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Religion Communication (Virtual) Congress 2020

In light of the cancellation of the Religion Communication Congress 2020 gathering due to coronavirus restrictions, the cooperating organizations of RCCongress 2020 have scheduled the following livestream webinar events as part of our commitment to professional development and recognition of excellence.

Although the organizers recognize meeting virtually is not that same as an in-person gathering, they are dedicated to providing as much programming from the convention as possible.

Please mark your calendar for the upcoming schedule of livestream workshop presentations!

Thursday, April 2 at 2:00pm ET
The One-Page Communication – Marketing Plan with Heidi Thompson

In this webinar, we’ll review a framework you can use for planning all kinds of communication efforts – from conferences to campaigns.

Whether you’ve got a big budget or none at all, a communication plan, even a simple, one-page plan, can make a huge difference. You’ll leave this webinar with a template to use for your own planning.

— Livestream at

Please Note: This livestream will NOT be recorded. It is available for viewing only during the scheduled time via Facebook Live.

Tuesday, April 7 at 2:00pm ET
Copyright, Social Media, and Communication with Dr. M Cayce Myers

This webinar discusses recent intellectual property law issues involving online and digital communication. Specific attention will be paid to copyright protection, issues of fair use, and digital display.

Myers is the legal research editor for the Institute for Public Relations and regularly writes trade press articles on legal developments affecting public relations. His articles can be accessed on the Institute for Public Relations website.

— Livestream at

Thursday, April 9 at 2:00pm ET
Backpack Journalism: Multi-Platform Story Creation with Gregg Brekke

Today’s journalists and content creators are expected to possess an ever-increasing set of skills and call upon expertise in writing, editing, photography and video production to do their jobs.

The growing demand for information by media outlets requires communicators to gather, produce and deliver high quality content using multiple tools and platforms. Relying on traditional journalistic principles, this webinar introduces the necessary reporting, information gathering and technical skills required to complete multi-media assignments without stress.

— Livestream at

Please Note: This livestream will NOT be recorded. It is available for viewing only during the scheduled time via Facebook Live.

Tuesday, April 14 at 2:00pm ET
Content is Everything. What is YOUR Strategy to Use it? with Lou Ann Sabatier

Content is everywhere. But what’s the point of it all? That depends on your strategy. If content is king, then content strategy is king-maker.

A great content strategy is founded on an understanding of audience, business needs, and amplification. And the more research and planning you can perform to develop this understanding, then the more likely you are to get the results and reader engagement you want. Having a plan is essential. It’s what turns your ideas, research, and concepts into reality. And how you plan your content will have a huge impact on your communications work and your organization.

This webinar (a condensed version of a two-part seminar) will clearly present a guide to creating and sticking with your content strategy. The benefits of investing in this training include:

  • You will better understand the “why” of content strategy
  • You will learn “how” – the four pillars of content strategy
  • You will leave with a list of practical tools and resources to help create or update your content strategy.

— Livestream at

Thursday, April 16 at 2:00pm ET
Religion Writing: From Pitch to Publication with Adelle Banks

Adelle Banks of Religion News Service will share insights and tips about interviewing, reporting, writing short and long stories, Q&As and projects.

Banks spearheaded an RNS multimedia project on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington that received recognition from the Religion Communicators Council, the Associated Church Press, and the Religion News Association.

A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she has spoken to groups ranging from veteran to budding journalists as well as to churches, other religious organizations and scholarly conferences.

— Livestream at

Tuesday, April 21 at 2:00pm ET
ΘeoCon (Thee-Oh-Con): Where Theology Meets Pop Culture! with the Rev. Shayna J. Watson

Conversation about how ΘeoCon (Thee-Oh-Con) features undeniable themes of theology and morality throughout pop culture, such as good versus evil, forgiveness, redemption, metaphysics, and are too often seen as secular themes only, rather than as spiritual, and a part of God’s story.

As founder of ΘeoCon (pronounced Thee-Oh-Con): Where Theology Meets Pop Culture!, a one day comic book convention-style event, Watson offers an embracing, open and affirming space for people to converse about or illustrate realities of the human condition as reflected in myth, fictional characters, and their narratives.

— Livestream at

Thursday, April 23 at 2:00pm ET
Creating a Third Space: Communicating Across Religious and Cultural Boundaries Through the Arts with Patrick Beldio

This webinar will focus on the limits and capabilities of the arts to communicate across cultural and religious spaces, creating what many scholars call a “third space” or a hybrid space where identities are more fluid, open, and creative, even as they are fearful, challenging, and uncomfortable.

With proper care and investment of time and resources, the arts can create and support these spaces where values and differences might be shared and clarified for individuals and communities that seek to work together for common goals of justice and beauty in more intimate and effective ways.

Verbal communications may provide an intellectual and psychological connection between people, but the arts offer a way to mature that relationship further into the heart where the faculty of the intuition resides, according to many important spiritual teachers.

— Livestream at

Tuesday, April 28 at 2:00pm ET
Pew Research – The Decline of Christianity in the United States: An Update on America’s Changing Religious Landscape

The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. At the same time, the share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month dropped by 7 percentage points, while the share who say they attend religious services less often (if at all) has risen by the same degree.

In this webinar, Pew Research Center’s Gregory A. Smith will discuss the Center’s latest update on America’s changing religious landscape.

— Livestream at

Thursday, April 30 at 2:00pm ET
The Moral Dimension of Online Communications with Cheryl Leanza

Social media offers a more powerful platform than ever before to share our ideas and reach across difference. At the same time that powerful platform can be used to super-charge hate, ignorance and divisiveness. What obligations do moral and ethical users of the platform have when we use these powerful tools?

Learn about the #ChangetheTerms accountability campaign to prevent hateful activities on social media. And join with the United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry as we invite you to co-create a forthcoming campaign to challenge ourselves as moral and ethical participants in online community.

— Livestream at

Tuesday, May 5 at 2:00pm ET
Pew Research – Americans’ Views on Religion’s Role in Society and Politics

According to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, a large majority of Americans feel that religion is losing influence in public life. While some say this is a good thing, many more view it as a negative development, reflecting the broad tendency of Americans to see religion as a positive force in society.

At the same time, U.S. adults are resoundingly clear in their belief that religious institutions should stay out of politics.

In this webinar, Pew Research Center’s Claire Gecewicz will discuss these and related survey findings, such as Americans’ trust in their religious leaders.

— Livestream at

Thursday, May 7 at 2:00pm ET
Storytelling and Media Arts that Spread a Vital Faith with Ron King, Ken Medema, and Friends

Rev. Dr. Ron King and Ken Medema will provide an interactive workshop featuring their respective storytelling talents along with a list of friends providing their own gifts.

This session is designed around making important but neglected stories accessible outside of clinical settings in a way that is respectful and safe for storytellers.

You will learn how to use a story map and interviewing methods based on the neurobiology of storytelling used by the Sidebar Stories reflective arts team. Participants will experience the role of music in telling spiritual stories that are often disruptive and best communicated through the use of expressive arts.

— Livestream at