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2020 RNA Conferences moves to virtual

Wednesday, July 1, 2020  
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2020 RNA Annual Conference to move online amid COVID-19 pandemic

Will include everything you love about the RNA Conference, virtually

(COLUMBIA, MO) — Bethesda will have to wait one year to welcome back Religion News Association members gathering for the RNA Annual Conference. In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the RNA Board proactively voted to postpone the 2020 RNA Annual Conference. In its place, RNA will hold at least two virtual meetings over the next year and will consider smaller meet-ups when it is safe to do so. 

RNA’s 71st Annual Conference was originally slated for late October at The Bethesdan Hotel in Maryland. The next in-person RNA Conference is now tentatively scheduled for Oct. 7–9, 2021, at the same hotel.
“Postponing the annual conference is the most difficult financial decision RNA has faced in at least two decades,” said Chief Operating Officer Tiffany McCallen. But at the end of the day, there was no scenario that would guarantee the health of our members, speakers and guests if we moved forward with an in-person event this fall — and no guarantee that such a gathering would even be permissible in October.”
In lieu of a face-to-face meeting this year, the Conference Committee is developing a two-day virtual event for Sept. 24–25, 2020, that will explore topics such as religious liberty during COVID-19; the minority vote; evangelicals of color; faith group lobbying; the role of faith communities in racial inequities and injustice; and COVID mourning and mental health.

"Working with fellow RNA members to reimagine our conference as a virtual gathering has been a reminder of the very camaraderie we all cherish and seek out at our annual conference,” said Conference Co-Chair Dina Zingaro. "We are excited to create a virtual space where attendees can be together to enjoy carefully crafted panels about the fall's election and the ongoing pandemic — and also share in some laughs and social events during an overwhelming newscycle.”
In addition to a star lineup of timely topics, the virtual event will bring members together via networking opportunities and evening social activities, such as trivia nights, happy hours and karaoke competitions.
Advertisers and sponsors will also be welcomed through virtual exhibit opportunities, event sponsorships, green room access and direct appeals. 
More details about the event will be posted over the coming weeks at Registration is expected to open by late July. To help ease financial burdens, RNA will again offer registration scholarships for RNA members through the generosity of the Religion News Foundation’s three  RNA Conference Scholarship Funds
In the meantime, the Conference Committee  welcomes suggestions for virtual social and networking games and platforms. Anyone interested in advertising and sponsorships should contact  Wendy Gustofson.
"Putting together a virtual conference experience has been challenging, but exciting,” said Conference Co-Chair Deepa Bharath. "While we’ll all miss the camaraderie and vibrancy of our in-person RNA conference, I know that this virtual conference will be a place where we can still come together as a community, learn and hone our skills. We need each other now, more than ever.”

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9/24/2020 » 9/25/2020
2020 RNA Annual Conference (Virtual)

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