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Episcopal Communicators in San Diego

Episcopal communicators are an unwieldy bunch. They’re writers, editors, webmasters, photographers, videographers, Internet strategists, Episcopalians, atheists, spiritual-but-not-religious, clergy members, gay, straight, black, white, Hispanic, Asian. This diverse group met in the Diocese of San Diego April 3-5 at the downtown Omni for training, networking and general honing of their craft.

Communicators from all nine provinces of the Episcopal Church gathered to attend workshops such as Neva Rae Fox’s “Getting the Word Out,” about public relations and working with the media, and Scott Gunn’s “Characters Wanted: 140 of Them,” which gave pointers about Twitter and tweeting. One of the most popular workshops was “Telling Your Story on Film,” led by Craig Wirth, communicator from the Diocese of Utah and professor of communications at the University of Utah. His dry sense of humor and 37 years of experience as a network and local TV reporter made him an excellent presenter; many said they gleaned useful information that will improve their videos immediately.

Another new workshop this year was Jamie Coats’ “Creative Communications,” in which participants took off their shoes and traced their feet as part of engaging their bodies, and thereby heightening creativity. Local talent gave presentations on “Social Media Strategies,” “Interviewing and Writing,” and “Marketing and Messaging.” View all workshops and presenter bios.

The conference opened with an evening Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Bishop Mathes preached and presided while the Cathedral staff pulled out all the stops for these communications professionals. Thurifer, organist and evening light shining through the rose window made this a beautiful liturgy. Bishop Mathes’ sermon set the tone for the conference and honored the faithful work of communicators. A dusk reception in the Queen’s courtyard and a festive Mexican dinner in the Great Hall gave people opportunities to connect.

Justin Wise gave three keynote addresses throughout the course of the conference. Wise is the executive director of the Center for Church Communications and the communications director for Monk Development. He confirmed the importance of the church’s presence on Facebook and Twitter as he examined the church’s involvement with technology in the past, present and future.

An outing to Coronado, coordinated by Christie Tugend, communicator at Christ Church, Coronado, left participants with a taste of the local beauty of this region. A walking tour that concluded at the Hotel Del, plus hospitality from Christ Church and the Rev. Edward Harrison, made this a high point for many attendees.

Others cited the evening at the San Diego Zoo as the highlight. One lucky participant took home an iPad as the winner of the scavenger hunt. Anne Stone from the Diocese of Washington DC could not have been happier as she received her prize.

About 20 communicators from the Diocese of San Diego attended. Many volunteered their time, making the conference run smoothly, while benefitting from the learning sessions. The board of the Episcopal Communicators is grateful to all who supported this conference, which many are saying is the best one yet!

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