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Report from the 2018 Parliament of Religions

By Patrick Horn*

The oldest and largest interfaith institution, the Parliament of World’s Religions, convened in Toronto to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the inaugural event at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

Over 8,000 people from 220 faith traditions gathered for seven days of dialogue, ritual, and music that celebrated diversity, inclusion, and a more peaceful, just, and sustainable society.

Speakers included Interfaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel, author Karen Armstrong, ecofeminist Dr. Vandana Shiva, and a thousand panel presentations on topics ranging from the environment to indigenous rights, empowering women and youth, and countering violence and hate.

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DeRose-Hinkhouse Award deadline: Jan. 24, 2019

2019 DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards – Open for Entries

November 8, 2018

Dear RCC members,

The DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards entries are open! Make sure to renew your RCC membership and guarantee your eligibility for the DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards for excellence in religion communication. As you renew, think about the great work you have created this past year and enter it for an award:

  • What projects are you most proud of?

  • What resources did you create that were really helpful?

  • What was your most creative, innovative communications tool of 2018?

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Entry period opens for 2019 Wilbur Awards

Religion Communicators Council to accept submissions until February 6.

Wilbur Award trophyNEW YORK — The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) is accepting entries for the 2019 Wilbur Awards. Secular communicators have until February 6 to submit work produced during 2018 for consideration in one of the oldest recognition programs in religion communication.

The Council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949, 70 years! They honor excellence by individuals in secular media – print and online journalism, books, blogs, radio, podcasts and television, movies and photography – in communicating religious issues, positive values, and themes.

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Religion Communication Congress 2020 Welcomes New Leadership

Fr. James (Jim) Gardiner

Fr. James (Jim) Gardiner has been named the Chair of Religion Communication Congress 2020. Currently the director of special projects at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., Jim is a Bronx-born Franciscan Friar of the Atonement (Graymoor). A graduate of St. Pius X Seminary and the Catholic University of America, Fr. Jim Gardiner, SA, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1969. He has ministered in New York City, College Park (MD), Akron (OH) and twice in Garrison (NY) – first as communications director for the Friars and later as director of the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. He has also been an active member of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), formerly Religious Public Relations Council (RPRC), since 1974 and currently serves as part of the Washington D.C. chapter of the same organization.

Marvelous things are happening as we continue preparations for Religion Communication Congress 2020. As of September 2018, we have over 90 Cooperating Organizations and that number continues to grow. The Congress will be held March 17-21, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in the Washington D.C. area. Mark your calendars and start planning for your stay in this remarkable city.

The theme for our program has been chosen: “Communicating Faith in the Public Square.” This is a theme that resonates with the current atmosphere both in the media and among various political climates around the world. “With so-called fake news itching to become the new normal, it’s more important than ever for faith communities to strengthen their relationships with one another, address together neuralgic issues that divide and share the healing balm that only faith can offer,” says new Chair, Fr. Jim Gardiner. We welcome Jim and offer our support as he tackles both the challenges and creative initiatives accompanying his new post.

Additionally, Philip Poole, APR has stepped down from his role as coordinator and transitioned to the Development and Finance committee where his extensive knowledge and expertise are tremendously useful. We thank Philip for his enthusiasm and leadership!

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Planning Continues for Religion Communication Congress 2020

Hyatt Regency Crystal City

Plans continue for Religion Communication Congress 2020 (RCCongress 2020), a once-a-decade international gathering of professional religion communicators from a wide range of faith traditions.

As of September 4, 2018, 85 interfaith organizations have committed to support RCCongress 2020, which is scheduled for March 17-21, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Cooperating organizations include large international organizations, small non-profits, academic institutions and consulting agencies. Coordination continues with a representative steering committee to plan the Congress program and other logistical details.

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