Communications staff wins 6 UMAC awards


The Great Plains Conference communications team won six awards in the annual United Methodist Association of Communicators awards gala, held virtually March 10.

David Burke, conference content specialist, was the conference’s lone first-place winner. He won in the article series category for stories he wrote about ministry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference website, spearheaded by Jayna McFarland, social media and website specialist, took second place in the website category.

Todd Seifert, communications director, took second place in the blog category for his “In Layman’s Terms” blogs about the pre-General Conference briefing and the interviews of candidates for episcopal office, both written prior to the pandemic and the postponement of General Conference. The third blog in the entry provided guidelines for how churches can best count online attendance.

The #GPprays846 social media campaign was a winner.

McFarland took third place in the Internet Communications category for her work on the #GPprays 846 social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram after the death of George Floyd and the ongoing push for racial justice.

Eugenio Hernandez, multimedia production specialist, won third place in the TV ad or promotion category for the 2020 internship campaign. He also won third place in the video production category for his work on the videos – memorial service, commissioning and ordination services -- that accompanied the abbreviated annual conference session in 2020.

“I’m very proud of the staff for their work in 2020,” Seifert said. “Rightfully so, our focus was on equipping local churches as they had to adapt to online-only worship and helping alleviate as much stress as possible from their lives. However, this team, including our administrative assistant, Lisa Soukup, put in incredibly long hours to make that happen to help churches in those ways and more by providing consultations, answering questions and doing whatever was necessary to help them connect with their mission fields.

“We didn’t win some of the denomination-wide awards that we have the past couple of years,” Seifert said, “but the work amid the pandemic was incredibly rewarding.”

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