Tag Archive: Religion Communicators Council

Richard Hunt

Richard Hunt

Sitting at my desk thinking about the last year and planning for the new year, I was looking forward to playing shows more often. Not to mention the upcoming music conferences. Such as the ASCAP Expo in April. Or the Songwriter Symposium hosted by the Austin Songwriters Group coming up in a couple of weeks. Which naturally caused me to relive last years symposium, in a fashion. Which led to recalling an interesting story I thought I would relate to you.

For a number of years, I have been attending the Theological School for the Laity at Perkins Theological Seminary at SMU for a weekend in early March. I took a few classes with Robert Hunt, a professor at Perkins. I have also been to other functions at Perkins and have seen and talked to Robert. He has preached in our church. He also gave a presentation at a meeting of the Religion Communicators Council of which I am a member.

Then at the symposium, I saw Robert and thought it was cool that he wrote songs as well as his theological works. I never heard his name at the symposium, but he seemed to know who I was. We are both a friendly sort of people – when we see people we give a knowing look, as if we are introducing ourselves with facial expressions. Which makes each of us seem as if we knew the other beforehand. But I had no doubt at the time that I knew him.

In October, I played a showcase at eSpiritu in Frisco. One of the other four songwriters was Robert – or so I thought. In the emails from the host, Ryan Michael Galloway, he said Richard Hunt was playing – along with Julie Jean White, myself, and Mudcat Reames. I thought he had Richard’s name wrong. When I arrived, I walked up to him and shook his hand. He said he was glad to see me again. While he was playing, his wife was standing at a table across the aisle from Cyndy and I taking pictures. I asked her if he was writing songs under the name of Richard.

“Yes, he’s a lawyer. Both of us are. And yes, he goes by Richard – his real name.”

Now I was thoroughly confused. Cyndy and I looked Richard up on the internet, since she had met Robert as well, and found our answer quickly. Julie Jean played after him. I went on after her. After my set, I walked up to him and asked if he had a brother.”

“Yes,” he said, with a smile and a nod, “a twin.”

“When I saw you at the symposium, I thought you were Robert.”

“That’s a common occurrence.” Another nod and smile.

I was just thankful I was not going stark raving bananas. Who would have thought I would meet twin brothers in basically unrelated areas of my life? I know quite a few sets of twins, but I met them together. I also know there are a lot of twins – more than you would think.

Have you ever met a set of twins, each at different times, not knowing they were twins? I would be interested to know. I don’t think I am the only one. Let us know in the comments.

Peace be with you.

P.S. This story reminded me of another story I heard years ago. Look for the next post.

The GUSTO! program at King of Glory Lutheran Church (KoG) will be visiting the Museum of Biblical Arts on Tuesday, May 22nd, at 10 a.m. The program is usually held  on Monday, but the museum is closed on Monday. I visited the museum for a Religion Communicators Council  (RCC)  meeting last year. My comments will be after the following description.

The Museum of Biblical Art, rebuilt after a devastating fire in 2005, is a cultural crossroads using art to promote tolerance and understanding of the humanities and Western culture. The museum today is larger than the original, featuring over 30,000 square feet of expanded art galleries and exhibits. It is located at 7500 Park Lane in Dallas, just west of NorthPark Center.

The museum hosts a broad array of painting and sculpture by premier artists, from Botticelli to John Singer Sargent to Andy Warhol. Its main attraction is a 40-foot wide mural of the Resurrection by internationally known artist Ron DiCianni. There is also an extensive collection of lithographs by Marc Chagall. Other galleries feature Biblical archaeology, Jewish and Israeli art, religious architecture, and African American, Hispanic and contemporary art.

The museum recently acquired a life-size replica of Michelangelo’s “Pietá,” cast in bronze and authorized by the Vatican. It came directly from the Michelangelo Museum in Florence. Another outstanding exhibit is the “Tapestry of the Centuries” mural by Vladimir Gorsky. This monumental painting illustrates the people and events that shaped world history, from the birth of Jesus through 1999 A.D.

The museum is truly fascinating, particularly the exhibits of art from other religions. The  King James Bible exhibit has been extended until June. The exhibit consists of original Bibles from the private collection of Dr. Charles Ryrie. Last year was the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. I’m looking forward to having time after the tour to properly explore it. The tour does not allow sufficient time to effectively see everything. I was unable to stay after the RCC meeting.

The bus is most likely full at this point, but you can meet at the museum at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Sharon Chapman will collect the $9 admission from each person and pay for the entire group. The tour will conclude with lunch on your own at Northpark Center if you would like. If you plan to meet the group there, e-mail gusto@kingofglory.com or call Sharon Chapman at 214-458-3271. If you do not get a chance to take the tour with the group, be sure to visit the museum on your own when you get the chance. You will not be disappointed.

Peace be with you.

American Protestantism has long been shaped by interactions between religion of the heart and religion of the head. Yet modern evangelicalism is as much a product of post-World War II political developments in the United States and globally as it is of 18th and 19th century revivalism.

So says Dr. Robert Hunt of Southern Methodist University, speaker at the May 14 GUSTO! meeting beginning at 10 a.m. Hunt has been a pastor, missionary, teacher, writer and editor. He currently serves as director of global theological education at the Perkins School of Theology, where he lectures on world religions, Christian missions and Islam. He spoke to GUSTO! on the topic of Islam back in April of 2010.

Contemporary evangelicals are far more diverse and divided than depictions in the media typically show, Dr. Hunt says. Yet the recent alignment of some evangelicals with Roman Catholic social causes has the potential to reshape not just the political landscape, but the very concepts of citizen and state. He will explore these trends at the May meeting.

A Dallas native, Hunt graduated with a degree in history from UT–Austin and earned a master of theology at SMU. He received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Malaya, focusing on the history of Bible translation and Christian–Muslim relations. He lived and worked abroad in the Philippines, Malaysia and Vienna for nearly 20 years before coming to SMU. He has written several books, most recently The Gospel Among the Nations: A Documentary History of Inculturation (Orbis, 2010)

The previous paragraphs are from Kay Champagne of the GUSTO! Communications team. Kay is a fellow member of the DFW chapter of the Religion Communicators Council. The GUSTO! program has some interesting and entertaining speakers. I have written quite a few posts on past programs which are in the archives.

I have met Robert Hunt and heard him speak on several occasions. I took a course he gave on world religions at the Theological School for the Laity at Perkins School of Theology. He gave a sermon at our church and gave a presentation at an RCC meeting held at Perkins. He is an engaging speaker who speaks with humor and acumen. There will be a reception following the presentation. Guests are welcome.

Peace be with you.

On Friday the 13th, the second day of the RCC convention, we took the train into Philadelphia from the Airport Marriott. After eating lunch at a rather crowded food court, we met at the National Constitution Center. Unfortunately, we only had 45 minutes to an hour to tour the  museum before the special museum program began. I would like to return with Cyndy, if not the rest of the family, to have time to explore the museums and sites of Philadelphia. Much has changed since traveling there with my family when I was a teenager.

I discussed my family’s trip to Pennsylvania in an earlier post. I also mentioned the trip our family took in 2010 from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, through  Pennsylvania, and down to Washington, D.C. The special exhibit at the Hall of Fame that year was a Bruce Springsteen exhibit. Fast forward to the convention trip to the Constitution Center. I ate most of half of my sandwich (the “real” pastrami – as opposed to the turkey pastrami you get in Dallas – was a welcome treat) and wrapped up the remaining half in my bag.

I wanted to get to the museum in order to have as much time to wander around the museum as possible. It is the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution this year. I was walking through the mall taking pictures when I came close enough to clearly read the banner hanging above the entrance. There was a special exhibit at the time and it was – you guessed it – a Bruce Springsteen exhibit (it was, in fact, the same exhibit).

Now the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame I completely understand, but the National Constitution Center? Come to find out that they had put a different twist on the exhibit and were demonstrating Springsteen’s “use of music as a tool to express his First Amendment Rights.” Which makes sense. But here is the “kicker” as they say. The National Constitution Center is the first and only venue where the Springsteen exhibit is to travel from the Hall of Fame. What are the odds that I would be at both venues at the time of the exhibit?

The museum program, however, entitled “Freedom Rising” was very entertaining. The narrator stood in center of the circular theater swathed in lights and sound, with slides running around the upper part of the theater. The presentation told the story of the beginning of our country and government. Although the presentation was a little louder than absolutely necessary,  the narrator’s voice was uniquely appropriate for the material.

While I had little time to explore the museum, I did discover that the museum is remarkably interactive. Unfortunately, the crowds of school children and families made listening to the recordings difficult and required constant movement – leaving little time to absorb the information. But I certainly plan to make an effort to return and further explore the National Constitution Center and other fine museums in Philadelphia. Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are a short walk from the NCC.

Back to the odds of my being at both displays of the Bruce Springsteen exhibit. I agree with Albert Einstein that “coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” But then there is the thought that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, though, there just does not seem to be a reason.

So I put it to you – what do you think? Is there always a reason behind everything? When there does not seem to be a reason are we simply unable to discern it? Are there such things as coincidences and happenstance occurrences?

Peace be with you.

The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) National Convention was held this past Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Airport Marriot. While there was a showing of the movie, Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives, on Wednesday evening for those who arrived early, the convention did not officially begin until the opening plenary at 1:30 on Thursday afternoon on “The In[ter]dependence of Faith and Government.” After the panel discussion, the attendees had a choice of four workshops.

My plane was scheduled to arrive at 1:20, so I knew I would be at least a few minutes late to the plenary. The hotel and the airport were connected by a skybridge just one terminal away from my arrival terminal, which helped, but it was still after 1:30 when I walked down the stairs to the lobby of the hotel. I will get back to the plenary and other convention activities in following posts.

The main event of the day was the DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards Dinner at 6:30 p.m. I am a member of RCC as a writer and representative of Christ UMC (Farmers Branch, Tx) and the communications committee. The church entered an article I had written for the church newspaper, and I entered this blog in the new Social Media category of the awards. When I was  informed that I won, I did not know which of the two was the winning entry. However, since I was winner, the church funded my trip to the convention.

As it turned out, I won a Certificate of Merit for Chasing After Wind. The .pdf of the awards program may be found here. Social Media is a new category, so it is at the end if you  happen to be looking for my award. In the picture you can see the slide they showed when they announced my award. The other picture is of the attendees from the DFW Chapter of the RCC. From left to right: Cherrie Graham (United Methodist Reporter), Debbie Tull (Patheos), myself, and Deb Christian (also UMR). Mary Jacobs, UMR reporter, was preparing for a writing workshop she was leading and was not available for the picture. Debbie and I both needed to catch our flights home.

The judging for the DeRose-Hinkhouse awards was done by “colleagues at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.” All of the entrants received the judges’ evaluation forms after the awards program. Entrants not at the convention received their evaluations by mail.

Be that as it may, the judges had some suggestions for improving the blog. Ironically, my room was in a black hole of the hotel and I could not even boot up my computer – much less access my blog. So there will be changes to Chasing After Wind over the next week or so. Hopefully, the changes will make for a more pleasing visit to the blog, easier to comment, like, follow, and so forth, and there will be more interactive qualities.

Feel free to let me know of any suggestions or comments you may have pertaining to my blog. I try to respond to comments and visitors as soon as possible.

Peace be with you.

David Sedeno

Dallas-Fort Worth RCC members, in lieu of the March meeting, are invited to attend one of three keynote sessions at “Communicating Through the Clutter”, a conference sponsored by UMR Communications. The presentations are planned to help you cut through the clutter and focus on some best practices for communicators

Choices are:

Finding Your Niche Markets Where They Live, led by David Sedeno, Executive Editor of the Texas Catholic at 12 noon on Thursday, March 22 at the Presbyterian Mission Center, 6100 Colwell Blvd, Irving, TX.

Jake Batsell

Converging Lanes of Communication, Jake Batsell, Assistant Professor of Journalism at SMU, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22 at the Hyatt Place Hotel, 5455 Green Park Drive, Irving, TX

Is Print Green?, Joe Polanco, President of Printing and Imaging Association of Mid-America, 12:15 p.m. Friday, March 23 at the Presbyterian Mission Center, 6100 Colwell Blvd, Irving, TX.

Joe Polanco

RCC members and others interested can attend any one of the keynotes for $15 (payable at the event, check or cash) which includes the meal. Please email or call for reservations or more information, Deb Christian, dchristian@umr.org, 214.630.6495 x147 by Friday, March 16. More information about the UMR conference is available at www.umportal.org, choose Communicators Conference on the left.

If you want to attend the entire conference or other parts of it, let me know and we’ll work out some arrangement.

Deb Christian, Secretary, Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter RCC


Peace be with you.

In today’s tough economic climate where we all try to do more with less, it is sometimes difficult to know when, or if, to add more staff. We ask ourselves: Do I get more work first, then bring in extra workers to handle it or do I go ahead and bring in the workers so I can handle more work as I get it?

The Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Religion Communicators Council has a program planned to provide some answers and insight, especially for our communication and faith-based needs. Abigail Allen, a senior account executive with Creative Circle will share ideas, suggestions and background for staffing. We’ll meet on Thursday, Feb. 23, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church.

Creative Circle is a specialized staffing agency representing advertising, creative, marketing, visual communication and interactive professionals. Ms. Allen has more than 12 years of experience in the advertising, creative and marketing industry. She works closely with companies, agencies and nonprofits in Dallas-Fort Worth to help identify top talent on both a freelance and full time basis. She has extensive experience in marketing communications, project management and business development.

Allen will introduce her company, explain how the process works, and give us examples, so we’ll be better prepared to work within our own organizations.

Cost is $15 and includes lunch. Please email or call Deb Christian, dchristian@umr.org, 214.630.6495 x147 to make a reservation.

——- From Deb Christian, Secretary, D-FW Chapter, RCC

Peace be with you.

Jake Batsell, Assistant Professor in the Journalism department at SMU, discussed media convergence and the importance of maintaining a presence in, or on, various media, including social media, at the January meeting of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Chapter of the RCC on January 26. He is also faculty adviser for the student media websites, combined at smudailycampus.com, including the SMU Daily Mustang, a multi-platform news site produced by journalism students, and SMU-TV. Entitled “Media Outreach During Turbulent Times for the News Business,” Batsell’s presentation included results of the longitudinal study of media convergence that he, his colleagues, and students have been conducting.

They began the  study by asking a central research question: To what extent has convergence journalism taken hold in U.S. newsrooms over the past decade, and to what extent have these cross-platform partnerships endured? Newspaper and TV managers in the top 200 U.S. media markets were surveyed in 2002-‘03 (Phase 1), 2004-‘05 (Phase 2), and again in 2011 (Phase 3). Batsell and his colleagues are currently studying the results of phase 3. The results indicate challenges and opportunities for media outreach.

“The bad news is that traditional newsrooms are short-staffed, making cultivating relationships with reporters difficult. When you do interact with reporters, they’ll have less time to absorb your story than they used to.”

The good news, particularly for religion communicators, is that there are more non-traditional ways to get the message out. “Press releases that used to be ignored now might spark a blog post, which can be amplified through social media.” Suggested links to background information during an interview are likely to be included in the story. Alternate media outlets are plentiful, such as NeighborsGo and DallasSouthNews, as well as Pegasus News and Advocate Magazine, in the Dallas area.

Current results of the study show that news managers are focusing on developing interactive relationships with readers and viewers, primarily through social media. Which includes multimedia (both staff-generated and user-generated), news as conversation (blogs, comments, live chats, etc.), and engagement via social media platforms. “Today, news is a two way conversation” between newsrooms of all media and their readers. As religion communicators, we need to join the conversation. In an online world of “likes”, links, blogs, comments, and re-sending articles, and posts, good content and internet interaction are key to delivering our message to more people.

Peace be with you.

Knowing the interest in the topic of Social Media, we searched high and low and found an expert to talk about it. Jake Batsell, Assistant Professor in the Journalism department at SMU, will present a program on media convergence at the January meeting of the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the Religion Communicators Council. The meeting will be Thursday, January 26 from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. at the University Park UMC, 4024 Caruth Blvd, Dallas. Jake is both a knowledgeable and engaging speaker.

Part of his current research is in Phase Three of a study that examines media “convergence” and how both the term and practices it encompasses have evolved in the past 10 years. Results show that news managers are focusing on developing interactive relationships with readers and viewers, primarily through social media. Batsell is also faculty adviser for the student media web sites. SMU Daily Mustang, a multi-platform news site produced by journalism students, and SMU-TV combined operations in fall of 2011. The result is www.smudailycampus.com.

Cost for the meeting is $15 and includes lunch. Please email or call to make reservations, dchristian@umr.org, 214.630.6495 x147, so we’ll be sure to have enough food. Please feel free to invite friends and co-workers who might be interested in this topic.  — from Deb Christian, Secretary.

Peace be with you.

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.

%d bloggers like this: