The Religion Communicators Council meets each month to hear about a topic of interest. In 2014, the Nashville chapter held regular meetings as well as hosted the annual convention.
The Religion Communicators Council (RCC) hears regularly from a variety of organizations and groups which better the community, promote messages of faith or give tips on how to spread the good word. In 2014, RCC members were able to learn from many more organizations and faith groups.
The year began with a meeting at Horton Group where RCC members learned the “Basic Principles of Good Design,” from Senior Designer Corey Lamp who took them through real examples of what to do with balance, proximity, alignment, spacing, contrast and hierarchy.
Next RCC visited the Islamic Center of Nashville where they were able to meet three members of the Muslim Women’s Council. Aisha Lbhalla founded the Muslim Women’s Council of Tennessee, first with the purpose of getting Muslim women active and contributing to worthy causes, and now to bring them closer to those of other faith traditions.
After this meeting, Lbhalla was elected to serve as Membership Officer for the Executive Committee of the Nashville Chapter of RCC. Other officers elected to serve this year include Rev. Brian Fesler, Pastor of the Church of Scientology, who will continue in his role as President of the local chapter; Drew Pope, Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who is the new Vice President for Programming; Royya James, Conference Relations Coordinator of United Methodist Communications, who is now the Treasurer; and Julie Brinker, Director of Community Affairs for the Church of Scientology, who is remaining Communications Coordinator for the Nashville chapter.
In April, Nashville hosted the national convention for the RCC at the Inn at Opryland. The convention offered exciting plenary speakers, challenging workshops and awards to secular and faith-based organizations for exceptional work communicating faith issues.
The opening session featured Remziya Suleyman with American Center for Outreach, who provided a moving and informative look into the Role of Religious Communication in Public Advocacy by sharing her own experience in the field. Plenary sessions also featured speakers Rev. Larry Hollon of United Methodist Communications, Dr. Sybril Bennett of Belmont University in Nashville, Rev. Michael Waters of Joy Tabernacle AME Church in Dallas, and Sarah Wilke, Publisher of the Upper Room Ministries.
Workshops featured professional development, communication in a digital age, and interfaith communication. Speakers included Daoud Abudiab with the Islamic Center of Columbia, Bob Smietana formerly with the Tennessean newspaper, D. Greg Droubay with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and many more.
A special celebration was held in honor of the 85th anniversary of the RCC where a brief history of the organization was shown, and the dates and place of the 2015 RCC Convention were announced: April 9-11 in Washington, D.C.
After the convention, the Nashville chapter continued its regular meetings with a presentation by the Tennessee Department of Health Faith Based Initiatives Office Director, Dr. Michele Gourley. Dr. Gourley discussed the importance of being prepared in case of a disease epidemic in the community, such as Ebola, as well as having Points of Dispensing Clinics (PODs) set up well in advance so communities have a location to turn to in case of an outbreak of this nature.
RCC then wrapped up the year with a visit to Hands On Nashville, a volunteer organization which helps connect good causes to helpful people. They heard from Director of Corporate Relations, Tara Tenorio, who discussed volunteer opportunities such as ReCYCLE forKids, a program to bring used bikes to kids in need, as well as the MLK Day of Service.
RCC is open to members from all denominations, and the Nashville group includes Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Scientologists, and more. For further information about the RCC or their next meeting, visit www.religioncommunicators.org.