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.
Watch for a call for nominees for the hall of fame as we draw closer to our next annual meetings, expected for February 2019 in St. Louis.
2018 – Wayne Rhodes
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.
Announcement of the honor was made by UMAC President Mark Doyal, who began the presentation reading a letter by James Winkler. Now president of the National Council of Churches, Winkler was the General Secretary of GBCS during Rhodes tenure there.
“Wayne’s vast experience, good judgment and calm manner were just what we needed as we worked in the whirlwind of issues of justice and peace on Capitol Hill,” Winkler said.
Winkler credited Rhodes’ “Oklahoma accent and empathetic manner” as gifts that served the agency well, noting, “He talked down from the edge many a disgruntled United Methodist who was ready to jump from the edge of reason into the abyss of fake news and alternative reality.”
Rhodes spoke to the sometimes beleaguered audience of communicators present with that mature voice. “These are trying times and you are at the forefront of these trying times,” he reflected. “Jesus told us to go and communicate. You can never back away from communicating that message.”
Those with a minimum of 10 years of experience as a United Methodist communicator and retired from full-time work for at least three years are eligible for the UMAC Hall of Fame. Annual selection is based on a record of excellence in the communication ministry of the church.
Rhodes graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. He also has a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Earlier in his career, he was a daily newspaper reporter, magazine writer and editor. Before employment by The United Methodist Church, he consulted on how to implement communications programs for a wide range of clients that included multinational corporations and local churches.
Wayne now resides in Glen Allen, Virginia, with his wife Linda Rhodes, a former UMAC treasurer, who recently retired as director of communications for the Virginia Conference.
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.
2016 – Joan La Barr
Joan La Barr receives her award from Art McClanahan, chairman of the United Methodist Association of Communicators
2013 – Boyce Bowden
Boyce Bowden, former director of communications for the Oklahoma Annual Conference.
2012 – Rev. Al Horton
The Rev. Al Horton, former communications director, Virginia Annual Conference.
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)|
Rev. Paul Widicus
J. Richard Peck
Donald Small (posthumous)
Rev. Dr. Robert Robertson (posthumous)
The Rev. Judith Weidman
The Rev. James Wall
|Bettie Wilson Story
Vilmars M. Zile
|Keith I. Pohl
William F. Force
|John Louis Borhert
Daniel D’Umuk Aguila
Lee A. Ranck
John Williams (posthumous)
|Rev. Kenneth Horn
Bishop W.T. Handy (posthumous)
|Laura J. Okumu
Rev. D. L. Dykes (posthumous)
Rev. Gilbert Galloway
|Rev. Bruno Caliandro (posthumous)
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
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.