How faith communities use public relations

Join us in Atlanta, Georgia for RCC’s annual convention April 5-7. Theme: Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication. Register online.

Important: March 13th is Early Bird deadline (get the lowest registration rate of $395) and hotel room at Sheraton Atlanta cut off (for the $129 +tax special RCC rate).

Plenary panel

Connecting With People, Sharing Our Message: How Faith Communities Use Public Relations

Religious movements throughout history have used public relations practices. The Apostle Paul’s New Testament letters to early Christians have been likened to a modern public relations campaign. Arab public relations scholars have described the Prophet Mohammed as the first public relations practitioner in their culture. He used divine pronouncements to shape social action. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV established the Congregation for Propagating the Faith to counter the Protestant Reformation. The congregation generated writings (“propaganda”) to persuade people to accept the Christian faith and Roman Catholic doctrines.

Since the late 19th century, Christian churches in the United States have used advertising and public relations to reach key populations, deliver organizational messages and promote causes. In fact, public relations practices have become more integrated into faith sharing than many people recognize.

Three public relations scholars will discuss how religion communicators have intentionally used public relations methods to accomplish ministry objectives. Panel participants are:

Doug CannonDouglas Cannon, Ph.D., APR+M, Fellow PRSA (@dcannon) is director of undergraduate programs and professor of practice in the Department of Communication at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

He is the author of several articles about how religion communicators practice public relations. Those articles include “Not just doers of the word: An updated look at the roles religion communicators play” in Public Relations Journal (Vol. 11, Issue 1, 2017), “Who do you say that I am? A history of how religion communicators have avoided ‘public relations’” in Journal of Public Relations Research (Vol. 27, Issue 3, 2015), and “Not conformed to this world: How U.S. religion communicators public relations” in Public Relations Journal (Volume 5, Issue 3, 2011).

Margot LammeMargot Lamme, Ph.D., APR (@molamme), is a professor of public relations at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

She is the author of Public Relations and Religion in American History: Evangelism, Temperance, and Business (Routledge, 2014).

Cylor SpauldingCylor Spaulding, Ph.D. (@CylorS), is the faculty director and an assistant professor of the practice for the Public Relations and Corporate Communication program at Georgetown University.

He is author of “Building a religious brand: Exploring the foundations of the Church of Scientology through public relations” in the Journal of Public Relations Research (Vol. 29, Issue 1, 2017).

And more, more, more!

Read about all the Convention speakers and schedule.

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