Sunday, March 29, 2009

Convention: Day 4

Pluralism Project
We began our day at Episcopal Divinity School, founded in 1858. A group of researchers at Harvard told us about the Pluralism Project, which examines case studies of faith dilemmas in society (i.e. Muslim drivers who did not service people carrying alcohol) and maps out the religious diversities of cities like Boston.

Photography 101

My last workshop was “Photography 101,” where a group of us learned some photo techniques in the setting of Harvard Square and the campus itself. Our guide, John Mottern, is another Boston Globe guy, has covered presidential elections, and free-lances. His workshop was a no-frills, fun tour of the area and we captured some great moments. I got to chat with Randa, one of the scholarship students. She is the vice president of the student organization, the Muslim Student Association. We met up with another person on the walking tour, Vineet, who works for the Hare Krishna faith, and used to be lawyer in D.C.

Exploring Harvard Square
After the workshop I met up with some other scholarship students for lunch. At Tiffany’s suggestion, we checked out 9 Tastes, a Thai restaurant. We had a great time discussing all sorts of things, including the Southern Baptist faith, life at seminary and, of course, Twitter. Since we had the rest of the afternoon free, we explored shops like the Out of Town News (which has a ton of magazines and newspapers), a Curious George toy store, and got some photos at the John Harvard statue, where you rub his toe for good luck! We also made use of the public transportation, called “The ‘T’” (efficient at times, but very crowded and dirty). A walk up and down Newbury Street was like walking down a fashion runway – Cartier, Juicy Couture and Marc Jacobs provided plenty of eye candy.

Podcasting with Shirley
I promised my mentor Shirley I would be her next podcast subject for her blog “Spirituality and Christianity.” So that afternoon we talked a lot about faith paths and the conference’s theme, “Identity Amid Diversity.” It was a great conversation and I look forward to hearing the outcome.

The Wilbur Award
The Wilbur Awards Show was the culmination of RCC Convention 2009. Shiba Russell, of WCVB-TV (Channel 5) in Boston hosted the black-tie affair, which was held in the Royal Sonesta’s Grand Ballroom. She presented the awards to the secular press for their coverage of religion news. Some notable winners:

• Television News (national) - CBS News Sunday Morning, “With Full Honors”
• Television (comedy) – TBS’s House of Payne, “We’ve Come this Far by Faith”
• Newspapers (top 15 markets) - Chicago Tribune, “Trial, Triumph and Transition of Chicago’s Trinity”
• Magazines (national) - Newsweek, “Our Mutual Joy”
• Web-based communications (blogs) -, “The Seeker”

Afterwards, I chatted with Manya Brachear, who won two Wilburs for her Chicago Tribune series on Barack Obama’s pastor at Trinity, and her blog, “The Seeker.” She had sat at the same table as Dan Gangler, my supervisor at the Indiana UMC office. We briefly discussed the challenge I have been finding – being a journalist and being a blogger. The scholarship students had a brief photo session (our last time all together) and Ms. Russell even joined us for a photo. Afterwards I talked to Brian Gray, who writes for the National Catholic Education Association in Washington, D.C. Since I will be in D.C. next semester, he kindly invited me to RCC’s meetings, which have been held at the Ba’Hai' national office near DuPont Circle.


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