What do an alumni e-newsletter, a Holocaust museum, and gusto have in common? They are past, current, and ongoing projects of RCC D-FW Chapter members. The December DFW Chapter meeting, held this year at Christ UMC in Farmers Branch, is traditionally a time of sharing the year’s accomplishments and trials. The Chapter furnished the lunch and presented each member with a gift (chocolate covered pecans). Members shared samples of their best work, some of which they are considering entering in next year’s DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards, to be awarded at the RCC Convention in April in Philadelphia.

Alice Dykeman, of Dykeman Associates, Inc., discussed her past year’s work. Her current intern, Emrah Yildiz, is no stranger to the group, having attended meetings for several months. Dykeman also introduced her guest, Reverend Charles Curliss. Rev. Curliss is founder and pastor of The One Church. Debbie Tull, marketing and advertising consultant, brought the group up to date on her work at Patheos.com. Patheos.com is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs.” Tull explained that, in an effort to be all-inclusive, the website has recently added an atheist channel. They also created Patheos Press to publish e-books. The site has titles already available.

Tim McLemore, Associate Director of Public Affairs at Perkins School of Theology, presented each member with a Perkins marketing eco-sack containing a folder with informational brochures. The Begin Your Journey With Us brochure, a recent addition introducing the school to potential students, illustrates the diversity among faculty and students. McLemore displayed the Perkins website, concentrating on the alumni pages – specifically, the Perkins Precis, an e-newsletter for Perkins alumni/ae. Even before he took the page and e-newsletter live, McLemore was contacted by alumni who had searched on Google, found the page, and asked to be put on the list.

Chris Kelley, principal of The Kelley Group and PR Consultant with the Dallas Holocaust Museum, provided clips from the video of his interview with Frank Risch. Risch was the 2011 Honoree at the museum’s Hope for Humanity dinner. His parents, Herbert and Irma Risch, fled Nazi Germany in 1937 to escape the Holocaust. Risch has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance (DHM/CET) for nearly twenty years. “He has been instrumental in transforming the organization from a memorial and resource center located in the Jewish Community Center to a creative museum in the West End Historic District.” The clips were emotionally moving, leaving the room in momentary silence.

Kay Champagne shared the work she and fellow chapter member, Sharon Chapman, have been doing to market the King Of Glory (KOG) Lutheran Church’s Gusto! series. “Gusto! Is a Life Group at KOG for the mature adult community (all are welcome) that creates and promotes enrichment programs that stimulate intellectual growth and expand personal interactions in a supportive and nurturing Christian environment.” Past guest speakers were Martin Marty, Walter Brueggemann, and a series of speakers on Dwight D. Eisenhower. A Holocaust survivor will speak in January, and the group will visit the Dallas Holocaust Museum in February.

During lunch, between small talk and presentations, members of the group discussed the changes in communications methods over the years. From the manual typewriter and mimeograph machines to bulky pcs running on MS-DOS and floppy discs to smartphones that have more power than previous mainframe computers. Several members admitted to still having outdated equipment in a closet or garage. Yet reminiscence is not indicative of a willingness to re-live the times discussed. It is simply a fondness for days that, while they were perhaps simpler, were also the stepping stones to the lives we know and enjoy now.

The meeting was an appropriate ending to the year. It went over the allotted time, due to the continually interesting conversations. Members shared pride and appreciation for past accomplishments as well as excitement for current and future projects. Members left with smiles and exclamations of Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, looking forward to another year in the world of communication.

Peace be with you.

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