Hard for me to believe, but it was 29 years ago that I started writing about meetings and conventions as an editor with Successful Meetings. Indeed, it was while covering an industry meeting (NAEM, now IAEE) that I first met RCMA's Executive Director DeWayne Woodring and I began to learn about the world of religious conferences.

Not much later, I interviewed DeWayne for an article and I think it was the first time I heard “recession-proof” in reference to religious meetings. It was the early 1980s and the economy was in the tank, but religious groups were continuing to meet in strong numbers, unlike many corporations and associations.

Our paths crossed again in the early 1990s when I became editor of Association Meetings, a sister publication of Religious Conference Manager. I remember helping to write the show dailies on site at an RCMA conference in the mid-1990s. By then, RCMA was well-established as the leading international association for religious meeting professionals.

When I left Association Meetings in 2006 to launch a magazine about faith-based meetings, my immersion in the world of religious conferences was full-time. I came to see meeting planners in this field in a new light — many were pros delivering events as cost-effectively as possible while at the same time, trying to preserve the essential inspirational message that is at the heart of every successful religious gathering. It's quite a difficult job, and usually there are all sorts of complicating factors — as readers of this magazine are sure to know.

Embarking on a new but not entirely unfamiliar path as editor of Religious Conference Manager, I look forward to bringing readers articles that will help them with the myriad challenges they face. The foundation of RCMA is education, and that will continue to be reflected in Religious Conference Manager.

I know the best way to succeed as an editor is to be as close to readers as possible. So please know that I would love to hear from you — your suggestions for articles, profiles, case studies, and news coverage would be greatly appreciated. You are my eyes and ears!

I'm happy to be interviewing DeWayne Woodring and the RCMA staff now on a regular basis about the association and the meeting professionals it serves. It's been a long journey in meetings journalism for me, and I'm looking forward to this new opportunity.

Enjoy the issue!