From the Worldwide Faith News archives

RCC 2000 Closing gala brings communicators to their feet

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date 14 Apr 2000 12:12:27

  Title: RCC 2000 Closing gala brings communicators to their feet

  By Suzy Heydel


The audience at the closing banquet of Religious Communications 
Congress  (RCC) 2000 had the last word at the gathering for religious 
communicators  that took place in Chicago March 29-April 1, 2000. As the 
house lights came  up, and the final musical notes faded in the 
seventh-floor ballroom of the  Downtown Marriott, the appreciative crowd of 
nearly 900 was on their feet clamoring for more.

The theme of RCC 2000 was "Faith Stories in a Changing World," and 
the  closing program was as diverse thematically as the rest of the 
four-day event. Munira Sen of India, Hillary Nicholson of Jamaica and Scott 
Collins of Dallas began the final celebration with a "charge" to the 
audience to carry the many faith stories of RCC 2000 back home with them.

Composer Ken Medema and members of the Wing IT Performance Ensemble set the 
musical tone for the evening and brought the audience to their feet the 
first time with a rousing challenge to "hug at least 39 people in the 
room."   With the ice broken, and after some final reflections by RCC 2000 
chairperson Shirley Whipple Struchen, the evening's entertainment was 
turned over to Odyssey, a Henson and Hallmark Entertainment Network, 
which  sponsored the congress finale.

Emmy Award-winning journalist Mary Alice Williams, host of Odyssey's 
"Quiet  Triumphs" series and the "Odyssey Weekly" broadcast, stepped to the 
podium and reflected upon some of the stories that have shaped her life and
career in broadcast journalism. Susan Frank, Executive Vice President and 
General Manager of Odyssey Entertainment, followed Williams and reinforced 
her message.

"Keep telling your stories," Frank urged members of the audience. "They're 
important and deserve to be heard."
  After the remarks by Williams and Frank, the closing gala turned into a 
hand-clapping, toe-tapping celebration of faith stories set to 
music.  Chicago's Grammy Award-winning Thompson Community Singers literally 
rocked  the ballroom, warming up the crowd for a special performance by 
gospel singer Yolanda Adams. Adams, another Grammy-winner, is one of the 
latest performers to join Odyssey's stable of stars.

RCC 2000, a global examination of faith stories attended by people from 
every continent, concluded with the floors of the Marriott shaking and the 
enthusiastic audience shouting their approval. It seemed a fitting tribute 
to a global convocation in the planning since 1995.  Only the fourth event 
of its kind since 1970, the congress drew 1,200 religious communicators, 
representing dozens of different faith traditions.

According to Brad Pokorny of the Office of Public Information of the 
Baha'i  International Community, "I felt (the RCC 2000) emphasis on 
globalism and global partners was really, really important and much needed. 
I know,  speaking for the roughly one dozen Baha'is who were there, that we 
all felt really welcomed and included. In general there was an atmosphere 
of genuine interfaith ecumenism that went beyond mere tolerance to a real 
sense of  harmony and consonance."

Participants attended more than 120 workshops, panel discussions and 
plenary sessions led by some of the most distinguished communicators at 
work today. The roster of speakers and presenters included: the Rev. Jesse 
the  Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, former general secretary of the National 
Council  of Churches of Christ; author and theologian Martin Marty; Derrick 
de Kerchhove Director of the McCluhan Project; and Pulitzer Prize winning 
photographer John White of the Chicago Sun Times.

For more information about RCC 2000, including news releases, audio and 
video ordering information and a comprehensive photo gallery, visit the 
website at

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home