Our second and only full day of UMAC 2019 started with Breakfast in the Know, hearing from United Methodist agencies the General Board on Finance and Administration, the Commission on the Status and Role of Women, Discipleship Ministries and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, followed by opening worship with Missouri Conference bishop Bob Farr.
As the keynote, Jennifer Rodia, chief communications officer at United Methodist Communications, talked about what it means for us to be communicators at this time in The United Methodist Church.
“Communication is becoming more personal,” she said, while sharing communications trends of news, storytelling and collaboration. Digital communications are also continuing to increase, and transparency and measurability are key to communicating in 2019.
“The United Methodist Church is not dying,” she said. “There are stories of vitality all around us, and we are the fortunate ones charged with telling them.”
UMAC attendees next heard from the Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith, the Rev. Barbi Click, the Rev. Dan Handschy with the Episcopal Church and the Rev. Sharon Youngs with the Presbyterian USA church, whose denominations recently navigated historic changes regarding LGBT inclusion. They offered advice and lessons learned.
The process and the changes were hard, they said. People were hurt. People and churches left. But new people and new churches also joined. The panel was hopeful for the future of the church and told UMAC attendees to keep faith in God and trust God’s guidance for our denomination.
This was followed by a panel of communicators from United Methodist Central Conferences, whose work and contexts are different from many U.S.-based communicators. Betty Kazadi Musau from North Katanga, Gladys Mangiduyos from the Philippines and Karl Ander Ellingsen from Norway shared the joys and challenges of their work and their perspectives on the Way Forward and the special session of General Conference.
“Listen to people,” Musau offered as advice. “The more I listen to people, the more I am listened to.”
During the members’ meeting and lunch, current UMAC leadership team members reelected Mark Doyal, Rick Wolcott, Evelyn Warren and Tara Barnes to a second term as well as new members Diane Degnan, Carolyn Conover, and Deborah Coble to the seven open positions.
Gary Graves, secretary of General Conference, took questions from the group, which was followed by breakout sessions on photography, crafting a social media strategy and working with secular media. “Shop talk” with United Methodist Communications was up next, taking advantage of having the denomination’s communications agency together with the majority of the church’s communicators at agency and conference level.
The day and the event ended with our annual awards ceremony—stay tuned for the winners to be posted here!
Thank you to attendees and presenters who helped make this a great event!