Despite difficult travel conditions in the United States, 150 Seventh-day Adventist communications professionals and students gathered October 5 near O’Hare Airport in Chicago for a three-day conference centered on “creating relationships” and “communicating Christ.”
The Society of Adventist Communicators conference featured presentations and messages from more than three dozen speakers that spanned a gamut of communications topics from educational issues to effective editing and the use of technology in communications.
The focal point of the weekend’s activities was the Sabbath, or Saturday, morning worship service where Christianity Today International vice president Harold Smith, addressing his “brothers and sisters in Christ,” called upon Adventists to communicate the gospel message by every means available, including the Internet.
On Saturday evening, the SAC meeting featured a gala and awards banquet in which Frank Gihan, director of corporate communications for the Chicago Tribune Foundation, gave credit to God for his personal transformation and charged delegates to be persistent in pursuing their dreams.
Retiring LifeTalk Radio president Paul Moore, and “Mission Spotlight” creator/producer Oscar Heinrich were also honored by the Society. Moore was cited for “pioneering innovation” in creating a satellite radio network to carry the Adventist message nationally, while Heinrich’s work as a communications director for the Southern Union and editor of the Southern Tidings were also noted in his Lifetime Achievement award.
Ray Dabrowski, formerly editor-in-chief and manager at the Adventist publishing house in Poland and a longtime church communications director who has headed General Conference communication efforts since 1994, received an award noting his role as an “Influential Leader and Professional Communicator.” Dabrowski has been at the forefront of the church’s Web strategy, corporate logo, and also spearheaded the establishment of Adventist News Network.
Radio legend Paul Harvey, who has often quoted Adventist pioneer Ellen G. White in his broadcasts and who attends the Camelback Adventist Church in Arizona during his winters there, received the “Golden Microphone” Award for his professionalism and graciousness in dealing with the church.
The Society also introduced the “Irene Morgan Award for Courage and Integrity,” named after the Seventh-day Adventist who, in 1944, defied “Jim Crow” laws in interstate transportation and won a Supreme Court case in the process. Broadcaster, actress, and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey was named the first recipient of the Morgan award for her groundbreaking work in several areas of communications. Winfrey, who in a statement called the award a “premiere honor,” was unable to attend the ceremony but expressed her thanks to the Society.
The next SAC convention is scheduled for October 10 to 13, 2002, with a proposed location of Simi Valley, California.