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United Church of Canada. Division of Communication. Series
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Records of the Department of Audio Visuals

This Department of Audio Visuals was adopted by the Division of Communication through the Board of Information in 1968. The Department was responsible for instructional communication concerned with the design and use of messages which control the learning process involved in communication research, communication education, search for resources, consultation and presentation, media production, and information and promotion. More specifically the Department produced film, still pictures (photographs, slides, filmstrips) and audio cassettes, which was usually undertaken at the request of other Divisions within the Church. The Audio Visual Education Library (AVEL) was administered by the Department during this period, and it played an early role in the provision of communication education. In 1973 the Department of Audio Visual’s joined with the Department of Broadcasting to form the Department of Media Services.

Series contains five subseries: 1) Records relating to Administration, 1967-1973, 2) Records relating to Film Production, 1968-1972, 3) Records relating to Still Picture Production, 1968-1972, 4) Records relating to Audio Cassettes Production, 1971-1972, 5) Records relating to AV Consultation and AVEL, 1968-1972.

United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.

Records of the Department of Broadcasting

The Department of Broadcasting was transferred to the Division of Communication from the Board of Information in 1968. The Department was responsible for the production of radio and television of the Church, training and assisting regional and Conference broadcast staff, and responding to the major broadcasting networks. A large part of the production work was carried on in association with interchurch bodies including Religious Television Associates (RTA), the production arm of Interchurch Broadcasting.
RTA helped to produce "Spectrum" for a Toronto television station. In addition, the Department was responsible for United Church participation in the National Religious Advisory Council to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and a separate Religious Advisory Committee to CFTO-TV, a Canadian Television (CTV) affiliate.

Series contains six subseries: 1) Administrative Records, 1967-1972, 2) Records of the Directors, 1942-1978, 3) Records relating to Television Work, 1968-1969, 4) Records relating to Cable Work, 1970-1972, 5) Records of the Assistant Director of Radio and Television, 1956-1973, 6) Record relating to Religious Television Associates, 1961-1972.

United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.

Records relating to Administration and Finance

From its inception in 1968 the Division of Communication has been overseen by an Executive and a Secretary, later termed the General Secretary and Executive Minister. The Secretary and succeeding roles were the heads of the Division, and the Executive were responsible for communicating with other Division Secretaries as well as counterparts in other denominations. The Division Executive was comprised of members elected to that role by their Conference (1 per) and others elected according to function (such as Chair, Vice-chair, Committee/Taskforce Chairs etc.) by the General Council. The Executives were also responsible for setting policy and overall direction for the work to be carried out in the program units and by the staff of the Division. The Department of Finance and Administration was established in 1985 with responsibility for all of the accounting and budgeting within the Division. The department dissolved in 1993 and the work was adopted by the General Secretary’s office in 1994.

Series contains eight subseries: 1) Minutes, 1967-1999, 2) Reports, 1968-1990, 3) Correspondence, 1968-1983, 4) Financial Records, 1968-1998, 5) Office Files, 1967-2001, 6) Records of thee General Secretaries, 1968-2008, 7) Records of the Division Management Team, 1991-1998, 8) Records of the Communications Group, 2008-2012.

United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.

Records relating to Communication Education

Communication education had been an activity of several of the Departments in the Board of Information and Stewardship, including Press and Information, Broadcasting and Audio-Visual. These Departments continued their activity in the new Division of Communication. In the 1960s and 1970s Rev. Robert Reid took on the work of communication education and was responsible for increasing the churches understanding and familiarity with different media of communication through seminars, workshops, bursaries, scholarships, seminary courses and professional consultations. Reid worked closely with Helen Currie to bolster communication education concerning audio visual materials. However in 1971 Reid was removed from the audio visual focus and was tasked to oversee communication education concerning all types of media. In 1973 Communication Education was placed under the purview of Media Services and offered advance courses in theological schools, and workshops at conference and presbyteries levels typically involving other denominations. When the 1973 transition happened, Keith Woollard, former Director of Broadcasting, concentrated his energies on a new Communication Education Staff Group and on regional relationships. The Communication Education Staff Group assigned the responsibility of giving leadership on Communication Education within the Division and in relation to conferences. The group was devoted to aiding United Church ministers and workers in utilizing all manner of communications (print, audio, visual) to more effectively make their message heard. In 1975 Division of Communication authorized the formation of a Communication Education Task Force to develop a strategy for communication education within the United Church. The staff group was assigned to follow through with the Task Group’s strategy, to follow through with involvement in community cable projects and absorb the responsibilities of the Media Outreach Task Force originally established to encourage and assist the Maritime Conference and the Saskatoon Presbytery to design informational-motivational campaigns. The same task group also communed with local congregations, presbyteries etc. to create a guidebook for media outreach.

Series contains six subseries: 1) Administrative Records, 1968-1982, 2) Records relating to Communication Education Events, 1968-1980, 3) Records of the Communication Education Committee, 1985-1996, 4) Records of the Probe Communications Seminars, 1975-1989, 5) Records of Television Awareness Training and TV Scope Programmes, 1976-1981, 6) Records of Evangelism/Communication Program, 1983.

United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.

Records relating to Publicity, Education and Information

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.

Records relating to Regional/Conference Relations

The Division provided grants to Conferences for production costs related to local programming. In 1967 there were regional broadcasting centres operating in the British Columbia Conference, in western Canada (including the Prairie Regional Broadcasting Council) and in Ontario (including the Western Ontario Regional Broadcasting Council), all of which received block grants from the Division. The programme had initially been administered by the Department of Broadcasting under Keith Woollard; he served as Associate Secretary for Regional Relations and Communication Education after leaving the Department of Broadcasting in 1973, until his retirement in 1983. Conferences continued to have their own Communications Committees which were supported by the National Division.

Series contains fifteen subseries: 1) Administrative Records, 1968-1976, 2) Records relating to Newfoundland Conference Relations, 1975-1979, 3) Records relating to Maritime Conference Relations, 1969-1980, 4) Records relating to Montreal/Ottawa Conference Relations, 1969-1980, 5) Records relating to Bay of Quinte Conference Relations, 1967-1980, 6) Records relating to Toronto Conference Relations, 1968-1980, 7) Records relating to Hamilton Conference Relations, 1968-1980, 8) Records relating to London Conference Relations, 1971-1980, 9) Records relating to Manitou Conference Relations, 1975-1980 10) Records relating to Manitoba Conference Relations, 1968-1980, 11) Records relating to Saskatchewan Conference Relations, 1968-1980, 12) Records relating to Alberta Conference Relations, 1968-1980, 13) Records relating to British Columbia Conference Relations, 1968-1980, 14) Records relating to the Western Ontario Regional Broadcasting Council, 1968-1980, 15) Records relating to the Prairie Regional Broadcasting Council, 1968-1975.

United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.

Records relating to Resource Coordination

Before the creation of the Resource Coordinators work area, there were no resource coordinating functions within Communications or across the Church House. The Division of Communication and the Division of Mission in Canada had editors. These divisions were the largest resource producers. They worked on specific tasks and resources, like magazines and books, and did not share work or coordinate work. All the divisions used the services of Communications in terms of graphic design, and video and website design. The divisions (other than DMC and the Division of Communication) may have hired writers or possibly editors, but in general the material was not edited. And staff people in all the units (many of whom did not have communication backgrounds) had to decide first what kind of medium they wanted to produce (video, print, web) and then go to the appropriate staff person in Communications. In 2002, the work area of Resource Coordination was created. Resource Coordinating staff were liaisons with the General Council Units to provide professional advice about producing resources and to shepherd resources through the production process, which included editing, graphic design and web posting. Often the resource coordinator edited the resources (for print or Web) from their assigned units, or if they couldn't, ensured that they were edited by another resource coordinator or a freelancer.

Series contains three subseries: 1) Records of the Resource Planning Group and Print Resources Steering Group, 1990-1996, 2) Records of the Senior Editors, 1996-2012, 3) Records of the Resources Coordinators, 2003-2010.

United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.

Records relating to Special Projects

Special projects were created by the United Church to use the media, especially television, to bring the message of the Church to the general public. The Division of Communication and specifically the departments dealing with av were heavily involved. These projects included attempts to generate interest in United Church activities in selected locales under the auspices of Media Plans I-III in the 1970s. The results of these broadcasts were analysed and the remaining work was left to the Conferences. Three television specials, "Mediamix," 1971, "The Fiftieth Anniversary National Event," 1975, and "These Things We Share," 1981, which promoted the mission of the Church, were contained under the rubric of special projects.

Series contains seven subseries: 1) Records relating to R.S.V.P. Telecasts, 1968-1969, 2) Records related to Mediamix, 1970-1973, 3) Records related to Media Plan I, 1973-1974, 4) Records related to Media Plan II, 1974-1975, 5) Records related to Media Plan III/Media Outreach, 1975-1980, 6) Records related to the Fiftieth Anniversary National Event, 1974-1975, 7) Records related to the United Church Television Special “These things we share”, 1974-1982.

United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.

Records relating to Website Management

The position of Website Manager was established 1998 under the Divisions’ General Secretary’s Office Planning and Administration. The role was created to help establish the United Church website. In 1999 the role became its own entity separate from the above office and after 2002 additional staff were involved including a Web Production Specialist, Web Designer, Web Producer, Web Developer, Web Content Strategist, and Digital Camera Strategist. From creating the United Church’s website the work evolved in all website creation for all General Council work. The staff managed day to activities involving the websites as well as the contributing to the vision and formation of the sites. The Website Manager is also responsible for the IT Steering Group which oversees the Church’s statistics and as well as social media.

Series contains one subseries: 1) Records of the Web Services Manager, 1997-2013.

United Church of Canada. Division of Communication.