National Religious Broadcasters
by Christopher Priest –
(L-R) MAJOR JOHN WHITE, Southern Territory secretary of evangelism; Major Steve Hedgren, Florida divisional commander and radio host; Comm. Philip Swyers, Western territorial commander; Jude Gotrich, radio host; Regina McGraw, operations director, radio ministries; and Mike McGraw, production manager, radio ministries.
The 62nd Annual National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention, held this year in Anaheim, Calif., provided a number of “milestones” for The Salvation Army.
Each year, NRB presents its Milestone Award in honor of pioneers in the industry who have demonstrated exemplary contributions in Christian broadcasting for 50 years. This year, at a plenary session attended by several thousand fellow broadcasters, media pastors, program producers and other communications professionals, NRB presented The Salvation Army with the Milestone Award. This recognition was given in honor of the Army’s 50 years of broadcasting the radio program, Wonderful Words of Life.
First produced in 1955, this 15-minute weekly program of teaching and music is now heard on over 300 broadcasting outlets worldwide as well as of the Internet at OnePlace.com. Wonderful Words of Life hosts Major Steve Hedgren and Jude Gotrich, with the Radio Ministries production team Regina and Michael McGraw, were on hand as Commissioner Philip Swyers, Western territorial commander, accepted the award on behalf of the national commander. Swyers responded by saying “On behalf of a grateful Salvation Army, we are mindful of the Spirit of God that has blessed our ministry for 50 years. We lay this award at the feet of our loving, living Savior, who guides us on every action. Praise God!”
Crucial leading-edge information found in the 300 company award-winning Exposition was another “milestone” as national headquarters, Southern and Western community relations and development officers and staff, with the Radio Ministries team, combined efforts to create the Army’s largest booth area at this event.
The 400 square-foot space featured state of the art displays, including a giant cube-high in the ceiling-that shone light through enormous reproductions of the red shield to all corners of the exhibit hall. “We had no trouble finding the Army!” said visitors as they enjoyed a complimentary cup of coffee, received a box of Salvation Army doughnuts, and learned of the many ways The Salvation Army is “Doing The Most Good” in their communities.
Visitors to the booth also received complimentary copies of the newly released CD, I Know A Fount by Salvation Army contemporary worship band, transMission. Also available were media kits on the overall work of The Salvation Army and the Radio Ministries worldwide broadcasts, Wonderful Words of Life, Maravillosas Palabras de Vida, Heartbeat and Latido.
The final “milestone” came when Major George Hood, national community relations and development secretary, was elected to the NRB board of directors, a first for The Salvation Army and for the NRB. In the final event for this year’s convention, actor, producer and director Mel Gibson was present to receive a special award for his tremendous contribution to religious broadcasting through the movie The Passion of the Christ.