Download conference audio: MP3 files of sessions are now available. You can download the audio as a podcast from the iTunes Store, or use the links listed with each session in the schedule below. To download, right-click on the link and choose "save as."
8 a.m.—5 p.m.
RNA REGISTRATION DESK OPEN / EXHIBITOR ROOM SETUP (Exhibits open to attendees at 6 pm)
8 a.m.BUSES DEPART FOR ALL DAY PROGRAM AT WESLEY AT MOUNT VERNON SQUARE
Wesley at Mount Vernon Square is located at 900 Massachusetts Ave NW in Washington, DC, within the building of Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church.
9:30 a.m—3 p.m.
- 9:30-11 a.m. Fellowship Hall: Innovative Local Faith Based Anti-Poverty Initiatives (Download audio. Part of this session was not recorded due to a technical error.)
- Rev. Rudy Rasmus, St. Johns United Methodist Church, Houston, TX
- Rev. Tom Berlin, Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon, VA
- Larry James, CEO City Square, Dallas, TX
- Greg Prince, Independent Scholar
- Moderator: Professor Cedric Johnson, Wesley Theological Seminary
- 9:30-11 a.m. Theater: Religious Freedom and the Presidential Election (Download audio)
- Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
- Joanna Brooks, scholar and author
- Melissa Rogers, Wake Forest Divinity School
- Jerome Copulsky, Prof. American University
- Moderator: Professor Michael Kessler, Georgetown University
- 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Fellowship Hall & Lunch: What Should the Boundaries Be on Reporting on Religion and Presidential Politics (Download audio)
- Bill Keller, The New York Times
- Melinda Henneberger, The Washington Post
- David Campbell, the University of Notre Dame
- Amy Sullivan, writer and editor
- Moderator: Professor Shaun Casey, Wesley Theological Seminary
- 1:30 - 3 p.m. Fellowship Hall: Making the Fight Against Global Poverty Sexy (Download audio)
- Abed Ayoub, CEO Islamic Relief USA
- David Beckmann, CEO, Bread for the World
- Adam Taylor, World Vision
- Lynn Samsel, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints
- Moderator: Professor Kendall Soulen, Wesley Theological Seminary
- 1:30 - 3 p.m. Theater: Overview of Religion in the Election of 2012 (Download audio)
- Sally Steenland, Center for American Progress
- Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J., Georgetown University
- Valerie Cooper, University of Virginia
- Arsalan Iftikhar, Editor, The Muslim Guy
- Moderator: David McAllister Wilson, Wesley Theological Seminary
3:30––4:45 p.m. PANEL: REPORTING ON ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY: WHAT'S FAIR, WHAT'S NOT
(Adas Israel Synagogue, Washington, D.C.) (Download audio)
Join J Street’s Steve Krubiner, New Israel Fund's Naomi Paiss, and Melanie Nezer of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society as they take a multidimensional look at the voting patterns and political leanings of the American Jewish community, including on such issues as Israel, Iran and a host of domestic issues. Discuss with these pros – and with moderator Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism – how to run the traps on controversial issues in this outspoken community without being pigeonholed or labeled with bias.
- Steve Krubiner, J Street
- Naomi Paiss, New Israel Fund
- Melanie Nezer, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
- Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center
5:15-6 p.m. TOUR: REBUILDING THE NATIONAL CATHEDRAL WITH INTRODUCTION OF NEW DEAN, THE REV. CANON GARY R. HALL
6:45 p.m. BUSES ARRIVE AT HOTEL
8 a.m.—6 p.m.
RNA REGISTRATION DESK OPEN
8 a.m.—5:15 p.m.
EXHIBITOR ROOM OPEN8––9 a.m. BREAKFAST & PRESS BRIEFING:
50 SHADES OF EVANGELICALISM—DIVERSITY AMONG YOUNG AMERICAN EVANGELICALS (Download audio)
WHOSE FIRST AMENDMENT? (Download audio)
Journalists and lawyers have been busy writing and arguing over plenty of issues that center on free speech, religious exercise and the role of government. We¹ll hear from people on several sides about some of the most controversial current issues affecting national politics and local communities: fights over same-sex marriage, religious exemptions sought for health care regulations, adoption and other services.
Don't worry about filing Hanukkah/Christmas stories this year. If the ancient Maya were right, 11 weeks from the date of this panel, on Dec. 21, 2012, the End of Days will be unto us. The end of the world has fascinated religious leaders from Isaiah to Jesus to Muhammad to Harold Camping. What are some new End Times angles that will fascinate our readers as we approach the Apocalypse? Introduce us to people who are living out these end times ideas in ways that seem unusual; how do those ideas trickle down to regular folks? Is the belief that the world may end—or fundamentally change––becoming more or less common?
- Dick J. Reavis, author of The Ashes of Waco
- Simon Martin
- Frederick Ware, Howard University School of Divinity
In the run-up to the presidential election, Lee Miringoff Ph.D., director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, and Barbara Carvalho Ph.D., director of the Marist Poll, present data and insights on Campaign 2012 and the views of the American electorate toward religious and moral issues, looking at numbers that go beyond the typical labels and conventional wisdom on high profile issues.2:15––3:30 p.m.
PANEL: FAITH OUTREACH BY THE OBAMA AND ROMNEY CAMPAIGNS (Download audio)
Top level staff from both campaigns will talk about the role of faith communities in this tight election for U.S. President.
- Mark DeMoss, evangelical communications executive & senior advisor to the Romney-Ryan campaign
- Broderick Johnson, senior advisor to the Obama-Biden campaign & Catholic outreach coordinator
- Michael Wear, national faith vote coordinator for the Obama-Biden campaign
PANEL: A CONVERSATION WITH ECKHART TOLLE BY KRISTA TIPPETT (Download audio)
- Krista Tippett, creator and host of On Being
- Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth
DINNER and PRESS BRIEFING:
FREEING THE UNTOUCHABLES—NEW FILM FEATURES LIFE-CHANGING WORK
Indian Civil Rights leader Joseph D’souza and Matthew Cork, lead pastor of the world's largest Evangelical Quaker church, have joined forces to fight the poverty and problems among India's "untouchables"—those 250 million "slumdogs" also known as Dalits. Cork’s church is giving $20 million to D’souza’s growing Dalit schools, spinning off clinics, women’s rescue, micro-businesses, and churches. NOT TODAY is a feature film about their work, starring Nickelodeon’s Hollywood Heights sensation Cody Longo.
- Joseph D'souza, Dalit Freedom Network
- Matthew Cork, Friends Church, Orange County, CA
7:45 a.m.—Noon RNA REGISTRATION DESK OPEN | 2nd Floor Foyer
8 a.m.—Noon EXHIBITOR ROOM OPEN | Harmony
7:45––8:45 a.m. BREAKFAST AND PRESS BRIEFING: STEPHEN PROTHERO on THE AMERICAN BIBLE (Download audio)
Bestselling author and renowned religion scholar Stephen Prothero will discuss his new book, The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation. A groundbreaking collection of the texts that have historically defined and re-defined what it means to be an American, The American Bible puts these hallowed words back into their original context, and in doing so unearths our longstanding tradition of civil debate that has been lacking in recent political discourse.
8:45––9:45 a.m. PRESS BRIEFING: Not Cast in Caste - A Hindu Perspective Against Caste-Based Discrimination (Download audio)
Presenter: Suhag A. Shukla, Esq. - Executive Director and Legal Counsel, Hindu American Foundation. Co-editor of Hinduism: Not Cast in Caste - Seeking an End to Caste-Based Discrimination and the annual Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights.
PANEL: Mormonism in the Era of Romney and the Book of Mormon (Download audio)
From presidential candidates to pop-culture hits, Mormons are in the public spotlight more than ever. But are they truly part of the American religious and cultural mainstream? Is the new public status changing the faith, its practice at the grassroots, and perceptions among non-Mormons? How do religion reporters cover all this?
- Terryl Givens, University of Richmond
- Jana Riess, Westminster John Knox Press
- Darius Gray, Tesla Corp. and author
Please join us for a special, pre-release discussion of the report’s findings, led by Pew Forum Senior Researchers Greg Smith and Cary Funk, principal researchers of the study, who will share what they learned about this group’s political leanings, demographic profile, diverse beliefs and practices, and more. John Green, who advised on the project, will discuss the impact this group may bring to bear on the upcoming election and on American politics and society more broadly. At the end of the session, Kim Lawton, managing editor for "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly,” will share a sneak-peak of an upcoming mini-series that will offer a rich profile of religiously unaffiliated Americans based in part on the report’s findings.
- Cary Funk, senior researcher at the Pew Forum
- John Green, senior research at the Pew Forum, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron
- Greg Smith, senior researcher at the Pew Forum
LUNCH & PRESS BRIEFING (Download audio)
The Word and the News: Do the Scriptures hold any relevance to the major issues of our time? Can they illuminate the the complex contemporary questions we face as individuals and as a nation? Three noted biblical scholars who analyze current events through the lens of Scripture explore these questions.
- Barbara K. Lundblad, Union Theological Seminary
- Matthew L. Skinner, Luther Seminary
- Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, The Huffington Post
PANEL:Nuts and Bolts of Publishing for Religion Journalists: Who to Follow, How to Get a Book Deal (Download audio)
This panel seeks to answer some of the questions journalists most want answered about crafting compelling writing across platforms and using the publishing world to your advantage: How do you get a book deal? In a changing publishing climate, how do we determine what books—or e-books—are newsworthy and influential? What publishers should you follow? Some journalists have successfully adapted their writing voice to tweets, blogs, columns, and news features. How do you keep from getting lost in the details of your beat to write simply and conversationally? How can you keep your writing fresh when you trod the same subject area? How do you get money to fund your book project?
- Christopher Ferebee, Yates & Yates, LLP
- Marcia Z. Nelson, Publishers Weekly
- Chris Cillizza, The Fix, Washington Post
RNA ACTIVE MEMBERS MEETING
All proceeds benefit the RNA Conference Scholarship Fund.
AWARDS BANQUET AND PRESS BRIEFING ON THE STATE OF THE BIBLE (Download audio)
Are Americans using the Bible less and has their view of its authority changed? Recent research shows more Americans would turn to Donald Trump for financial advice than to the Bible. The majority of Americans surveyed attributed a Bible verse to President Obama rather than to the Good Book. As the 196-year-old go-to source for all things Bible, American Bible Society provides data and details about The State of the Bible to help you cover the latest in religion news. Information available includes:
- Number of Bibles per household
- Views of the Bible among Americans
- How often Americans read the Bible
- Preferred format for reading the Bible (print, computer, mobile device)
- Bible use specifically among U.S. Hispanics, U.S. Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals
- Americans’ views of the use of the Bible by politicians
- Rare Bible collection photos and images
Paul Carlson receives Lifetime Achievement Award
This video was shown before Paul R. Carlson received the William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award from RNA during the awards banquet. Read more about Carlson's life and the award.
10 p.m. | TBD
Post Banquet Happy Hour
The 2016 Short Story and Essay Contests
And the Winners Are…
A catholic priest’s world is shattered by a love affair. A military family confronts yet another relocation. A mother facing a health issue plays a board game with her son. A teenage boy connects with his roots on a remote Pacific island. The winners of this year’s short story and essay contests present eloquent and nuanced views of human existence. There were 120 adults and 60 high school students who entered the short story contest; 170 adults and 30 high school students entered the essay contest. The winners and runners-up of the contests, which were sponsored by Bethesda Magazine and the Bethesda Urban Partnership, each were awarded cash prizes ranging from $25 to $500 at the Bethesda Literary Festival in April.
Adult Short Story
• First Place, Adam Brown, "Icons"
• Second Place, Kate Avagliano, "Delivery"
• Third Place, Bron Treanor, "Dinner With a Friend"
• Honorable Mention, Robert Granade, "Girl Under the Car"
• Honorable Mention, Tim Proser, "Deep Point in the Hillside"
Young Adult Short Story
• First Place, Elizabeth McCarver, Military Life in Six Parts
• Second Place, Keira DiGaetano, "Wish You Were Here"
• Third Place, Eva Shapiro, "Gabriel"
• Honorable Mention, Melvin Lewis, "Attempting a Happy Ending"
• Honorable Mention, Sam Lieberman, "A Trip to the Country"
• Honorable Mention, Cara Schultz, "Seven Written Words in Seat 102"
• First Place, Amy Mermelstein, "The Game of Life"
• Second Place, Nancy Huidekoper, "The Flight Jacket"
• Third Place, Denyse Tannenbaum, "The Hammock"
• Honorable Mention, Robbie Maakestad, "Refuge in Ruins"
• Honorable Mention, Peng Wu, "The Seven Stages of Cleaning a Refrigerator With Your Mother-In-Law"
Young Adult Essay
• First Place, Jack Kiyonaga, "Molokai Mo’ Bettah"
• Second Place, Ruslan Gabidoulline, "Locked in Time"
• Third Place, Amy Hesselroth, "Midway on Mt. Misen"
• Honorable Mention, Victoria Yang, "Among the Stars"