Media research

Ellis presents research on Adventists and the movies at national conference

Lynelle Ellis, associate professor of communication, presented some of the findings from her doctoral research in a presentation titled, “Seventh-day Adventists and the Movies,” at the annual Society of Adventist Communicators Conference that occurred on Oct. 14 and 15. The conference, held virtually this year to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, focused on Purpose, Passion, and Partnership as the theme values.

“While I’ve often attended the SAC conferences, this is the first time I’ve presented,” said Ellis.  “My presentation was about Seventh-day Adventists and the movies. I was essentially presenting the results of research from my doctoral dissertation. Talking about the history of our interaction with movies and where we are currently.”

In her doctoral research, Ellis had chosen the topic to find answers for her own questions about the media and Adventist heritage, particularly concerning the history and stigma of the phrase, “Your angel will not go into the theater with you.” She found that much of the philosophy stemmed from the ideas of Frances M. Wilcox, the editor of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald from 1911-1944. Her conclusion was that media is important but Adventists have far to go in becoming responsible media consumers. She is concerned with the level of media literacy Adventists have as a church and how little understood are the effects of visual and auditory messages. 

Ellis said she was pleased with the response to her presentation and that there was a good discussion at the end. “I’ve also been asked by one of the attendees to write an article for an SDA journal in Australia, related to the presentation,” she said. 

The Society of Adventist Communicators seeks to inspire professional communicators, while providing a networking platform. The annual conference has been held at various cities around the U.S. and this year was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding the online format and presenting over that platform, Ellis said, “I liked the online format. I think it worked as well as anything could in the online environment. However, I can’t wait for the conference to be in person again. It provides the opportunity for so many more important and interesting conversations and connections.”

To learn more about the Cinema, Religion, and Worldview master’s program, which Ellis directs at WWU, visit wallawalla.edu/CRW.

Posted Nov. 12, 2020

Woman wearing dark professional clothing sitting in front of a set and cameras
Lynelle Ellis, associate professor of communication, is also director of the WWU Center for Media Ministry.

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