Awards Honor United Methodist Storytellers

October 28, 2010

By the Rev. Kathy Noble*

Stories of people in mission and other outreach to their communities sparked many of the entries in the annual awards competition for United Methodist communicators.
The United Methodist Association of Communicators presented 10 awards of excellence and 53 certificates of merit Oct. 21 during the organization’s annual meeting. The association also honored the Rev. Mark Barden, director of communications in the Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference, as the "Communicator of the Year." The group also recognized the communicators who provided "on the ground" coverage in the wake of the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake.
Barden was praised for his coordination of the "Impact Community" event across the Western North Carolina Conference on June 5. That day, 14,635 United Methodists engaged in outreach with 629,639 of their neighbors. "Impact Community" is an extension of The United Methodist Church's Rethink Church campaign.
Thanking his colleagues and "everyone who has supported me through the years," Barden continued: "May God continue to bless us all as we strive to tell the story of Jesus Christ in all the corners of the world." Named his conference's director of communications in June 2006, Barden was director of mission for the conference from 2000 to 2006 and earlier served as a pastor to local congregations.
Haiti storytellers recognized
To "honor all of the communicators who went to Haiti for an extended period of time" after the Jan. 12 earthquake, the Rev. Art McClanahan announced a $250 gift to the United Methodist Committee on Relief to support continuing recovery efforts.
"The pictures and multi-media and writing that came back told the stories of people struggling just to stay alive (and helped United Methodists) find their place in the story," said McClanahan, a UMAC director. He thanked the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications, and Larry Hygh, executive director of mission communications with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, for their agencies' "courage and willingness to send people and to be our representatives there."
Ten entries portray 'excellence'
The staff of Response Magazine, a publication of United Methodist Women (Women's Division of the Board of Global Ministries), picked up two awards of excellence. Honored for the top entries in the publications and visual design categories were Barbara Wheeler, Yvette Moore, the Rev. Paul Jeffrey, Tanya Krawciw, Nilda Ferrari, Yun Nam Kang and Kevin Kang.
Other award of excellence winners:
The 2010 contest drew 189 entries.
The association's meeting began Oct. 19 with visits to United Methodist missions in the San Francisco area. It included presentations on communicating "in a world of electronically expanded people," communications as ministry, and "Imagine No Malaria," The United Methodist Church's initiative to eliminate deaths and suffering from malaria in Africa by 2015.
UMAC is the professional organization for communicators working in local United Methodist churches, districts, annual conferences, general agencies and institutions, and for United Methodists working in secular communications organizations. The 2011 annual meeting will be Oct. 18-21 in Albuquerque, N.M.
*Noble is editor of Interpreter magazine, published by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tenn.