (New York Chapter) recently presented her research paper on “Social Change as Mission and Intersectional Sisterhood as Reflexive Influence: A Twin Story of United Methodist Women” at the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, an every five year gathering of scholars and theologians.

Linda Unger (New York Chapter) reported she was privileged to be a part of the Covenant House Sleep Out during which 104 stage, film and TV artists slept outside to show solidarity with young people facing homelessness and to raise funds and awareness for Covenant House’s mission. Story was published in Playbill.

Rev. Rich Peck (Nashville Chapter), editor of RCC’s last printed handbook, Speaking Faith: The Essential Handbook for Religion Communicators, was featured as an active alumnus from Iliff School of Theology in a story titled Rich Peck – Social Justice, Not “Just Theology” in the institution’s alumnae publication. Peck has had a distinguished career in communications serving the United Methodist Church.

Dr. Larry Ray Hygh, Jr. (Member-at-Large) has begun the next phase of his communications career. He began his role as Senior Communications Manager for the Los Angeles-based Black AIDS Institute in early September. Prior to that, Hygh was the Director of Communications for the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Rev. Eric Shafer (Member-at-Large and RCC Board member) was honored as one of 17 people featured in a program sponsored by the City of Santa Monica, CA, where he lives and works. Called “We Are Santa Monica,” the program highlighted the work of the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, where Shafer is pastor, to address the problem of homelessness among college students to help the 1-in-10 students affected to find housing. The story is titled Housing Homeless College Students: Pastor Eric and the Students 4 Students Shelter.

Bob Smietana (FOR), a former Wilbur Award winner and a speaker at the Nashville Convention in 2014, was appointed Editor-in-Chief for Religion News Service (RNS) in August. RNS is an independent, nonprofit source of global news on religion, spiritualty, culture and ethics.

Welcome to our newest RCC members!

Chapter or Member-at-Large (MAL) designation follows each new member name.

  • Stacy Lee Goforth (New York) – Associate Minister for the Interfaith Community International NY and radio show host of Goforth On Faith
  • Stephen Graham (New York) – Senior Manager, Programs & Communications at The Mary Baker Eddy Library
  • Chet Jechura (Washington, D.C.) – Manager, Digital Communications at Bread for the World
  • Cecily Millen (New York) – Membership and Communications Manager at Grace Church in New York
  • Heather L. Taylor (Washington, D.C.) – Director of Strategic Communications and Campaigns at Bread for the World

Chapter news

Kalinda Fisher at the Nashville Chapter’s September meeting

Nashville Chapter’s September meeting featured Kalinda Fisher, President of Advocate Market Research who shared how her company conducts market research and shares that with clients to achieve better communications with their intended audience(s). The meeting was hosted by the Islamic Center of Nashville.


Lunch at the Dallas Chapter’s September meeting

Dallas Chapter met in mid-September to hear Leslie Schulz, Web Curriculum Coordinator at the Art Institute of Dallas (AID), present a web design-themed program for attendees. The AID also hosted our meeting. Good web design, how to do that, what’s new or coming up in web design, what are better platforms and other similar topics were part of the discussion.


Washington DC Chapter started the post-summer season by requesting feedback via a 10-question survey to determine the best way(s) to meet the needs of the chapter’s membership. Results will be used in planning meetings for September and the rest of the year.

One more thing….

RCC will be a nonagenarian (that means it is 90 years old) in 2019. That’s a big milestone and a perfect time to extend your financial support to this interfaith professional association for communication practitioners. Donate $9, $90, $900 – you get the idea – to celebrate! Give in honor or memory of someone or just offer a gift. Donate online or by mail.

THANK YOU to those who have supported RCC, honored friends and colleagues

Your donation to RCC in memory or in honor of someone helps to support the work, vision, and goals of the organization. Following are the names of those who gave and those who were honored recently:

Annual Fund: Louise T. Heath; Casey Tom; Martha Mann, in honor of Jeanean Merkel; Tasha Sargent; Doug Cannon.

Scholarship Gifts: Susan Engle; Shirley Struchen.

Board of Governors meet in Chicago

Pictured are members of RCC’s Board of Governors who met “face to face” in August at our site-city, Chicago, to develop more of RCC’s strategic plan and prepare for the upcoming convention, award competitions, support for chapters and members-at-large, and other items needed to lead the organization.

In 2019 RCC celebrates 90 years as a professional association (1929-2019) and will meet jointly with the Associated Church Press (ACP) for the occasion in Chicago April 10-13.

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