Opening New Portals, Building Community
April 6-9, 2021
Opening New Portals, Building Community is designed to help communicators—reporters, editors, publishers, writers, marketers, freelancers, videographers, photographers, graphic designers and more—who work for the religious and mainstream media, denominations, religious and other organizations and nonprofits and more to be supported and encouraged as people of faith and to network and develop and improve their skills.
In addition to plenary speakers, panels and workshops, the convention will include the business meetings and award ceremonies for the Associated Church Press, Religion Communicators Council and the Canadian Christian Communicators Association.
RCC Joins Other Groups to Create RCCongress 2020 Virtual Conference
Many different faith groups celebrate the idea of renewal – especially in the spring. In the same way, the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) is promoting something “new” from the disappointment of canceling the Religion Communication Congress 2020 because of coronavirus constraints.
The RCCongress 2020 cooperating organizations and workshop leaders will offer livestream webinar events as part of our commitment to professional development and recognition of excellence.
While a “virtual” meeting misses out on the networking and fellowship aspects of an in-person event, much of the professional development and sharpening skills can be done virtually. Organizers plan to share as much programming from RCCongress 2020 as possible.
RCCongress 2020 Recorded Webinars
Backpack Journalism: Multi-Platform Story Creation
Presenter: Gregg Brekke, Visual journalist and Executive Director of the Associated Church Press
Today’s journalists and content creators are expected to possess an ever-increasing set of skills and call upon expertise in writing, editing, photography and video production to do their jobs.
The growing demand for information by media outlets requires communicators to gather, produce and deliver high quality content using multiple tools and platforms. Relying on traditional journalistic principles, this workshop introduces the necessary reporting, information gathering and technical skills required to complete multi-media assignments without stress.
Pew Research – The Decline of Christianity in the United States: An Update on America’s Changing Religious Landscape
Presenter: Dr. Gregory A. Smith, Associate Director of Research, Pew Research Center
The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. At the same time, the share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month dropped by 7 percentage points, while the share who say they attend religious services less often (if at all) has risen by the same degree.
In this workshop, Pew Research Center’s Gregory A. Smith will discuss the Center’s latest update on America’s changing religious landscape.
ΘeoCon (Thee-Oh-Con): Where Theology Meets Pop Culture!
Presenter: Rev. Shayna J. Watson, Canon Pastor at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Conversation about how ΘeoCon (Thee-Oh-Con) features undeniable themes of theology and morality throughout pop culture, such as good versus evil, forgiveness, redemption, metaphysics, and are too often seen as secular themes only, rather than as spiritual, and a part of God’s story.
Religion Writing: From Pitch to Publication
Presenter: Adelle Banks, Production Editor and National Reporter, Religion News Service
Adelle Banks of Religion News Service will share insights and tips about interviewing, reporting, writing short and long stories, Q&As and projects.
Content is Everything. What is YOUR Strategy to Use it?
Presenter: Lou Ann Sabatier, Principal and Lead Consultant at Sabatier Consulting
Content is everywhere. But what’s the point of it all? That depends on your strategy. If content is king, then content strategy is king-maker.
A great content strategy is founded on an understanding of audience, business needs, and amplification. And the more research and planning you can perform to develop this understanding, then the more likely you are to get the results and reader engagement you want. Having a plan is essential. It’s what turns your ideas, research, and concepts into reality. And how you plan your content will have a huge impact on your communications work and your organization.
This webinar (a condensed version of a two-part seminar) will clearly present a guide to creating and sticking with your content strategy. The benefits of investing in this training:
- You will better understand the “why” of content strategy
- You will learn “how” – the four pillars of content strategy
- You will leave with a list of practical tools and resources to help create or update your content strategy
Creating a Third Space: Communicating Across Religious and Cultural Boundaries Through the Arts
Presenter: Dr. Patrick M. Beldio, Teacher, scholar, and artist
This workshop will focus on the limits and capabilities of the arts to communicate across cultural and religious spaces, creating what many scholars call a “third space” or a hybrid space where identities are more fluid, open, and creative, even as they are fearful, challenging, and uncomfortable.
With proper care and investment of time and resources, the arts can create and support these spaces where values and differences might be shared and clarified for individuals and communities that seek to work together for common goals of justice and beauty in more intimate and effective ways.
Verbal communications may provide an intellectual and psychological connection between people, but the arts offer a way to mature that relationship further into the heart where the faculty of the intuition resides, according to many important spiritual teachers.
Pew Research – Americans’ Views on Religion’s Role in Society and Politics
Presenter: Claire Gecewicz, Research Associate at Pew Research Center
According to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, a large majority of Americans feel that religion is losing influence in public life. While some say this is a good thing, many more view it as a negative development, reflecting the broad tendency of Americans to see religion as a positive force in society.
At the same time, U.S. adults are resoundingly clear in their belief that religious institutions should stay out of politics.
In this workshop, Pew Research Center’s Claire Gecewicz will discuss these and related survey findings, such as Americans’ trust in their religious leaders.
Storytelling and Media Arts that Spread a Vital Faith
Presenter: Rev. Dr. Ron King, Founder and Director of Sidebar Stories, and Ken Medema, Musician, Composer, Founder of Brier Patch Music and Ken Medema Music
Rev. Dr. Ron King and Ken Medema will provide an interactive workshop featuring their respective storytelling talents along with a list of friends providing their own gifts.
This session is designed around making important but neglected stories accessible outside of clinical settings in a way that is respectful and safe for storytellers.
You will learn how to use a story map and interviewing methods based on the neurobiology of storytelling used by the Sidebar Stories reflective arts team. Participants will experience the role of music in telling spiritual stories that are often disruptive and best communicated through the use of expressive arts.