2019 Convention: April 10-13, 2019 in Chicago

RCC/ACP Convention offers workshops, awards, plenaries and more

RCC (Religion Communicators Council) and ACP (Associated Church Press) will join for their respective annual meetings on April 10-13, 2019 in Chicago during their joint convention, “Seeing in New Ways: Possibilities and Perceptions.” The planning is being done by a team from both groups. RCC and ACP will share workshops, plenary speakers, networking opportunities, fellowship and faith expressions.

Registration for the convention – which includes all presentations, workshops and scheduled meals, and awards dinners – is $395 until March 25. Registration is open.


Wilbur Awards to celebrate 70 years in Chicago, winners announced for 2019

Religion Communicators Council honors 22 for work during 2018

NEW YORK — For 70 years, Wilbur awards have honored excellence in secular media – print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures – for communicating religious issues, values and themes. Since the time when they were first given in 1949, award winners are represented by a myriad of individuals, agencies, and networks. Past winners include public figures such as Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Morgan Freeman and popular films “Chocolat,” “The Help” and more recently “Hidden Figures.”

This year is no different. The Religion Communicators Council announced 22 Wilbur Award winners on March 8 for work completed in 2018. Contributing to an impressive legacy of uplifting and inspiring secular media, this year’s winners include Mitch Albom’s New York Times bestseller, “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven;” an A&E Lifetime television drama, “Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story;” Vanity Fair’s “Pope Versus Pope,” article on issues surrounding the Catholic Church; a stunning documentary by Irish national television and radio broadcaster RTÉ, “Jesus: Countdown to Calvary;” and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette who won in two categories for their in-depth reporting on the devastating shooting that took place at the Tree of Life synagogue, considered to be the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.

Other Wilbur winners include CBS News, NBC-WTWO TV, The Associated Press, CNN and several other contributors both locally and internationally.

The awards ceremony will take place in Chicago during the Religion Communicators Council’s (RCC) 90th annual convention. Winners will be presented individually crafted stained-glass Wilbur trophies during the event on April 12 at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel. Fr. James Gardiner, SA will host the ceremony and the program will be produced by Dr. Andrew B. Rawls. Phillips Theological Seminary, a community of teachers and students that offers online and on-campus courses across the US and abroad, will sponsor the event.

The Religion Communicators Council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949. Secular communicators enter work in seven categories. Juries of media professionals, coordinated by council members across the country, evaluate submissions on content, creativity, impact and excellence in communicating religious values. The award is named for the late Marvin C. Wilbur, a pioneer in religious public relations, longtime council leader and former Presbyterian Church executive.

See complete list of 2019 Wilbur winners below.

2019 Wilbur Award winners (for work produced during 2018)

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES print and online

MAGAZINE ARTICLES print and online

  • National or Top 15 metro markets (single article, series of articles, religion page)

    • Pope Versus Pope,” John Cornwell, writer; Vanity Fair, New York, New York

  • Commentary/Blog/Column


  • Fiction

    • “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven,” Mitch Albom, author; Harper, HarperCollins, New York, New York

  • Non-fiction

    • “Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs,” Beth Ricanati, MD, author; She Writes Press, Berkeley, California

  • Non-fiction

    • “Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks,” Diana Butler Bass, author; HarperOne, HarperCollins, San Francisco, California


  • Documentary (up to 30 min.)

    • The Secret History of Muslims in the US,” Negin Farsad, Zeyba Rahman, Hussein Rashid, Joshua Seftel, Maria Stanisheva; Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Smartypants Pictures & Animadocs, Brooklyn, New York

  • Documentary (30 min.+)

    • The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith,” Steve Sarowitz, executive producer/writer; Bob Hercules, director/producer/writer; Edward A. Price, producer/writer; Adam Mondschein, producer; Spring Green Films, Los Angeles, California



  • Drama

    • Faith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Story,” T.D. Jakes, Derrick Williams, Craig Baumgarten, Toni Braxton, and Judith Verno, executive producers; Larry Rapaport, producer; Vondie Curtis Hall, director; Laura Harrington and Stephen Kay, teleplay; Based on the Book “Prepared For a Purpose” by Antoinette Tuff; A&E Lifetime, Manhattan Beach, California

  • News Segment

    • The CBS Evening News: Sikhs in Semis,” Jim Axelrod, correspondent; Mosheh Oinounou, executive producer; Javier Guzman, senior producer; Sharaf Mowjood, producer; CBS News, New York, New York

  • News – network or national syndication (4-8 min.)

    • A Gift of Dance” Lesley Stahl, correspondent; Mary Lou Teel, producer; April Wilson, editor; Rand Morrison, executive producer; CBS Sunday Morning, New York, New York

  • News – network or national syndication (8 min.+)

    • 60 Minutes: Inside the Secret Archive,” Bill Whitaker, correspondent; Guy Campanile producer; Lucy Hatcher, associate producer; Craig Crawford, editor; Bill Owens, executive producer; “60 Minutes,” CBS News, New York, New York

  • News Story – local or regional

    • Making His Mark,” Sierra Hignite, reporter; Josh Lum, photographer; WTWO TV, Terre Haute, Indiana

  • Documentary (up to 30 min.)

    • Deconstructing My Religion,” Elizabeth Kineke, writer/producer; Elyse Kaftan, editor; Yuti Joshi, associate producer; CBS Television: Religion and Culture, CBS News, New York, New York

  • Documentary (30 min.+)

    • Jesus: Countdown to Calvary,” Hugh Bonneville, presenter; Gerry Hoban, director; Eric Luskin & Cynthia Fenneman, commissioning executives (American Public Television); Béatrice Aullen, commissioning executive (ARTE); Roger Childs & Ray Bruce, executive producers (RTÉ, Dublin, Ireland)

  • Interview

    • Religion in Life,” Conrad (Ozzie) Ostwalt, host; Jesse Jackson, guest; Kelly Hunter, producer: “Religion in Life;” Rob Gelber, general manager, AppTV; Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina


About the Religion Communicators Council

The Religion Communicators Council (RCC), founded in 1929, is an association of communications professionals who work for and with a diverse group of faith-based organizations in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing and development.

Contact: Shirley Struchen, [email protected] or 212-870-2402.


Religion Communicators Convention: April 10-13, 2019, Chicago

DEADLINES! RCC-ACP Convention Registration and Hotel Deadlines Approaching

Register now for the 2019 RCC-ACP Convention​


The full convention schedule and registration link is on the 2019 convention web page. It's going to be a great event with an amazing lineup of speakers, workshop presenters, sponsors and a diverse group of attendees.

Be sure to register by March 25 to get the best pricing on the convention. The base (Early Bird) convention rate of $395 will increase by $30 on March 26 to $425.

We've heard from the convention hotel - the Millennium Knickerbocker in Chicago - that our room block is filling up fast. Our special pricing ends this Sunday, March 10, so now is the time to reserve at our convention rate. Due to other events in Chicago no additional rooms will be available once our reserved block is filled.

See you in Chicago for our 90th Anniversary Celebration!


Religion Communicators Convention: April 10-13, 2019, Chicago

Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel – Historic Chicago Lodging

RCC and ACP have chosen a wonderful venue for their joint 2019 convention set for April 10-13 in Chicago. Enjoy the rich history and modern luxury offered by the Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago hotel.

The location is great. You’ll be close to Chicago 360, an observation deck with views of the skyline and Lake Michigan; the Magnificent Mile, offering shopping, dining, entertainment venues; and nearby Oak Street Beach where you can continue to explore Chicago.

The price is reasonable. Working together, the convention planners were able to negotiate a special group rate of $139+tax per night. That rate is good until March 10. Please make your own hotel reservations.

This 4 -star hotel has been operating in Chicago since 1927. Don’t miss the re-created, illuminated glass dance floor where famous dance acts in its early years performed. More than 300 guest rooms, the beautiful Crystal Ballroom, more than 18K square feet of meeting space are among the amenities.

Three dining options include NiX Restaurant, Martini Bar, and Library Tea Room.

Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, 163 E Walton Place, Chicago, IL 60611. Call 800-621-8140 for hotel reservations or book online.

Sign Up, Reserve your room, Book transportation – Now!

This year’s theme is Seeing in New Ways: Possibilities and Perceptions.

Registration for the convention, including all presentations and workshops and scheduled meals, and DeRose-Hinkhouse and Wilbur Award dinners is $395. Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago will host our meetings. All information and details can be found on the convention page.

Welcome new RCC members!

Vivian Rucker (Nashville) – Communications Specialist at United Methodist Church Discipleship Ministries

Teresa Faust (Nashville) – Senior Manager, Research and Metrics for United Methodist Communications

Michael Scandling (MAL) – Blogger at STAND League

Sandra Richmond (MAL) – Blogger at STAND League

Laurie Bartilson (MAL) – Blogger at STAND League

Wayne Hanson (MAL) – Blogger at STAND League

Isa Totah (MAL) – Blogger at STAND League

Rachel Quednau (MAL) – Graduate Student (Master of Theological Studies) at Harvard Divinity School

Jason O’Neill (Dallas/Ft. Worth) – Communications Manager for the Northern Texas – Northern Louisiana Synod, ELCA

Marlene Sweda (Nashville) – Senior Volunteer Recruiting Specialist at the Red Cross


Religion Communicators Convention: April 10-13, 2019, Chicago

“Extras” at RCC-ACP Convention and Welcome New Members!

RCC (Religion Communicators Council) and ACP (Associated Church Press) are having a combined annual convention April 10-13, 2019 in Chicago.

Each organization will have its own award ceremonies honoring the work of its members. The planning is being done by a team from both groups. RCC and ACP will share workshops, plenary speakers, networking opportunities, fellowship and faith expressions.

Professional development, networking, fellowship are important aspects of any conference. This conference is no exception.

Consider some of the enrichment and extras available.

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