Becoming an informed electorate: Issues and values and the role of media

Breakfast meeting presented by Council of Churches and Fairfield University

The Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport and the Center for Faith and Public Life at Fairfield University will present a panel discussion and continental breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 7 from 7:15 to 9 a.m. on "Becoming an Informed Electorate: Issues and Values and the Role of the Media." The event takes place in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room on the Fairfield campus. The public is welcome and a free will offering is appreciated. To register, please contact Ana Cotto at or call (203) 334-1121.

Leadiing the discussion will be the Rev. Dr. Brian Schofield-Bodt, president of the Council of Churches; James Smith, editor of the Connecticut Post; and Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., director of the Center for Faith and Public Life.

Rev. Schofield-Bodt said the breakfast "will speak to the responsibility of the faith community to educate members about issues and values and the role of the media in informing the electorate about candidates' responses to issues."

A United Methodist Pastor for 30 years, Rev. Schofield-Bodt has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport ( since July 1, 2006. Previously he had served churches in New York and Connecticut, most recently Golden Hill Church, Bridgeport (1995-2006). He is a regular columnist with the Connecticut Post newspaper and has most recently served on the transition team for Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. He serves on his denomination's clergy credential board, mentors new candidates, works with local church personnel committees and is a periodic guest leader for the New Consecration Sunday stewardship program. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition and a participant in the Fairfield County Clergy Collective.

Rev. Schofield-Bodt is married to the former Cindy Kenner Schofield, Head of Technical Services at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. They have two sons: Daniel, a recent graduate of Harvard College; and Adam, a sophomore and theatre major at Western Connecticut State University.

James H. Smith, the editor of the Connecticut Post since 2005, has been a journalist for 38 years. He is the recipient of the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award for his columns on the free press. He is the author of A Passion for Journalism, A Newspaper Editor Writes to his Readers a collection of columns on the First Amendment and on how editorial decisions are made at newspapers.

Mr. Smith has served twice as a Pulitzer Prize juror and is past president of the New England Society of Newspaper Editors and a member of the board of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information. He has worked as a reporter and city editor at The Hartford Courant, managing editor at the dailies in Torrington, New London, and Danbury and executive editor at the Record-Journal in Meriden. He has been in Bridgeport since 2005.

His wife Jacqueline also is a journalist. Jim and Jacky have four grown daughters and two grandsons.

Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., a former national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service USA and National Secretary for Jesuit Social and International Ministries, was installed as Fairfield University's new Center for Faith and Public Life in 2005. Since then the Center has been involved in numerous community building programs, including on the issues of migration, human trafficking and predatory lending practices.

In 2006 he was invited by the Vatican to become a member of the official delegation of the Holy See to the 61st session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

He has also had extensive experience representing the non-governmental American humanitarian organizations at the UN as chairman of the Washington-based NGO coalition, INTERACTION. In that capacity he was a member of the United States government delegation to several UN High Commissioner for Refugees meetings in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on January 16, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 155

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