Veteran religion communication and public relations practitioner Philip Poole of Birmingham, Alabama, has been named coordinator for Religion Communication Congress 2020 (RCCongress 2020), a once-a-decade international gathering of professional religion communicators from a wide range of faith traditions.
As a coordinator, Poole will lead a representative steering committee to plan the Congress program and other logistical details.

Participants will benefit from hands-on opportunities to learn new technologies; academic and applied research; roundtables for exchanging views on important communications issues; dozens of workshops with tools that can be implemented immediately; an opportunity to experience a wide range of faith expressions; cross-pollination of creative ideas and innovations by mixing with professionals from all media disciplines; and global views and local relevance.

The first Congress in 1970 was held in Chicago, Illinois, and “arose from a simple idea: to provide a forum to expand the experience and broaden the perspective of professional communicators in faith-based settings beyond their specialised work area,” Poole said. Subsequent congresses were held in Nashville, Tennessee (1980 and 1990) and Chicago (2000 and 2010). More than 1,000 participants from around the world attended each of the last two Chicago events.

Poole, who is executive director of university communication at Samford University in Birmingham, served as program co-chair for RCCongress 2000 and was on the steering committee for RCCongress 2010. He has served as national president for two religion communications organisations—Religion Communicators Council and Baptist Communicators Association. He is also an active, accredited member (APR) of the Public Relations Society of America.

“Leadership from previous congresses sought a coordinator for RCCongress 2020 who had a notable background in global religion communication and organisation,” said Shirley Struchen, who coordinated both the 2000 and 2010 Congresses. “Philip’s background in and commitment to interfaith communication and initiatives, his involvement with previous Congresses, his leadership in multiple organisations and his administrative skills all resonated with those of us tasked with enlisting a coordinator.”