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Dawn Hand of North Carolina is church’s Communicator of Year

 


Dawn Hand of North Carolina is church’s Communicator of Year

Oct. 19, 2004

By Tim Tanton*

LAS VEGAS (UMNS) - Dawn Hand, communications director for the United Methodist Church’s Charlotte (N.C.) Area and a leader at many levels of the denomination, has been named the church’s 2004 Communicator of the Year.

Hand received the award from the United Methodist Association of Communicators during the group’s annual awards banquet Oct. 15. The association also inducted the late Rev. Judith Weidman, former top staff executive of United Methodist Communications, and Roger Sadler, retired art director for New World Outlook magazine, into the UMAC Hall of Fame.

"I believe with all my heart that … one of the most special ministries that we can do is to tell the awesome story of Jesus," Hand said in her acceptance speech.

About 70 people attended the association’s banquet, held at Alexis Park Resort hotel in Las Vegas. The communicators met Oct. 14-16 at a non-casino hotel in recognition of the denomination’s condemnation of gambling as a menace to society and good government.

Hand attended college with the goal of becoming a lawyer, but majored in communications and got a job in television. In 1991, she became assistant to the director of communication for the Charlotte Area, which covers the church’s Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference. She later became associate director and has served as director for the last seven years. She also attends Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, N.C., and is a certified candidate for ministry.

An outspoken advocate for the inclusion of young people in church leadership, she helped lead her conference’s council on youth ministries in the 1980s and is a youth minister in her church.

Her work at the churchwide level has included serving twice as a General Conference delegate, and she was a governing member of the Commission on Communication for eight years. In addition, she led the communicators’ association for three years as president, and she was succeeded Oct. 16 by the Rev. Erik Alsgaard, co-director of communications of the Baltimore-Washington Conference and managing editor of the UMConnection newspaper.

Weidman and Sadler were inducted into the UMAC Hall of Fame by former colleagues Jackie Vaughan of UMCom and Christie House, editor of New World Outlook, respectively.

Weidman, who died in December 2000 of cancer, had a career that stretched across several prominent communications agencies. She was a communications executive with the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry; assistant editor at the United Methodist Publishing House; associate editor for the forerunner of the United Methodist Reporter; head of Religion News Service for 10 years; and finally general secretary of UMCom. She began her journalism career as a reporter at the Kokomo (Ind.) Tribune.

During her 1994-99 tenure at UMCom, she guided the formation of the denomination’s advertising and welcoming campaign, Igniting Ministry. She also created a scholarship fund for racial ethnic minorities to increase diversity among the denomination’s communicators. She was UMAC’s 1987 Communicator of the Year and was the 1999 Duke Divinity School Distinguished Alumna.

Sadler was art director of New World Outlook for 30 years, retiring in 2000. He began his career as art director for the American Gas Association, then served at the National Council of Churches for 11 years.

He became a consultant with the Board of Global Ministries in 1970, when the board merged its World Outlook magazine with the Presbyterian publication New. He joined the board full time in 1977 and became director of production, promotion and design in 1980. Besides serving the magazine, he produced hundreds of mission resources each year as well as displays for the missions agency at major gatherings.

House recalled how Sadler could quickly draw a cartoon to illustrate an often-technical point. "When a picture is worth a thousand words, he could do that …," she said. "He thinks visually."

One of Sadler’s four children, Hal, is New World Outlook’s graphic designer today.

*Tanton is United Methodist News Service’s managing editor.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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