Impressive cast of presenters to headline spring Religion Communicators convention

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NEW YORK — Religion communicators will build “bridges” among faith groups, find “avenues” to new communications skills and discover “intersections” between faith groups and the world during the Religion Communicators Council’s (RCC) annual convention, March 31-April 2, in New York City.

The three-day event will take RCC members to the Interchurch Center on the Upper West Side, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in the Lincoln Center area, and the Church Center for the United Nations. Plenary and workshop topics will include multi-religious activism, Google News Lab and the future of media, finding funding and resources, advanced social media training, and issues of religious freedom.

Among the featured speakers and panelists already confirmed:

The Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, a Presbyterian pastor and president of Auburn Seminary, a multifaith leadership development and research center.

Joyce Dubensky, CEO of Tanenbaum, a nonprofit that works to dismantle religious violence and hatred, and former national consultant for the Council of Jewish Federations.

Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPOWER Change.

Professor Katherine Marshall, senior fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and executive director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

The Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr., the Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor at Union Theological Seminary, former Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church, and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation.

Daniel Sieberg, a broadcast journalism veteran and the global head of media outreach with the Google News Lab, which seeks to empower storytelling at the intersection of media and technology.

Following a pattern set by the last RCC convention in New York, in 2002, the New York Chapter, which is planning the event, has set each day’s sessions in a different location.

“We didn’t want RCC members to come to New York and then spend most of their time in hotel meeting rooms,” explained Linda Bloom, chapter president and co-chair of the RCC 2016 convention steering committee with Ryan Koch. “Each setting allows participants to experience a different neighborhood and is still easily accessed by public transportation, or even by walking, from the three hotels.”

“The convention theme plays upon the idea of that movement throughout the city,” she said. “We’ll build bridges to connect with different faith communities, find avenues to improved communications skills and explore the intersections of faith, public policy and religious values in a secular world.

Our roving convention will allow participants to experience more of this great city and provide a focus as we discuss issues and concepts that relate to the parts of Manhattan where we will meet.”

The convention will open on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at The Interchurch Center (located at 120th St and 475 Riverside Drive). The area includes historic Riverside Church, Jewish Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, Barnard College, Teachers College, Columbia University, and Grant’s Tomb!

New York is composed of dynamic network of neighborhoods, peoples and faiths. Koch, convention co-chair, said New York City is a perfect host city for the flagship event for RCC, an organization that emphasizes engagement with people across various faiths.

“When I moved to New York a year ago, I instantly fell in love with both New York City and the RCC,” Koch said. “The RCC’s emphasis on meeting together in a shared space to collaborate, cooperate and coordinate has been of utmost importance to me. I’m looking forward to welcoming a broader audience to this wonderful city to exchange ideas and views and to learn together.”

As part of the convention each year, RCC recognizes excellence through two award ceremonies, the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards and the Wilbur Awards.

The DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given annually to active RCC members who demonstrate excellence in religious communications and public relations. For more information, see the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards web page.

The Wilbur Awards, which recognize excellence in the communication of religious issues, values and themes in secular media, have been presented annually since 1949. Basic criteria include content, creativity, execution and results, but the ultimate criterion is excellence in the communication of religious values. For more information, see the Wilbur Awards web page.

For more information on the convention, including hotel information and registration, please visit Full registration is $395, which includes banquet meals. Day rates and specific banquet tickets are also available from the event registration site.


RCC logoThe Religion Communicators Council (RCC), founded in 1929, is an association of communications professionals who work for and with a diverse group of faith-based organizations in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing and development.


Shirley Struchen

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