Dick Duerksen, director of spiritual development for Florida Hospital, was among the winners at the annual DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards for excellence in religious communication held March 31. A CD-ROM produced by Duerksen, which utilizes a high-tech combination of sound, graphics and video footage, took top honors in the electronic communications category, with judges praising its high production quality as well as its content. The CD portrays the holistic approach to medical care delivered by Celebration Health, a new hospital in the Florida Hospital group. It also emphasizes the need for a strong spiritual component in the healing process.
“We’re very honored that this piece was recognized,” says Duerksen, who adds their goal with the CD was to portray something of the “essence of God.”
More than 20 members of the national press, including television, print and radio journalists, were also recognized at the ceremony for their handling of religious issues during the last year. Among the recipients of these Wilbur Awards were a TIME magazine journalist, a United Media cartoonist, and the NBC news show Dateline.
David Smith, writer/producer for the daily broadcasts of Adventist Media Center program Voice of Prophecy, also received an honorary Wilbur Award in recognition of the seven years he has served as national coordinator for the Awards.
The ceremony was part of a four-day meeting of more than 1,200 religious communicators from around the world. A diverse range of faith groups was represented, from United Methodist to Episcopalian, Mennonite to Baha’i, Lutheran to Roman Catholic. Organized by the international Religion Communicators Council, the meetings discussed communication and media techniques and explored new communication technology.
Charlotte McClure, public relations director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was one of more than 30 Adventist communicators who attended the event. “It was an opportunity to meet with people of different faiths, to worship together and to learn together,” she says. “All the participants are facing a similar challenge-how to communicate their faith stories in an increasingly secular-minded world.”
The Rev. Dr. Jesse Jackson, the keynote speaker for the March 29 opening of the convention, challenged religious communicators from all faiths to make a difference in society by being “lights that shine in dark places.”