Professionals in communications, advertising and public relations for faith communities convened in Chicago March 31-April 2 for the Religion Communicators Council annual conference—“Virtually Here, There and Everywhere: Faith Communications and Presence.”
Formed as an all-Protestant organization more than 85 years ago, RCC is today an inter-religious organization of Christians of many denominations, Jews, Muslims, Baha’is, Scientologists, Hindus, Buddhists and more.
“Few things are more misunderstood and yet, at the same time, more important in our world today than the contributions of faith and religious communities…” Rev. Ben Heckman, newly elected RCC president
The conference title referenced the myriad channels of communication today, and workshops addressed how to best utilize those channels to engage any religion’s diverse audiences and to disseminate accurate information about their beliefs and practices. The religion communicators interacted with experts in social media, media engagement, podcasting and blogging, theater as communication, developing material for young people, crisis management, and countering hate movements.
The opening plenary session, “Guns Into Plowshares, Presence Into Hope: On Violence and Faith,” featured a diverse panel of religious and secular speakers.
Ms. Casey Tom, RCC immediate past president and General Manager of Faith for Today of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, introduced RCC members to the launch of a four-year strategic plan for the organization. “Religion is part of everything, and RCC helps people talk about it,” said Tom, as she detailed the RCC 2020 Plan five key focal points:
- Offering professional development resources for religious communicators
- Recognizing and cultivating excellence in religious communication
- Advancing religious literacy
- Addressing religious discrimination and conflict
- Acting as a public resource on communication about religion and faith values.
“Few things are more misunderstood and yet, at the same time, more important in our world today than the contributions of faith and religious communities,” said Rev. Ben Heckman, newly elected RCC president and instrumental in crafting the RCC 2020 Plan. “RCC is an absolutely vital component to resolving conflict in the world and advancing peace.”