The Communications Ministry Team of the Iowa Conference was recognized for its work during the awards gala of the 2018 gathering of the United Methodist Association of Communicators. The event, held in Philadelphia, brought together denominational communicators from across the country as well as Nigerian Episcopal Area communicator, Rev. Ande Emmanuel. (Ande was ordained as an Elder in the UMC during an Iowa Annual Conference session.)
Associate Director of Communications, Liz Winders, received a second place award, in the e-newsletter category, for The Reporter. She and Director of Communications, Arthur McClanahan, received a second place award, in the electronic special publication category, for the Iowa Conference 2018 Narrative Budget, and he received a second place award, in the podcast or internet stream category, for the Iowa Conference Conversations podcast.
The UMAC Leadership Team welcomed the 125 participants to “Embrace Change,” the 2018 theme, with an invitation to be “the storytellers of this church” who are gifted with the opportunity “to share the Good News…[by] telling the stories of those living out that work.” Dr. McClanahan is the chair emeritus of the leadership team.
Dan Krause, General Secretary of United Methodist Communications, spoke about the changing forms of communication in the world and the changes across the denomination. Focusing on its objectives of engaging, equipping, claiming and nurturing “We are aligning our messages and creating spaces for communicating…[as] we seek to create dynamic content …along clear communication channels utilizing a variety of mediums.”
Communicators heard shared experiences of advocacy communications and the “shareability” of creating “messages that stick.” “Shareable stories,” Len Wilson said, “are about life change, and they are clear…every good story is about a changed life.”
Hands-on learning and peer-to-peer sharing have long been a hallmark of UMAC gatherings. The several workshops included “social media and technology for the local church and annual conference,” co-led by Art McClanahan, “the modularization of publishing for the web,” which was led by Rev. Wil Ranney of the Iowa Conference, “Church like Pixar,” and "maximizing your communications commission team,” led by Rev. Deborah Coble, former Iowa Conference clergy and current Director of Communications for the West Virginia Annual Conference.
Insights into communicating the Church’s “Way Forward,” a particularly timely discussion as the church moves toward the 2019 special session of the General Conference, were offered by the communications director for the Council of Bishops and chief connectional ministries officer of the Connectional Table.
The awards gala capped off the 2018 UMAC gathering. Rev. Deborah Coble was named “Communicator of the Year.” Wayne Rhodes, retired communications director for the General Board of Church and Society, was inducted into the UMAC Hall of Fame.