The Department of Press and Information originated in the Board of Information and Stewardship, and became part of the Division of Communication in 1968. This Department was the liaison between the Church and the news media. It also produced several publications for distribution within the Church including editorial work on Mandate, Unchurched Editorials (a series distributed to Canadian publications on behalf of the Board of Evangelism and Social Service and later the Division of Mission in Canada), Words to Live By, Profiles (biographical sketches of church workers) and News/News Releases. The Department also played a role in developing communications awareness among church employees through presentations and seminars. In 1972 The Department changed its name to News Services, and in 1982 it was renamed News and Public Relations.
In 1985 the Statistics and Information Office was transferred from General Council to the Division of Communication’s Department of Finance and Administration as part of a new Information Services Unit. This unit also took over the News and Public Relations functions. The unit was also responsible for producing the General Council Record of Proceedings, the United Church of Canada Yearbook, and press releases by the publicist. The position of Publicist was first created in 1987. The position was held by Mary-Frances Denis from 1987-2017 however the title changed various times through subsequent departmental changes. Marketing was never an official part of her job description but there were de facto marketing elements due to the public image impact that media relations involves.
In 1989, Information Service Unit functions were transferred to a new Department of Education and Information. The Department combined Information Services (from the Department of Finance and Administration) with Mission Education, Interpretation, and AVEL (from the Department of Media Services), and also absorbed the responsibility of the Publicist.
In the 1996 the responsibilities of the Department of Education and Information, including publicity and statics, were transferred to the Public Relations and Information Unit in the Division of Communication’s General Secretaries Office. That unit became a part of the Public Relations and Marketing Cluster in 1999. After the re-organization of General Council administrative units in 2001, the responsibility of publicity was moved from the Division of Communication to the General Council Support and Services Unit under the new position of Communications Officer. When the Office of the Moderator and General Secretary was created in 2003, the position became a part of that unit.
Under another re-organization in 2005, the Communications Officer position was moved to the newly created Resources, Production and Distribution Unit (formerly the Division of Communication). In 2010 the Resources, Production and Distribution Unit was re-named Communications, and the position title was changed to Manager, Public Relations and Information.
Fonds contains nine series: 1) Correspondence of the Director of Press and Information/News Services/News and Public Relations 1973-1982; 2) Office Files, 1969-2012; 3) Records re Editorial Work, 1972-1981; 4) Records re Communication Education Work, 1976-1979; 5) Records of the Information Services Unit, 1970-1988; 6) Records of the Publicist and Antecedent Positions, 1986-2008; 7) Records of the Department of Education and Information, 1975-2000; 8) Records of the Public Relations and Information Unit, 1996-1998; 9) Communication Documents, 1969-2016.
United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.