From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Institute offers communications training, certification

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Fri, 16 Apr 2004 15:12:56 -0500

April 16, 2004	 News media contact: Linda Green 7 (615) 742-5470 7
Nashville, Tenn. 7 E-mail: 7 ALL{180}

NOTE: A photograph of Kathy Noble is available at

By Amy Green*

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - In today's media-saturated society, telling the
United Methodist Church's story has never been tougher - or more important. 
To give a boost to the church's communicators - and any others whose jobs
require similar skills - a Christian Communications Ministry Institute has
been created. It will offer training in media writing, ethics and law,
advertising and theological studies. 
The institute is a collaborative effort of the church's Committee on
Certification in Christian Communications and United Methodist-related Martin
Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn. It is designed for those working in
church communications with little or no training in the area and for those
who want more expertise in the field.  

"We live in such a mass-media culture that the job for religion communicators
is just made more complex," said Kathy Noble, chairwoman of the Committee on
Certification in Christian Communications and editor of the denomination's
Interpreter magazine. 
"Our messages need to be developed and delivered with as much skill and
expertise as we possibly can have," she said. "We need to be able to identify
our audiences and develop our messages in a way that will reach those
audiences, and have the impact that we want them to have."    
Beginning this summer, the institute will offer an intensive week of
lectures, discussions and assignments on the Martin Methodist campus. The
institute is part of the college's Center for Church Leadership Program, and
participants must sign up by May 1 for the July 25-30 training. Another week,
tentatively scheduled for July 11-15, 2005, will complete the training. In
addition, participants will be given work to complete before and after their
time on the Martin Methodist campus. 
Certification in Christian Communications is offered through a partnership of
United Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Association of
Communicators, a professional organization of communicators in the

Communicators who meet specific requirements, as outlined by the
certification committee, have options of being certified in a variety of
fields. Those who successfully complete both years of training at the
institute will have met the academic requirements for certification. 
The institute also is available to those who are not seeking certification
but have communications as part of their jobs, Noble said. 
Guido Stempel, director of the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio
University, will teach law and ethics this year. Teaching writing will be
Cecile Holmes, a former religion reporter and editor at the Houston Chronicle
who now teaches at the University of South Carolina. The Rev. Duane Ewers
will teach a course on United Methodist studies. He joined the Martin
Methodist faculty last fall after retiring from the United Methodist Board of
Higher Education and Ministry. 

Too often, United Methodist communicators lack a full understanding of the
denomination's bureaucracy, Ewers said.
"I'm aware of the need for persons to have an insight and understanding of
the church and how it works so that when they're doing news stories they have
a context of it," he said. "People know less and less about the church, and
the focus is so much on the local congregations that many folks in the United
Methodist Church don't have an awareness."
Next year's courses will be in communications theory and planning,
advertising and United Methodist studies. The grading system will be

Participants may live in on-campus residence halls and must provide for their
own meals. 

The cost per term is $765.  Registration forms are available at Martin
Methodist College, 433 W. Madison St., Pulaski St., Pulaski, TN 38478, or
(800) 467-1273; or by calling Noble at United Methodist Communications in
Nashville, at (615) 742-5441. 
# # #
*Green is a free-lance journalist based in Nashville, Tenn.


United Methodist News Service
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