Under the theme "Rising to New Heights: Communicating in a Diverse World," local church, Conference, and general agency communicators from around the country and beyond gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico Oct. 18-21, for the annual meeting of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC). The organization welcomed more than 30 first-time attendees – including two African communicators, whose expenses were paid by United Methodist Communications and the UMAC Helping Hands Scholarship fund.
The Rev. Lorenza Andrade-Smith, a United Methodist pastor who spent time in jail in support of the DREAM Act, and who has taken a vow of poverty to live among the homeless for three years, gave an inspiring keynote address.
There were two panel discussions – one on General Conference 2012, and another on Conference-general agency relations – along with three sessions of stimulating workshops.
Bishop Max Whitfield, episcopal leader of the New Mexico/Northwest Texas Area of The United Methodist Church, led opening worship on Tuesday.
A mission experience followed, with one group serving at The Storehouse, the city's largest emergency food distribution center, and a second group working on the grounds of Casa Esperanza, which provides housing and support for patients and families temporarily relocated to Albuquerque because of illness. The following day communicators learned about the synthesis of Native American and Christian religion and culture, in a tour of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (in photo at left, by Neill Caldwell, Virginia Annual Conference).
The California-Nevada Annual Conference Communications Office received two awards of merit at the UMAC awards gala on Thursday evening (Oct. 20).
The Conference website (www.cnumc.org) was cited by the Indiana judges for its "professional design, solid content," and being "easy to navigate."
The Catch Fire in 50 Days blog (http://catchfirein50days.net), administered by the Communications Office, was recognized for its concept and graphic appeal.
Communications director Cate Monaghan serves the professional organization as vice-president and technologies specialist Jane Horstman is a member of a UMAC committee.