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United Methodist communicators get RCC honors

The DeRose-Hinkhouse Best of Class trophy. UMNS photos by George Conklin.

By Mike Hickcox*

May 3, 2007 | Louisville, Ky (UMNS)

Four staff members of United Methodist Communications and one person from the Baltimore-Washington regional United Methodist office have been honored by the Religion Communicators Council for work of excellence in 2006.

They were among several dozen honorees from many faith groups receiving DeRose-Hinkhouse awards in an April 26 ceremony.

United Methodist communicators honored were:

  • Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications, for a photographic color series on the church's global health initiative;
  • Linda Green, United Methodist Communications, for writing "Roots Run Deep for Gulfside";
  • Hilly Hicks, United Methodist Communications, with three awards for the non-broadcast videos "The Interview," "Power in the Pews" and "Faith Battle";
  • Fran Coode Walsh, United Methodist Communications, for the television segment "Guarding Military Funerals";
  • Kate Thomas, Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church, for the publication cover Vision–Discipler Groups curriculum.

Meeting in downtown Louisville, the convention was attended by more than 125 religion communicators from Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i, Hari Krishna and other faith groups.

Each year, members gather to attend workshops, honor excellence in communication work and hear from keynote speakers.

This year's speakers included Riffat Hassan of the University of Louisville, who has worked in interfaith dialogue among Christians, Jews and Muslims and also promotes women's rights in the Muslim world. The other keynote address focused on the creative muse - how creativity helps to tell important stories -- in a presentation by poet Patrice Vecchione, author Diane Aprile and songwriter Carrie Newcomer.

On April 28, the organization held its annual Wilbur Award ceremony, honoring secular communication outlets for excellence in presenting religion themes in their publications or products. Among the winners were:

  • Associated Producers for the TV film "The Exodus Decoded";
  •  "The Diane Rehm Show" for a three-part radio series "Koran";
  •  HarperCollins Publishers for the book Water from the Well;
  •  Lancaster New Era, a newspaper in Pennsylvania, for the series "Lost Angels, the Amish School Shootings";
  •  Newsweek magazine for the article "Billy Graham in Twilight";
  •  Warner Brothers for an episode of the NBC television drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"


Shirley Struchen, executive director of the Religion Communicators Council, addresses the April 26-28 convention in Louisville, Ky.

The Religion Communicators Council was organized in 1929 to provide a common meeting ground for people working in communications and public relations for religion organizations. It has grown to include more than 600 members and chapters that meet in 15 cities across the United States.

The council also publishes a handbook for local parish communication work. The seventh-edition of the handbook is called Speaking Faith: The Essential Handbook for Religion Communicators.

Several United Methodist communicators serve on the national board of the Religion Communicators Council including: Doug Cannon, Southwest Texas Conference; Deb Christian, UMR Communications; Cindy Feldman, Iowa Conference; Larry Hygh, Jr., California-Pacific Conference; Shirley Struchen, formerly of United Methodist Communications; and Amelia Tucker-Shaw, United Methodist Communications.

*Hickcox is manager of audio/radio ministry initiatives at United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn. He is former national president of the RCC.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Award-winning video:

Guarding Military Funerals

Related Articles

United Methodist communicators receive religious journalism awards

Roots run deep for Gulfside


Religion Communicators Council

United Methodist Communications

Baltimore-Washington Conference

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