Local Church Communicators Join UMAC Annual Meeting in San Francisco

October 29, 2010

By Jane Horstman
Communications Office, CA-NV Annual Conference

The contributions of local church communicators were showcased this year at the annual meeting of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC). In support of efforts by host Conference California-Nevada to engage the communications ministry of local churches, the UMAC board extended a special day rate to church communicators, to make attending the event a more affordable option.
It was enough to enable 15 local church communicators to join in the meeting's two days of workshops and presentations October 20-21, in San Francisco.
They had the opportunity to attend workshops on topics such as Cyberspace and Sacredspace (led by Rev. Dr. Eric Law of Kaleidoscope Institute); Copyright Essentials; Safe Sanctuary: What's Changing with New Emerging Media; Effective PowerPoint Presentations; Viral Video; and Web Optimization.
Many voiced their appreciation and commented on the timeliness of the opportunity: In June of this year a resolution (Item 32) was passed at Annual Conference Session, calling for each local church in the California-Nevada Annual Conference to "create and maintain a 'Communications Coordinator' position."
"The first workshop was a bit technical but I was alerted to a very promising opportunity for us to take advantage of free Google Internet/email access for our membership," Mike Fillmore of Church of the Wayfarer in Carmel reported to his pastor.
"The second workshop was most interesting and informative regarding elevating/maintaining a superior search website ranking on Google," while "an excellent speaker [Rev. Eric Law] covered a lot of group communication ground/techniques in Bible Study and gave us a model to improve our communication,” he added.
Amelia Chua, an independent filmmaker and member of Trinity UMC in Berkeley, said she was energized by seeing the badges showing that people were attending from all over the country. She noted that “sitting together, you don’t feel like ‘I don’t know how’ to do something.”
"The entire time at the meeting was thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening – radical hospitality was certainly happening," said Charlotte Butcher of St. Helena UMC.
Other church communicators said the meeting was informative, enlightening and inspirational, and expressed plans to share the information they had gathered with their pastors and others.
"I really enjoyed the event and I look forward to sharing the information with my pastor, the church council, and anyone who will hear me," remarked Cynthia DeLand from Lynnewood UMC.
In addition to the workshops, many of the church communicators attended the Thursday luncheon at which the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of UMCom, and Bishop Thomas Bickerton briefed the gathering on Imagine No Malaria, The United Methodist Church's initiative to eliminate deaths and suffering from malaria in Africa by the year 2015.
A roundtable discussion, “Shop Talk,” sponsored by UMCom, followed.
The presence of the church communicators was widely applauded; numerous UMAC members expressed gratitude for their participation and noted how gratifying it was to see them participate fully in discussions and other aspects of the event. In fact, it was two local church communicators – DeLand and Mark Sargent of Sparks (NV) UMC – who stepped up to volunteer to assist Rev. Law in creating the art installation he had planned!
Notably, at the final business session of the meeting, UMAC adopted a three-tiered membership structure which will help make it easier for local church communicators, students, and retired communicators to take part in future meetings.
Read related stories: