Nominations for UMAC Hall of Fame

When making a nomination for an award, please consider these criteria:

  • 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.

Or, download and complete the PDF file and mail to Hall of Fame Nominations, c/o Royya James, United Methodist Communications, 810 12th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37203. Call Royya with questions at 615-742-5461, or send an email to

Previous Recipients

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.

The Rev. Larry Hygh, current director of communications for California-Nevada Conference, introduced his predecessor for the Hall of Fame at the UMAC Annual Awards celebration on March 23, calling her a trailblazer.

“This amazing woman set me up to succeed,” said Hygh. “I walked into the conference center and was able to build upon a communications ministry that was already thriving and in great shape.”

Monaghan began her communications career in the South at a time when women were required to wear dresses to work and were not allowed to cover the police beat. Although she had always had an interest in journalism and had created neighborhood “newspapers” as a child, her first job in the field came about by accident. Fresh out of their first year of college, she and her roommate decided to get a job and entered an advertiser building to buy a newspaper so they could look in the classified section. The person at the kiosk suggested that they actually apply at the paper. They did, took the necessary aptitude tests, and both were hired to work in the newsroom.

From that serendipitous beginning Monaghan went on to work in advertising, radio and television as well as print journalism. In 2006, she was hired to assist Jeneane Jones, communications director of the California-Nevada Conference. When Jones moved on to serve the General Commission on Religion and Race, Monaghan was named to succeed her on an interim basis, and eventually that appointment was made permanent. She served in that capacity until her retirement in 2012.

“Her commitment to our mission and ministry was deep and grounded in her own faith experience,” said former colleague Linda Caldwell, the California-Nevada Conference superintendent of mission collaboration. “Under her leadership we expanded and improved our regular communications to the churches and improved our Web presence. She clearly poured herself completely into the work with great thoughtfulness and skill.”

Bishop Beverly Shamana said Monaghan, who served as director of communications during her tenure as bishop of the San Francisco Episcopal Area, had an adept skill at helping make sense of diverse information and issues in the church. “Cate had a keen ear for following important stories in the conference and was a valuable addition to the staff,” said Bishop Shamana. “Her integrity of spirit was always positive and undergirded by a strong faith. I fully support her nomination.

Retired Bishop Warner H. Brown, who also served the San Francisco Episcopal Area, said Monaghan was a joy to work with. “She had a strong desire to help the church succeed in its mission. She approached the job with the highest level of professionalism, but it was not just a job for her. It was a part of living out her faith commitment.”

Monaghan thanked her former colleagues, bishops and UMAC friends for inspiring and mentoring her throughout her career.

“This recognition came as a complete surprise to me,” she said. “I want to say what a privilege is was to serve all you. I’m humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to serve The United Methodist Church and to serve alongside all of you. Thank you for this recognition. It is a great honor.”

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.