May 27, 2005
Tenn. (UMNS)—United Methodist Communications' first racial-ethnic
minority fellow will push the fellowship experience to another level
when he mentors the 2005-06 recipient in the California-Pacific Annual
S. Minor, a mass communications graduate of Southern University
A&M, Baton Rogue, La., has been chosen as the eighth recipient of
the Judith Weidman Racial Ethnic Minority Fellowship. The fellowship
provides a year of working with an experienced director of
communications in one of the United Methodist Church's U.S. annual
Hygh Jr., the first fellow of the 8-year-old program and director of
communications for the California-Pacific Conference, will mentor Minor
in video, electronic media, print, broadcast and public relations. He
also will have opportunities to explore religion communications in
varied settings, such as through the United Methodist Association of
Communicators, the Religious Communications Council and other
will work in the California-Pacific Conference July 1-June 30,
receiving a $30,000 stipend for the year. "We feel honored to be the
first annual conference in the Western Jurisdiction to host this
fellowship," Hygh said.
developed the fellowship in 1998 to encourage people of ethnic minority
background to consider religion communications as a career. The 63 U.S.
annual conferences have fewer than 10 conference communicators of
ethnic minority heritage in leadership positions. The fellowship was
named for the Rev. Judith L. Weidman, its founder and a former top staff
executive of UMCom, who died in 2000.
was Judith Weidman's dream that these scholarships would not only
encourage qualified individuals to enter into communications careers in
the church, but also that they would bring inclusiveness and diversity
to the story-telling that shapes us as a community of faith," said the
Rev. Larry Hollon, UMCom's top staff executive.
think she would be quite gratified to see our first racial-ethnic
fellow mentoring a new fellow only a few short years after the
scholarship was created," he said. "We are all very pleased by this
who graduated from the Louisiana school with a master's degree in 2004,
said in his letter of application that "being a lifelong member of the
United Methodist Church has truly drawn my interest in religion
communication," especially in the area of community involvement.
religion communication and his own faith, he said, "I think I can make a
great impact on this internship and the community." A member of St.
Luke United Methodist Church, he affirmed the witness of Louisiana
United Methodists and the denomination in social, community and relief
the 1998-99 REM fellow, is also a doctoral student at Pepperdine
University working on an educational doctorate in organizational
leadership. He expressed excitement at working with Minor. "I feel very
honored not only to have been the first REM Fellow, but now to be
selected as the first racial-ethnic communicator to serve as a mentor to
another African-American male is a reflection of my commitment to
empower other African Americans to excel."
look forward to the year ahead cultivating Byron's communications gifts
for ministry in the church to tell God's amazing story," said Bishop
Mary Ann Swenson, who leads the California-Pacific Conference. "We look
forward with anticipation to Byron's arrival on July 1 to dwell among
God's people called United Methodists in the California-Pacific
Dorice Hall, the 2004-05 recipient, will complete her fellowship year
July 31. Danette Clifton, the director of communications for the North
Alabama Annual Conference, was her primary mentor. Royya James, Hall's
predecessor is now a member of the denomination's Igniting Ministry
staff at United Methodist Communications.
fellowship's fifth recipient was David Malloy, 2002-03, who is the
director of communications for the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.
He followed Ciona Rouse, currently a free-lance writer in Nashville,
Benson, the third recipient, became communications coordinator and
editor in the Texas Conference and is pastor at Paul's Chapel United
Methodist Church, Hugo, Okla. Eunice Dharmaratnam, who enrolled in
graduate school after her fellowship year in the Indiana Annual
communications office, was the second recipient.
Information about the REM Fellowship and other scholarship opportunities is available at crt.umc.org or by calling Amelia Tucker-Shaw at UMCom, (888) 278-4862.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.