WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (Dec. 11, 2012—The California-Nevada Annual Conference is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Larry Hygh, Jr. as the next Conference director of communications. Hygh, a 5th-generation Methodist and layman, assumes the post on January 14 with a one-day orientation, and then will participate in the 2013 Quadrennial Training in Nashville with Bishop Brown, the extended cabinet, and members of the Conference core team.
He succeeds Cate Monaghan, who is retiring effective Dec. 16, 2012.
Hygh comes to California-Nevada from the General Board of Global Ministries (Global Ministries, or GBGM), where he served for two years as the associate general secretary, director of mission communications. At GBGM, Hygh served on the seven-member administrative cabinet and as the chief communications officer responsible for the agency's communications and marketing plans – which included video production, social media, website, and press and public relations efforts, both internal and external.
"We are pleased that Larry will bring his breadth of experience and commitment to Christ and the Church to the communications ministry of the California-Nevada Conference," said the Rev. Linda Caldwell, Conference superintendent for mission collaboration and supervisor for the communications position. "I have known Larry for several years, and in addition to his [having] great skill and witness of faith, he is a really nice person who brings joy and enthusiasm to all that he does."
Prior to Global Ministries, Hygh was the director of communications for the California-Pacific Annual Conference. A native of Marshall, Texas, Hygh in 1998 became the first recipient of the Judith L. Weidman Racial Ethnic Minority Fellowship in Communication, awarded by United Methodist Communications through an endowment set up by the late general secretary of that United Methodist agency. He served for one year as a communications intern in the New England Annual Conference, and then worked for one year as director of communications for the Mississippi Annual Conference, followed by two years as associate communications director in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.
Hygh said he is excited to return to communications ministry in the Western Jurisdiction. "As a lifelong United Methodist, and a 5th-generation Methodist, I am extremely excited about the opportunity to be in ministry and tell God's amazing story about God's people in the California-Nevada Conference," he said. "I am called to this ministry because of the 28th chapter of Matthew, and believe that we must continue to run from the tomb and tell the story – the old, old, timeless story – to the masses, using all of our modern day technologies."
Hygh has been involved in communications since his student years. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in radio and television from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1997. During this time he was an intern at the White House and House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., as well as at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Two years later, the same institution awarded him a Master of Arts degree in mass communications. While living in Southern California, Hygh earned a Doctor of Education degree in organizational leadership, awarded in 2008 by Pepperdine University's School of Education and Psychology. His dissertation focused on the leadership styles of the four African-American female bishops of The United Methodist Church – among them, two former California-Nevada resident bishops, retired Bishop Beverly Shamana and the late Bishop Leontine Kelly.
Hygh has strong connections within United Methodism. He was a lay delegate to the 2008 General Conference from the California-Pacific Annual Conference; currently serves on the boards of trustees of Gammon Seminary; and has served on the boards of United Methodist Communications, the African American Methodist Heritage Center, the Bishop Melvin G. Talbert Leadership Institute, and Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century. Hygh is a member of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC). His church membership is at New Day United Methodist Church in the Bronx, New York.
A graduate of Leadership Pasadena and Leadership Southern California, Hygh is a lifetime member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the organization that produces the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game. He also was an anchor and reporter for Pasadena's Crown City News, a weekly 30-minute television news program shown on cable stations in the San Gabriel Valley.
The purpose of the director of communications in the California-Nevada Annual Conference is to guide communications ministry by providing vision and leadership for communicating the mission and objectives of the Conference to local congregations, mission partners, and the general public (including ecumenical and interfaith partners in ministry). Essential functions of the position include:
- consulting and advising the cabinet on matters related to the coordination and communication of the Conference vision and mission;
- working collaboratively with Jane Horstman, the technologies specialist, who is a part of the communications office team;
- creating and implementing communication and marketing strategies related to the Conference mission and vision;
- providing crisis communications assistance;
- directing the Conference news services;
- assisting the episcopal office in providing interpretation for that office;
- providing for communications and media for the Annual Conference Session (ACS);
- directing the implementation and use of communications media and technologies by the Conference, congregations, and communities of faith; and
- consulting with the Conference superintendent for mission collaboration, on the development of promotional material on behalf of the Annual Conference.
The ministry of communications is important to the success of the shared ministry in the California-Nevada Conference.
"The previous directors of communication have always helped us to grow and to explore new means to effectively share our message," said Caldwell. "As Larry Hygh takes his place on our staff, we look forward to his leadership and to the many ways he will help us to grow even more in our ability to communicate – so that those inside the Church will be energized, and those outside the Church can catch a glimpse of the glory of God."