Texas Conference Communicators Win UMAC Awards

Date Posted: 3/28/2019

By: Roy Maynard

Communicators from the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church traveled to St. Louis for the United Methodist Association of Communicators annual gathering, bringing home numerous awards—and a clearer perspective of what it means to spread the Word of Christ and His church.
“We were very blessed to have received several awards, but more importantly, this was a great time for us to really think about how important communication is to the Body of Christ,” said Shannon W. Martin, director of communications for the TAC. “When you think about it, communication is key to everything we do. Meeting with other communications people is invaluable—we learn from each other.”
More than 250 attended the national conference, held at the Hyatt Regency in February.

   Shannon Martin and Brant Mills at UMAC Awards. (Not Pictured: Sherri Gragg, Sydnie Mares, Kats Berry and Sam Hodges)
The TAC took First Place for Strategic Planning for its project, “Hurricane Harvey (Texas Recovers),” which told the story of how churches in the area responded to the disaster.
“It was truly a team effort,” said Martin. “My team included Brant Mills, Sherri Gragg, Sydnie Mares, Kats Berry and Sam Hodges.”
That effort led to the creation of a special 22-page magazine, which itself earned a third-place award in the Special Publications, Division A category.
“Incredibly well done given the emergency nature of the communications,” the judges’ comments read. “The photos are gritty, realistic and urgent. Also authentic, which is very important in this particular type of campaign. The messaging is clear and on target, answering a very real concern many donors have: how will my donation be used and how much will reach the victims? … What an incredible, selfless effort from a group of people who were, themselves, displaced by Harvey.”
TAC Editor Sherri Gragg took a nonfiction writing First Place for “Welcome to a Church Where the Bread is Fresh, the Coffee is Hot, and the Waves are Epic.” She also won a Third Place in the same division for her piece titled, “A Pastor Doesn’t Leave His People.”
Kelsey Johnson, TAC’s Communications Committee chair, was one of three entrants who tied for a First Place for video production, for her piece “Agape Pastries.” She also won a Second for her photography in “Ash Wednesday” and a Second in Planning for “Revive Capital Campaign.”
Martin and Mares shared two awards in the Planning category, a First Place for “Emerging Leaders Endowment Brochure” and a Third for “Vibrant Church Initiative Brochure.”
Martin also won a Second Place for her slide show, “Who are We? Communications Mapping 2018.”
“A conference like this isn’t just about the awards or even the sessions,” said Martin. “We know that iron sharpens iron, and spending time with other communications professionals who face the same challenges we do is always helpful and uplifting.”