UMAC Hall of Fame

Our organization celebrates a hall of fame, dedicated to men and women who have excelled in the ministry of communications. We use several criteria in making these decisions:

  • A minimum of 10 years experience as a United Methodist communicator, retired from full-time work at least three years. (May be living or deceased.)
  • Emphasis is placed on the significance of a nominee’s contribution to the communication ministry of the church and a record of excellence. Individual’s background may include multiple communication disciplines and also communication service beyond the job/church.


Nominate a communicator for this award.

Rev. Dr. Dan Gangler addresses the UMAC gala attendees after being named to the organization’s hall of fame. Photo by Matt Brodie


2019 — Dan Gangler

The United Methodist Association of Communicators  announced the Rev. Dr. Daniel R. Gangler as the Hall of Fame inductee for 2019. Gangler, a gifted journalist, has told the stories of both The United Methodist Church and The Disciples of Christ. He is now retired and living in Indianapolis after 38 years in pastoral and communication ministries.

In 1983 Gangler started service as the communications officer for the Nebraska Conference of The United Methodist Church, after having served as an ordained pastor there for seven years. Later he became the director of communications for the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. He also worked as an associate editor of the United Methodist Reporter and as managing editor of the Disciple Magazine of The Christian Church based in Indianapolis.

The United Methodist Association of Communicators previously honored Gangler with the Communicator of the Year award in 1996.

Addressing his longtime colleagues on the eve of the 2019 General Conference, Gangler remarked, “We are facing a very difficult General Conference. I’ve been acting as the news guru for the Indiana Conference. I have covered seven General Conferences and have never seen the likes of this.”

The veteran newsman left UMAC members with 12 words of wisdom: “I’ve based my pastoral and communications ministry on these words. Be assertive. Be truthful. Be gracious. Be you. And speak with integrity.”

Read the full article by Kay DeMoss.

Previous Recipients

2018 – Wayne Rhodes

UMAC chair Mark Doyal, left, presents the 2018 UMAC Hall of Fame award to Wayne Rhodes at the Westin Philadelphia March 9.

The United Methodist Association of Communicators announced Wayne Rhodes as the Hall of Fame inductee for 2018. Rhodes served for two decades in The United Methodist Church as an educator and advocate for peace with justice. He was an able voice for both The United Methodist Social Principles and The Advance.

At the time of his retirement in 2015, Rhodes was serving as director of communications for the General Board of Church and Society, the public witness and advocacy arm of the denomination. In that role he edited the agency’s e-newsletter, “Faith in Action,” developed program materials and served as a media relations contact.

Prior to joining Church and Society, Rhodes spent seven years as North Central Jurisdiction Field Representative of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. In that role, he interpreted and promoted mission activities of the worldwide denomination for 12 annual conferences. During his tenure, the North Central Jurisdiction led the denomination in financial support of The Advance every year.

Read the full article by Kay DeMoss.

2017 – Catherine (Cate) Monoghan

The United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) announced Catherine (Cate) Monaghan as the Hall of Fame inductee for 2017. Monaghan served as the director of communications for the California-Nevada Annual Conference from 2006 to 2012 and as past president of UMAC.

Read the story.



2016 – Joan La Barr

Joan La Barr receives her award from Art McClanahan, chairman of the United Methodist Association of Communicators

Read the story.





2013 – Boyce Bowden

Boyce Bowden, former director of communications for the Oklahoma Annual Conference.

Read the story.



2012 – Rev. Al Horton

The Rev. Al Horton, former communications director, Virginia Annual Conference.

Read the story.





2011 – Rev. Ann Greene Whiting and Wally Athey

The 2011  Hall of Fame inductees are Wally Athey, Paradise Valley, Ariz., and the late Rev. Ann Greene Whiting. Whiting, who died on March 28,2011, was recognized for her “courage and conviction” by the Rev. Dan Gangler, Indiana Conference director of communications. Whiting was editor of the Southern New England edition of the United Methodist Reporter and Zion’s Herald and served as editor and publisher of the Michigan Christian Advocate.

Athey left a 30-year career in television news in 1997 to become the first director of communications for the Desert-Southwest Annual Conference. While there, said Stephen J. Hustedt, current director, Athey set the course for “what the conference first sounded like and what it would be.” Athey now directs communications at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church.

2009 – Rev. Hilly Hicks

The Rev. Hilly Hicks dramatically raised the level and value of film and video production for The United Methodist Church beginning in the middle 1980s.  Hilly was the first “Hollywood” actor/producer to be wooed to come to Nashville, Tenn., to lead the denomination into a new era of film and video production. It was because of his producing and acting experience the church launched its first weekly TV national news magazine show, Catch The Spirit and Hilly served as the anchor. Years later, this work led to the current national television advertising campaign.
At the height of his acting career, Hilly attended seminary and became an ordained pastor.  Immediately out of seminary, he became a senior producer at UMCom and started prepping for the on-camera talent and co-producer for Catch the Spirit.

Hilly’s best-remembered role is probably as Lewis Moore, the younger son of Chicken George, in the groundbreaking TV mini-series Roots. He had been a finalist for the part of Kinte Kunte. He also appeared in TV episodic programs such as Adam-12,  Lassie, One Day at a Time, The Mod Squad, Cannon, The Bill Cosby Show, Good Times, Night Gallery, Hill Street Blues, hada recurring role on M*A*S*H, and was a co-star on his own TV show called Roll Out.  Feature film credits include Friendly Fire, Gray Lady Down with Charlton Heston, Go Tell The Spartans, Call Me Mister Tibbs and Raise the Titanic. A multi-talented performer, Hilly evendid voice work in Hanna Barbera’s 1970s Godzilla TV cartoon.

Hilly brought this level of experience to United Methodist Communications in 1984. His producing abilities were legendary—small “church” productions became nationally recognized. His productions told rich stories.

Hilly left UMCom in 2008 to become senior pastor at Crenshaw United Methodist Church in south central Los Angeles, California, near the heart of the racial unrest in the early 1990s. His son is playwright Hilly Hicks Jr., who has written for TV shows such as Lost and was lead writer for the network program Pasadena.



Previous Hall of Fame Inductees

2008   Sharon Fulmer (posthumous)



  Lynne DeMichele
Rev. Paul Widicus
J. Richard Peck
2006   No honorees



  Thomas McAnally
Donald Small (posthumous)
Rev. Dr. Robert Robertson (posthumous)



  Roger Sadler
The Rev. Judith Weidman



  Ron Council
The Rev. James Wall



  Bettie Wilson Story
Robert Lear
Vilmars M. Zile



  Keith I. Pohl
William F. Force
Betty Thompson



  John Louis Borhert
Daniel D’Umuk Aguila
1999   Bill Matthews
Lee A. Ranck
John Williams (posthumous)



  Rev. Kenneth Horn
Bishop W.T. Handy (posthumous)
Winston Taylor
John Lovelace



  Laura J. Okumu
Rev. D. L. Dykes (posthumous)
Rev. Gilbert Galloway



  Rev. Bruno Caliandro (posthumous)
Nelson Price
Rev. G. Ross Freeman



  Rev. David Briddell
Rev. Emory Stevens Bucke (posthumous)
John G. Goodwin
Rev. Robert E. Ortmayer



  Roger L. Burgess
Carl Marie Herb
Rev. Roy Stinson Smyres (posthumous)
Rev. David Abernathy (posthumous)



  John S. Workman
Darrell R. Shamblin (posthumous)
John E. Martin (posthumous)
Ruth Esther Meeker



  Spurgeon M. Dunnam III (posthumous)
Sophie Lee Lonetree Mrotek (posthumous)
Grant J. VerHulst (posthumous)
Curtis A. Chambers
Anton J. Pilversack
Chester A. Vanderbilt



  Gene W. Carter
Miron A. Morrill
Charles A. McEowen
Charlotte O’Neal
Maude M. Turpin (posthumous)



  George M. Daniels
Robert E. Goodrich (posthumous)
Doris E. Hess
Edward J. Mikula



  Georgia M. Dailey
Lewis O. Hartman (posthumous)
William M. Holt
Floyd A. Johnson
Edwin A. Maynard



  Arthur J. Moore
Frances S. Smith
John F. Young
Toge Fujihira (posthumous)
Robert F. Story
A. McKay Brabham Jr.