2018 Convention: April 5-7 in Atlanta, Georgia — Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication

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Atlanta Hotel Deadline March 20; details on Registration page


Registration STILL OPEN for Atlanta Convention

Attendees at the 2018 national convention will tour and visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights on Saturday, April 7. Ticket price is included in your registration.

Full Convention Registration
  • Includes all presentations, workshops, scheduled meals, DeRose-Hinkhouse and Wilbur Awards banquets.
    • Full Registration: $395
    • Full Registration for a spouse or partner: $295
    • Full Registration for Students: $200 (Student ID required)
  • See Convention Registration page for fees for separate days, meals
  • Online registration



Telling long-term stories that matter

By Candice Johnson

Sarah Pulliam Bailey at New York Chapter RCC, March 2018

On Tuesday March 21st, the New York City chapter of the RCC met at the Church Pension Group for its monthly lunch meeting. This month’s speaker was Sarah Pulliam Bailey of the Washington Post. Sarah is a religion reporter and currently runs Washington Post’s religion blog, “Acts of Faith.” Her focus is religion’s intersection with everything, including politics, culture and education.

Sarah began by speaking of her experience as a journalist throughout the rise of Trump. She put forth the question, in a time of Trump dominating the news cycle how do we break through as religion communicators? How do we tell long-term stories that matter instead of reacting to every tweet and scandal?


An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story Wins Prestigious Wilbur Award

An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story has won the 2018 Wilbur Award for the best feature length work in Television & Cable. The annual award is given by the Religion Communicators Council honoring the best in television, film, books, and digital. Other winners this year include: 60 Minutes, The Washington Post Magazine, CBS Sunday Morning and NPR.

Read more in the Journey Films newsletter...

CryPeace wins a Wilbur Award

I just received wonderful news – CryPeace won the 2018 Wilbur Award for best faith-based blog for the story, Motorcycle Diaries: Friday the 13th Motorcycle Rally! Although I've traveled the world capturing peace stories, this day in rural Ontario was one of the highlights of them all. I am personally encouraged by this recognition, but more importantly, it will help share the stories people entrust to me more widely.

Read more on the CryPeace website...

Atlanta in Spring!

REGISTER NOW! Register online.

Thursday highlight: Black History tour – Free!

Plan to arrive Wednesday night, April 4 and take part in a Black History tour of historic sites on Thursday, April 5, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The tour includes a the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center with a visit to the crypts of Coretta and Dr. King, Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Visitor's Center, Gift Shop, and Dr. King's Birth Home followed by a drive through downtown Atlanta past Atlanta University Center which includes Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Wilbur Awards

The convention also includes the Wilbur Awards dinner, recognizing coverage of religion and values in the secular media. Check out the list of winners here – ranging from The Washington Post Magazine to 60 Minutes to BuzzFeed News.


Matters of Church and State, not so separate among winning entries for 2018 Wilbur Awards

Religion Communicators Council honors 22 for work during 2017

Wilbur Award trophy

Wilbur Award winners receive a handcrafted stained-glass trophy and national recognition for their work.

NEW YORK — From the President’s televangelist advisor, immigration, to Muslims in America – this year’s 2018 Wilbur Award winners aren’t afraid to dive into the well of divisive issues to find inclusion, unity and understanding throughout vast communities of diverse belief systems.

The Religion Communicators Council announced 22 Wilbur Award winners March 5. The awards honor excellence by individuals in secular media – print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures – for communicating religious issues, values and themes during 2017.

Welcoming the Stranger, the single program winner in our podcast and radio category by Interfaith Voices, explores multiple religious perspectives on the spiritual imperative to welcome the stranger in the midst of what might be the largest refugee crisis since World War II; Who Would Jesus Deport?, an article from the Texas Observer that examines two ministers’ interpretation on the bible’s take on immigration; a Washington Post Magazine piece about Paula White, the controversial and influential televangelist who preaches the prosperity gospel and is linked to the Presidential family; and a Rowan and Littlefield book, Being Hindu: Understanding a Peaceful Path in a Violent World, are to receive individually crafted stained-glass Wilbur trophies at an awards ceremony in Atlanta next month.


Convention News – Details, Updates, Reminders

Basic info: RCC’s national Convention is set for April 5-7 in Atlanta. Registration is $395. Venue is Sheraton Atlanta, special RCC rate of $129+tax. Theme: Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication. Register online.

Why it’s worth your time and $$

Your convention registration includes ticket/admission and transportation to this historic center. Saturday, April 7 from 2-4 p.m. Center for Civil and Human Rights – Downtown Atlanta

Explore the fundamental rights of all human beings. Leave empowered to join the conversation in your own community. This is a safe place to learn about the fundamental rights of all humans.

Exhibits include:

  • Live the Legacy – Photographic collection presenting a broad exploration of processes, problems and benefits of non-violent demonstration as taught by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1968 to the present.
  • American Civil Rights Movement – Rolls Down Like Water – Experience sights, sounds, interactive displays showing the struggles of individuals working to change the US in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
  • Global Human Rights Movement – Spark of Conviction – Gain a deeper understanding of human rights and how all persons are affected through this gallery’s interactive display.
  • And more, more, more....

Program highlight

Friday – 12:45 p.m. Plenary Lunch and Panel Discussion on Perceptions of Civil Rights Today: The role of faith groups in shaping public opinion. The panel will include:

Rashad Abdul-RahmaanImam Rashad Abdul-Rahmaan, assistant Imam at Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, was a participant in a three-year interfaith dialogue with leaders of the Presbyterian Church USA and conducted a weekly program, "AL-Islam in View," on the American Muslim (online) Radio Network 360 (AM 360). From 2009 to 2015, he was assistant Imam and assistant director of education at Clara Muhammad School at Masjid Sultan Mohammed in Milwaukee.

Ken BedellThe Rev. Dr. Kenneth Bedell, author of Realizing the Civil Rights Dream: Diagnosing and Treating American Racism (2017), is a former member of the RCC Board of Governors. An ordained United Methodist pastor, he served local congregations for 18 years. He was a senior staff executive at the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and a senior adviser in the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the Department of Education during the Obama administration. He taught in the Master of Arts in Religious Communication program at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He edited the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches for the National Council of Churches for five years.

Robert FranklinThe Rev. Dr. Robert M. Franklin Jr. is the James T. and Berta R. Laney professor of moral leadership at Emory University in Atlanta. He was president of the Interdenominational Theological Center at Atlanta University Center Consortium (1997-2002) and president of Morehouse College (2007-2012). He directed the Religion Department at the Chautauqua Institution in New York from January 2012 to August 2017. In 2016, Franklin served as an adviser to Oprah Winfrey's "Belief" series. He is ordained in the American Baptist Churches USA and the Church of God in Christ. Franklin is the author of three books: Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities (2007); Another Day's Journey: Black Churches Confronting the American Crisis (1997); and Liberating Visions: Human Fulfillment and Social Justice in African American Thought (1990).

Yvette MooreYvette Moore is Director of Communications for United Methodist Women, a nearly 800,000-member organization committed to addressing the needs of women, children and youth. She has served as editor of its magazine, response, and in overseeing United Methodist Women’s print, web/social media and public relations operations. Moore is the author of Freedom Songs, a moving coming of age story for young adults set in Brooklyn, New York, and North Carolina in 1963. The Civil Rights Movement classic was published in the United States by Orchard Books/Franklin Watts, Inc., in 1991. She is also the author of the newly released Just Sketching, a sequel to Freedom Songs.

Read more about all the Convention speakers and schedule.

2018 Convention Sponsorship Opportunities – Great opportunity still open!

photos of Atlanta buildingsWe invite you to highlight your organization's services with faith-based communicators from around the country by sponsoring part of the upcoming convention. Details are on the Sponsorships page and we can accept commitments/reservations until Feb. 12.

The 2018 multi-faith forum is intended to enrich, engage, educate and empower professional communicators of religion and faith-based issues. Our anticipated audience of 150 people or more represent faith groups on local, regional, national and international levels. PLUS – you’ll be listed in the convention program book.

Latest workshop Atlanta convention news

Three staff members from the well-known Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will lead a workshop at the upcoming April 5-7 RCC national convention in Atlanta. Kristen Bokenkamp, Communications Director; Seth Levi, Marketing Director; and Erin Fitzgerald, Digital Director, will conduct a session titled Integrated Communication for Advocacy. Part of the Interfaith Issues track, attendees will learn about the SPLC’s efforts to fight hate and seek justice and the communication practices used to do this. These practices include web and social media content, emails to specific lists, press outreach and more. The workshop will also include an interactive discussion about challenges and opportunities found when engaging target audiences.

Convention theme is Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication. Registration is $395 (thru March 13). Hotel and meeting venue is the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel – special group rate for RCC is available until March 13. Plenary sessions, keynote addresses, workshops for professional development, awards programs and special Atlanta-location features are all part of the event. You can get more details on the Convention Schedule and Speakers page and register on the RCC Convention Registration page.

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.

Meeting participants can choose from workshops covering multi-religious activism, enhancing your story with digital media, 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:


Tips when covering Islam and Muslims

Wajahat AliTop 30 do's and don'ts when covering Islam and Muslims — Tips from Wajahat Ali, co-host of Al Jazeera America’s The Stream to the 2015 RCC National Convention.

The first three are:

  • Do diversify your portfolio of token Muslims. Different Muslim super heroes have different superpowers.
  • Do not assume Arabs = Muslims and Muslims = Arab. Do not use them interchangeably.
  • Do seek out Muslims who are black and/or white and or other colors. They exist, not all are brown.



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