United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
For Immediate Release
March 10, 2021
Nashville, Tennessee – United Methodist Communications invites United Methodists to join them in a special World Storytelling Day celebration on March 20, 2021, that provides a behind-the-scenes perspective on telling the stories of God’s work in the world through The United Methodist Church. Access to the special content will be available via Facebook Live at Facebook.com/UMCom and on the denomination’s website at UMC.org/Storytellers.
Throughout the day, the agency will release exclusive video stories surrounding some of their popular articles, audio and visual presentations narrated by those who experienced them firsthand. The Truth Seekers and Storytellers: Behind the Stories series features United Methodist Communications’ writers, interviewers, photographers and others talking about the power of storytelling.
“There’s nothing more precious or more intimate than somebody’s story – their very self. For them to allow you into their lives to share their truth is a great honor,” notes UM News Photojournalist Mike DuBose.
“Stories are defining. They help us to know who we are and even help us to know who we can become,” states Chief Relationship Officer Gary Henderson. “As a storyteller, I get to introduce people to members of the vast human family and play a role in keeping community alive. People who may never travel to far off places get to visit places through my stories and experiences. It is a very personal moment.”
Those joining in the celebration will be given access to these personal moments as they:
- Journey to Sierra Leone where capturing a story about malaria enabled storytellers to be in a place to assist a family that was experiencing another life-threatening situation: a serendipitous moment when someone was praying for help and helpers were on their way.
- Hear how the desire to go beyond article word limitations in storytelling and family improvisation classes led to what is now known as the engaging Get Your Spirit in Shape podcast.
- Travel to Uganda to experience the living conditions of the Methodist Hope for Africa Children’s Choir who performed during General Conference with a passionate expression of life, hope and joy despite their limited means.
- Trek to Angola with Hispanic missionaries as they deliver much needed supplies and the love of Christ.
- Get a snapshot of how one photojournalist’s trips to Africa turned into a life-long passion to bring attention to the hardworking girls and women who painstakingly gather water for their families and communities.
“Being allowed to capture a telling moment in someone’s life requires a great deal of trust on their part. It’s my responsibility as a visual storyteller to treat the people I photograph with dignity and respect,” adds DuBose. “I’ll spend hours examining hundreds of images to make sure it tells someone’s story in the best and most authentic way possible.”
“There are a lot of languages,” says Director of Hispanic-Latino News Gustavo Vasquez-Paredes. “Sometimes the challenge is to be totally open to try to communicate not just with your language [but] also with your body, with any other resource around you that would allow you to communicate with people.”
“Storytelling is a way of keeping community alive and people connected,” shares Director of Member Communications Joe Iovino. “No matter how far apart in age, locale or background of the person whose story is being told and those experiencing it, the craft of storytelling helps people to feel deeply and brings about sensitivity and empathy.”
For over 80 years now, the United Methodist Communications team has been telling the church’s stories to enhance ministry and reflect the church to the world. Times may have changed, but their commitment remains the same. The World Storytelling Day launch of the Truth Seekers and Storytellers: Behind the Stories video series offers agency staff the chance to share with the public about the heart behind this important work and the stories of life-change that they may never have heard before. Plans are in place to add future videos to this series and viewers are encouraged to frequent UMC.org/Storytellers for updates or to revisit previous stories.
About United Methodist Communications
As the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Communications seeks to increase awareness and visibility of the denomination in communities and nations around the globe. United Methodist Communications also offers services, tools, and resources for communications ministry. Discover more about the agency at Resourceumc.org/Communications. Learn how to support this communications ministry work at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.
Brenda Smotherman, [email protected]
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