February 9, 2010

Bob Abernethy, host of the PBS show Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, will receive a special Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council at the Religion Communication Congress 2010 in April in Chicago. He will be recognized for the contribution he and the television program have made to the public discussion of issues of faith. “Since 1997, Bob has promoted intelligent, insightful examinations of faith issues on American public television,” RCC President Douglas F. Cannon said in an announcement.

Art Clokey, 88, the creator of the animated clay icon Gumby and his clay Christian counterparts Davey and Goliath, died January 8 at his home in central California. His work on the television program Davey and Goliath showed “the spiritual side of my dad,” son Joe Clokey told the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s news service. A forerunner of the ELCA, the United Lutheran Church in America, asked Clokey and his wife, Ruth, in 1959 to create a Gumby-like show for the church. The episodes, which ran from 1960 to 1975, were known for simple moral lessons. Often Davey invited trouble by ignoring the advice of Goliath, his conscientious talking dog, before returning to Christian values. The ELCA resurrected the duo for a 2004 Christmas special that featured new characters, including Sam, who was Jewish, and Yasmeen, a Muslim.

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