CHICAGO — The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) and the Associated Church Press (ACP), two long established professional associations serving the religious communication community, will meet for a joint national convention in Chicago on April 10-13 at Fourth Presbyterian Church on the Magnificent Mile. RCC celebrates its 90th anniversary as an interfaith organization in 2019 and ACP comes in with 93 years of supporting the life of faith and the Christian community.

The opening plenary, given by accomplished award-winning author and journalist Judith Valente (whose credentials include WGLT Radio [NPR], The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and a number of published books), will introduce the convention theme: “Seeing in New Ways: Possibilities and Perceptions.”

Judith Valente

A panel consisting of Dr. Glory Dharmaraj (President of World Association for Christian Communication [WACC] North America), Dr. Sarah Macharia (Global Coordinator for Global Media Monitoring Project [GMMP], Program Manager for Gender and Communication and for Monitoring Rural Poverty Reporting, WACC Global) and Dr. Karri Whipple (writer, activist, assistant professor of Liberal Studies at New York University, and Vice President of WACC North America, will take an intersectional approach to exploring and challenging the present state of gender representation in media and media production. Titled “Communicating in the Age of #MeToo,” the panel will engage a range of ongoing efforts to raise awareness about gender disparities and examine issues of media ethics, the role of social media, and emerging strategies. Finally, they will provide tools and suggest strategies to promote greater equity in our work as religion-based communicators. The Rev. Eric Shafer, Senior Pastor at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, CA will serve as the moderator.

Jonathan Brooks

Another convention plenary will feature the Rev. Jonathan E. L. Brooks, pastor of Canaan Community Church and author of Church Forsaken: Practicing Presence in Neglected Neighborhoods, released in November 2018. He will address the need for religious organizations to be involved within the communities they are located.

In addition to the plenaries and panels, the convention offers professional development opportunities in the form of fifteen workshops designed with tracks for managers, technicians and those seeking accreditation with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Each workshop will be led by a noted communications and public relations professional.

The convention would not be complete without recognition for the outstanding work created by our members. Both organizations will host award dinners: The DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards for RCC members and the ACP Best of the Church Press Awards. Additionally, the RCC will celebrate 70 years of the Marvin C. Wilbur Awards on Friday evening. Wilbur Awards promote and encourage excellence in the communication of religious faith and positive values through a variety of secular media. The coveted Wilbur Award stained-glass trophy, which has become the symbol of excellence in communicating religious values among secular media, will be granted to 21 winners representing all forms of print and electronic media.

More information about the convention can be obtained by visiting the two organizations’ websites at and Registration is open.


For interviews and additional information contact Shirley Whipple Struchen at Religion Communicators Council, 212-870-2402 or Gregg Brekke at the Associated Church Press, 503-583-8655. In its 90th year, the Religion Communicators Council is an interfaith association of religion communicators since 1929. The Associated Church Press is serving religious communicators since 1916.

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