Entry deadline nears for 2018 Wilbur Awards

Religion Communicators Council to accept submissions until Feb. 5.

Wilbur Award trophyEntries for the 2018 Wilbur Awards are arriving at the Religion Communicators Council office in New York City as the February 5 deadline approaches. Secular communicators are encouraged to submit their best work produced in 2017 for consideration in one of the oldest award programs in religion communication.

Work may be entered in MANY categories including: Web-based communication, books, feature films, photography, newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Juries of media professionals coordinated by RCC members across the country evaluate submissions on content, creativity, impact and excellence in communicating religious values.

The council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949. They honor excellence by individuals in secular media – print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures – in communicating religious issues, values and themes. Winners in 2017 included 20th Century Fox - "Hidden Figures"; Woman's Day Magazine - "Winning at Life"; The Associated Press - "Divided America"; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - "Silent Sanctuaries"; The Commercial Appeal - "Faith Matters"; Unity Productions - "American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction"; CBS-TV Sunday Morning - "The Harmony Project"; ABC Television - "black-ish"; and National Geographic - "The Story of God with Morgan Freeman" along with documentary filmmakers, bloggers, and book authors.

The 2018 awards are to be presented April 7 in Atlanta, GA, during the council's national convention. Winners receive a handcrafted stained-glass trophy and national recognition for their work.

The award is named for the late Marvin C. Wilbur, a pioneer in religious public relations and longtime council leader. For more information on the Wilbur competition or entry details, go to the Wilbur Awards page on the RCC website.

About the Religion Communicators Council

RCC logoThe Religion Communicators Council is an interfaith association of more than 400 religion communicators working in print and electronic communication, advertising, and public relations. Members represent Bahá’í, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim faith communities. Founded in 1929, the council is the oldest public relations professional association in the United States.

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


2018 convention engages how faith communities use public relations

Atlanta — One of the plenary panels during the 2018 Religion Communicators Council (RCC) National Convention will demonstrate how faith groups have used advertising and public relations to reach key populations since the 19th century. The meeting runs April 5-7.

Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication is the theme of the three-day event at the Sheraton Atlanta. One highlight on the meeting schedule is a visit to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.


‘Engaging the wider community’ on religious topics

By Linda Bloom

David Gibson at New York Chapter meeting (photo by Ryan Koch)

David Gibson, the well-known Religion News Service reporter, recently spoke with members of the Religion Communicators Council’s New York Chapter about his new position as director of the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture.

He was part of the chapter’s Nov. 21 lunch meeting in the offices of United Methodist Women at the Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Dr.

According to its website, the center, based at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, “explores the complex relationship between religion and contemporary life in a manner that advances beyond the caricatures and misapprehensions that often form public perceptions and color media coverage about faith issues.”


“FAITH ON THE FRONTLINES” to be broadcast December 3 on CBS

Photo by RCC member Steven D. Martin

FAITH ON THE FRONTLINES, a CBS Interfaith Special, looks at the interfaith clergy movement that has vowed to take on white supremacy. This special broadcast will air Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017 (check local listings ) on the CBS Television Network.

As the Charlottesville, Virginia city council discussed plans to remove confederate statues from local parks, tension within the community was mounting. In May and July, two separate demonstrations by white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members inspired counter-protests by local activists, including clergy. This summer, as word got out about the size and scope of an upcoming white supremacist Unite the Right rally, local faith leaders quickly mobilized and formed Congregate Charlottesville. In addition to non-violent direct action training, the group invited national faith leaders and lay people from around the country to join them in their counter-protest against white supremacy. On August 12, the Unite the Right rally ended in the death of a 32-year-old woman and two police officers.


Workshops at spring 2018 convention to help Religion Communicators polish skills

ATLANTA, Georgia – Fifteen professional development workshops during the 2018 Religion Communicators Council National Convention will help faith-based communicators enhance their management, storytelling and interpretive skills. The meeting runs April 5-7 in Atlanta.

Meeting participants can choose from workshops covering multi-religious activism, copyright laws, media monitoring, branding and design, crisis communication, and planning for the “We Are Sikhs” national public service announcement campaign. The 15 workshops are organized into three five-session tracks:

  • Management — Sessions related to public relations as a management function and the subjects tested on the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations.

  • Communication techniques — Sessions designed to improve storytelling skills and abilities to engage key publics through various media.

  • Interfaith issues — Sessions that examine roles communicators play in promoting religious literacy, fostering understanding of various faith traditions and cultivating relations between people of differing faiths.

Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication is the theme of the three-day event at the Sheraton Atlanta. One highlight on the meeting schedule is a visit to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

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