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It's once-a-decade religion communication event
and most participants consider it worth the wait

Chicago, February 22, 2010 -- Many who will attend Religion Communication Congress 2010 here April 7-10 weren't born when the first congress was held in 1970.

For other religious communicators of a certain age -- many nearing retirement -- the once-a-decade event is a marker to measure the key phases of a long career.

Philip Poole, who directs communications for Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., has attended every Congress except the first and won't miss the coming one. "To share interaction with fellow religion communicators from around the world has enhanced my own professional expertise and experience," says Poole.

For Melissa Dixon, 22 -- a member of the National Council of Churches staff who also serves as RCC2010 registrar -- this will be the first Congress.

“I am looking forward to the incredible networking opportunities at Congress," Dixon says. "Rarely does one get the opportunity to meet and learn from so many pioneers in the fields of religion and communication."

An estimated 600 communication professionals from around the world with gather at the Resource Plaza in Chicago to learn about new technologies, network, and enhance their communication skills.

Committed to diversity and inclusiveness, the 2010 RC Congress includes over 50 workshops, roundtable discussions, speakers, and performances from a wide range of communication disciplines, faith traditions, and theological perspectives. Planned by a North American committee in cooperation with over 95 organizations, the 2010 RC Congress is the leading interfaith communication conference in the world.

Definitions of religion communicators are as wide-open as the Congress itself. Participants will include religion news writers, public relations specialists, bloggers, television and film producers, and pastors of churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples whose daily task is to communicate an important message to congregations and communities.

In addition to Melissa Dixon, other National Council of Churches leaders and staff will play key roles at Religion Communication Congress 2010. Notably, Shirley W. Struchen, the NCC's coordinator of electronic media programming and executive director of the Religion Communicators Council, is coordinator of the Congress planning group.

Making presentations at the Congress are Dr. Diana Eck, chair of the NCC's Interfaith Relations Commission and director of the Pluralism Project, and Kathryn Lohre, NCC President Elect., and assistant director of the Pluralism Project. Former NCC General Secretary Joan Brown Campbell will also address the Congress.

Leading communications for the Congress is Lesley Crosson, Media Relations Officer for Church World Service. Members of the NCC Communication Commission also play prominent roles in telling the Congress story.

Award-winning author Mitch Albom (Have A Little Faith, Tuesdays with Morrie) will help kick-off the 2010 RC Congress on April 7 2010, with a much-anticipated speech. Albom's latest book, Have A Little Faith, debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times nonfiction best-sellers list. The book talks about Albom's personal faith journey, influenced by a rabbi and a pastor.

Other speakers include Katya Andersen (Chief Operating Officer, Network for Good), Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid (Founder, Sound Vision Foundation), and Nick Stuart (President/CEO, Odyssey Networks).

2010 RC Congress workshops include: "Bridging the Digital Divide: Social Marketing Applied," "Virtual or Real: Faith in the Second Life Community," "How to Evaluate, Research about Congregations and Worshipers," "Using the Internet as a Tool for Faith Understanding," "Changing Society, Changing Media," "Tools for Communicating in Multi-Religious America," "Social Networking and Congregations," "When Religion Meets New Media," "Religion in the News Media: Going, going gone?," "Communication for Peace: How Digital Technologies can Enhance Empathy and Dialogue," "Cultural Diversity and Communication  -- A Panel Presentation," "Helping Kids Mind the Media in Faith Communities."

Another feature of the 2010 RC Congress is Film/Video Showcase. The producers will present excerpts from twelve pre-selected films, all with a faith and values element, with time allotted for discussion.

Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma will be the feature film of the 2010 RC Congress. Sponsored by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), Triage is inspired by Dr. Orbinski’s 2008 book An Imperfect Offering, for which he won the Writer's Trust of Canada’s Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. The film follows Dr. Orbinski to Somalia, Rwanda, and Congo and captures the haunting choices doctors face as they race against time with limited resources.

At the 2010 RC Congress, the recipients of the 2010 DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards, and Wilbur Awards will also be announced. The Religion Communicators Council, an interfaith association of religious communicators at work in print, electronic media, public relations, and advertising with 13 local chapters, gives both awards. The DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given annually to active members of the RCC for excellence in religious communication and public relations. The Wilbur Awards are given in recognition of individuals in secular media who communicate religious issues, values, and themes with professionalism, fairness, and honesty.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) ,

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