Fr. James (Jim) Gardiner

Fr. James (Jim) Gardiner has been named the Chair of Religion Communication Congress 2020. Currently the director of special projects at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., Jim is a Bronx-born Franciscan Friar of the Atonement (Graymoor). A graduate of St. Pius X Seminary and the Catholic University of America, Fr. Jim Gardiner, SA, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1969. He has ministered in New York City, College Park (MD), Akron (OH) and twice in Garrison (NY) – first as communications director for the Friars and later as director of the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. He has also been an active member of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), formerly Religious Public Relations Council (RPRC), since 1974 and currently serves as part of the Washington D.C. chapter of the same organization.

Marvelous things are happening as we continue preparations for Religion Communication Congress 2020. As of September 2018, we have over 90 Cooperating Organizations and that number continues to grow. The Congress will be held March 17-21, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in the Washington D.C. area. Mark your calendars and start planning for your stay in this remarkable city.

The theme for our program has been chosen: “Communicating Faith in the Public Square.” This is a theme that resonates with the current atmosphere both in the media and among various political climates around the world. “With so-called fake news itching to become the new normal, it’s more important than ever for faith communities to strengthen their relationships with one another, address together neuralgic issues that divide and share the healing balm that only faith can offer,” says new Chair, Fr. Jim Gardiner. We welcome Jim and offer our support as he tackles both the challenges and creative initiatives accompanying his new post.

Additionally, Philip Poole, APR has stepped down from his role as coordinator and transitioned to the Development and Finance committee where his extensive knowledge and expertise are tremendously useful. We thank Philip for his enthusiasm and leadership!

Our Vision

Since 1970, the Religion Communication Congress has been a once-a-decade gathering of professional religion communicators from a wide range of faith traditions to provide hands-on opportunities to learn new technologies, experience academic and applied research, and participate in dozens of practical workshops with tools you can implement immediately. It provides an opportunity to experience a wide range of faith expressions, global views, local relevance and so much more.

There is still much work to be done! The most important thing for you to do right now is to go to our website, and sign up for one of the following committees if you haven’t already. They are:

  • Development/Finance: in charge of establishing a budget and securing grants, gifts, & pledges. They identify the Congress treasurer, seek out sponsorships, plan the exhibit, and oversee the Student Global Scholarships.
  • Promotion: oversees the design, production, & distribution of promotional materials (print, digital, & social media). They create a promotion schedule and coordinate between our cooperating organizations to ensure the distribution of materials.
  • Program: coordinates with the steering committee to develop Congress program tracks. They recommend our keynote speakers, create calls for workshops & determine workshop leaders. This subcommittee also coordinates faith expressions & other offerings (such as films, interactive opportunities, etc.).
  • The Logistics/Hospitality: oversees the registration process. They work with local communities to identify and/or create local resources (maps, houses of worship, etc.). By organizing registration, networking, hospitality, venue logistics, etc.; the logistics/hospitality shapes the participant’s experience.

We have some exciting names and faces working together to bring about the largest Religious Communications event of the decade! A special welcome to our newest committee members:

  • Jay Chowdhury, uTurn Project Inc. (Program Committee, Promotion Committee)
  • Domnic Misolo, Ekklesia Foundation for Gender Education (Promotion Committee)
  • Shahid Rahman, American Muslim Institution (Logistics and Hospitality Committee, Program Committee)

About the Location

Hyatt Regency Crystal City

Religion Communication Congress 2020 will take place at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel at Reagan Airport located at 2700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202. The hotel has confirmed the following Guest Room Rates:

Single-Double Occupancy: $208.00
Triple Occupancy: $233.00
Quadruple Occupancy: $258.00

Prices do not include applicable taxes (currently at 13.25%) or service fees. You can contact the hotel by phone at 1-703-418-1234 or online at Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel at Reagan Airport.

Still to Come

Designs for the RCCongress 2020 logo are under way. Be on the lookout in the next few weeks for the unveiling. You can keep up to date with the latest changes and announcements on our website: Follow us on social media with the hashtag #RCCongress2020 or #rccongress2020.

Thank you for being a Cooperating Organization. We couldn’t do this without you.

If you have any questions or comments regarding Religion Communication Congress 2020, please contact Maria Magallanes at or visit our contact page.

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