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United Methodist communicators receive awards

4/30/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn

By Kathy Kruger Noble*

INDIANAPOLIS (UMNS)--United Methodist communicators took home four awards for excellence, one "best of class" and an award of merit in the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards annual competition, sponsored by the Religion Communicators Council.

The DeRose-Hinkhouse awards are given to active council members for excellence in religion communications and public relations. The presentations were made to the winners during RCC's annual meeting, April 24-26 in Indianapolis.

Receiving Best of Class for Periodicals was Alice M. Smith, editor of the Wesleyan Christian Advocate, the newspaper of the North Georgia and South Georgia annual conferences. The newspaper also received an Award of Excellence.

Other United Methodist communicators receiving awards of excellence:

· Writing for Periodicals: Melissa Lauber, Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, UMConnection, for "Saving Stations.

· Broadcast: Matthew Carlisle, United Methodist Communications, for "UMC.ORG Profiles: John Eades."

· Public Relations/Advertising: the Rev Steve Horswill-Johnston, United Methodist Communications, for "Beyond Santa" radio spot.

Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications, received an Award of Merit in the "Graphics Design, Art and Photography" class for his photograph, "AIDS Orphans in Zimbabwe."

More than 340 entries were received. Entries are divided into eight classes, which are judged by local RCC chapters around the country. The awards are named for the late Victor DeRose and the late Paul M. Hinkhouse, lithographers in New York City and longtime supporters of RCC.

"Crossroads of Faith" was the theme of this year's RCC convention. Three days of plenary sessions and workshops drew from the diverse faith communities in the Indianapolis area. In his greetings to council members, Indiana United Methodist Bishop Woodie White noted, "It is not uncommon here for leaders in the corporate world and for political leaders to be known by the church, synagogue or mosque they attend."

The Rev. Robert Edgar, president of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and a United Methodist pastor, focused on how various religious traditions teach about environmental stewardship in the opening keynote address. He commended the work of the National Religious Partnership on the Environment saying, "The partnership works because we have something in common, in that our care for the earth is a part of who we are as religious people." Joining NCC in the partnership are the U.S. Catholic Conference, the Coalition on Environment and Jewish Life and the Evangelical Environmental Network.

In a second keynote speech, Sayyid Syeed, secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America, headquartered in Plainfield, Ind., challenged RCC members to "create an environment where there is respect of religion and where each religion is called upon to contribute to the spirituality of" the people. Adding that the United States can be proud of its religious legacies, he urged using the nation "to live in co-existence, to live in a pluralist democracy and to live together and practice freely our religion and our faith."

During the April 26 business session, the Rev. Michael Hickcox, Lawrence, Mass., director of communication for the New England Annual Conference, was re-elected president of the RCC Board of Governors. Other United Methodists serving on the board are Barbara Nissen, United Methodist Communications; Larry R. Hygh, Jr., California-Pacific Conference director of communications; and Deb Christian, UMR Communications. Shirley Struchen, who retired from United Methodist Communications in 2002, leads the RCC national office in New York.

*Noble is a staff member of Communications Resourcing Team at United Methodist Communications.

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