2017/18 Issue Number 4

December 2017

In This Issue...

  1. President's Notes
  2. 2016-17 Annual Report
  3. Fall Conference
  4. Nominating Committee
  5. RE in the 70s
  6. Renaissance Module
  7. News from the UUA

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Email: board@lreda.org

President Annie Scott

Vice President Robin Pugh

Treasurer Pete Fontneau

Secretary Andrea James

Continental Events Lily Rappaport

Professional Development Leah Purcell

Professional Support Jules Jaramillo


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December Notes from the President

Annie Scott, LREDA President

In this deeply disturbing time of politics in the United States, it seemed particularly relevant to have the Soul Matters theme for December as HOPE. At first, I admit it seemed a bit too predictable. December and Hope are just so expected. But then, as I dug around in my heart and soul and recent experiences, much came up that was anything but usual.

This morning I mailed off cards and checks to nine people who made significant contributions to this year’s LREDA Fall Conference. Eight of them were people of color who embodied, I think, the essence of hope. They came into a room with people who were responsible for hurtful programming, spoke their truth with power and anger and frustration. They heard responses and again spoke their truth and hurt and even questioned the honesty of the leaders. Then they stayed in the room to work collaboratively with others to develop programming that would help unpack the harm done and invite everyone into learning and healing. That experience, those images of painful truth-telling, listening and then moving on, to do better together - that image is where my sense of hope comes from this holiday season. People speaking their truth while they were in pain and then staying ‘at the table’—- that inspires me and fills my heart with hope.

Recognizing that people of color are often asked to give of themselves without financial recognition, the LREDA Board has sent checks for one hundred dollars to: Jolena James-Szanton, Yvette Salinas, Erica Shadowsong, Marisol Caballero, Christina Rivera, Aisha Hauser, Mark Hicks, and Jessica York. Thank you each, for your courage and wisdom and leadership in LREDA and in our faith.  We also sent a check to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) in honor of Rev. Paul Langston-Daley, who guided us through the powerful Restorative Circle process.

May all our LREDA members find hope this holiday season from new and perhaps unexpected places.

Annie Scott is the Director of Religious Education for Children, Youth and Families at Jefferson Unitarian Church, in Golden Colorado. She serves LREDA as President from 2017-2020.


2016-17 Annual Report

In the four days prior to Fall Conference, the Board met to discuss several big issues we’d identified, as well as host conversations with the Nominating Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Team, the Endowment Committee, and with Carey McDonald and Jessica York of the UUA. These were very full days.

 

Our Board member with the Communications portfolio had prepared an Annual Report to be sent early November. It just needed a couple of additions, but between those full days and Fall Conference… well, it was never sent. We think you'll still be interested in a review of 2016-17 though, so please click here to read our Annual Report.



Fall Conference

Those who attended LREDA Fall Conference in Denver last month, know that regular programming was suspended the morning of our first full day of Fall Conference (if you haven’t already, you may read our letter to members about this, here).

Members of the LREDA Board LREDA Diversity and Inclusion Team (DIT) met with representatives from the People of Color caucus to witness the pain that had been caused by the keynote presenters we had hired for Fall Conference. After truth telling, listening and reflecting together the group worked together to design revised programming for the remainder of Fall Conference.

Our revised programming included Restorative Circles, brought to us by Rev. Paul Langston-Daley, who was in attendance to make a presentation on behalf of the  Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). We share with you the resources that Paul provided LREDA:
Fact Sheet
Restorative Justice Circles (Script)
Communication Guidelines

We are very thankful for Rev. Paul Langston-Daley’s shared knowledge of this process, and for all who participated in circles, and for Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer, acting Executive Director of the UU Ministers Association, who assisted us in many ways over the weekend and specifically, suggested we bring Paul into our revised planning process.

Each of the Restorative Circles produced learnings, suggestions, and requests, which were passed on to the Board. We are using this information to inform our own discernment process and.we are passing on questions and concerns to other groups, as requested and when appropriate. We will continue to process this feedback as we move through a review of our systems and our planning for next year and beyond.

In the meantime, part of the Restorative Circle process is to close the loop by responding to some of your notes. Here are a few we’re able to touch on at this point (feedback is in bold italics, and printed as written, responses from the Board follow):

“Slow down”

From the article we shared at Fall Conference about White Supremacy, Sense of Urgency: continued sense of urgency that makes it difficult to take time to be inclusive, encourage democratic and/or thoughtful decision-making, to think long-term, to consider consequences”

We are reminding ourselves and each other about this as we move forward. You will not see a rush to solve and fix. Prior to this past Fall Conference we had begun a review of other LREDA systems and processes and have added Fall Con to this list; we will be taking our time, backing all the way up, inviting input from many voices and considering all aspects of Fall Conference.

“Not have white male presenters for a few years.”
We don’t know yet what the Fall Conference focus will be next year, but we know that we will prioritize the voices, perspectives and leadership of non-white and/or non-cis-male people.

“Is there a recording or transcript of the presentation offered by Annie and Jessica on Sunday morning? It’s quite a good example of what to do.”
There is no recording and but they may decide to make their notes available in the future. Jessica and Annie have been invited to share their reflections on the Fall Conference on the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s The VUU podcast on Thursday, January 4 at 11:00 a.m. EST, so you may want to listen live or to the recording afterward.
 
“Did presenters disregard for LREDA commitment to accessibility—did they get those guidelines?”
The presenters received the LREDA Guidelines for Presenters, which were attached to their letters of agreement.
 
Again, we are grateful for the Restorative Circle process, and will continue to publish responses as we process.


Nominating Committee

Dear LREDA Friends,

Amid weighty Fall Con conversations, those in attendance had the opportunity to join LREDA Nominations for table talks around the current LREDA Nominations and election procedures.  It is our hope to continue these conversations through the next few months along with providing more opportunities to learn about the current process.  Please watch the LREDA newsletter and LREDA List-serve for opportunities to learn more about the current Nomination and election process and discuss its value/effectiveness in this current age.  

Also, you may have some established thoughts on this conversation.  You may also have some good ideas on HOW to approach this conversation.  Please feel free to share by emailing the LREDA Nominations Committee at nominating@lreda.org.  Thank you all for your contributions to the Unitarian Universalist denomination.

Are you interested in applying for a board or committee position?  Email a cover letter of interest, resume, and three references to nominating@lrdea.org.  

Open Board positions include:

  • Vice-President (Currently held by Robin Pugh)
  • Member-at-Large with the Professional Development portfolio (currently held by Leah Purcell)

Check out their job descriptions at http://www.lreda.org/board

LREDA Nominations inlcude:  Jamaine Cripe, Katy Carpman, Michele Grove, Kim Mason and Carla Miller. 


Religious Education in the 70s

As the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities (Davenport, IA) approached their 150th anniversary celebration they asked Marlene Miller, who served as DRE from 1968-1980, to reflect on RE during her tenure - and it had to fit on an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper! Click here to see her reflections.


Renaissance Module

Multicultural Religious Education
April 27 – 29, 2018
Unitarian Universalist Church of Spartanburg
Spartanburg, South Carolina

We welcome you to join us the last weekend in April 2018 as we host the Multicultural RE Renaissance Module.  Our module facilitators will be Helen Bishop and Claudia Jimenez.  Spartanburg is easily accessible from I-26 and I-85.

Home hosting will be available for whoever needs that.  Registration is limited to twenty, and we’ve already had several folks express interest in attending!  You can follow the link below to get your name on the list.  Tentative schedule will begin the weekend at 5 p.m. on Friday April 27, with plans to wrap up by 2 p.m. on Sunday April 29.  We are finalizing our budget, but hope to keep registration fees at no more than $260 per person, which includes all materials and meals.  If you choose to not be home hosted, those costs are your responsibility, in addition to the registration fee.

Questions?  Contact Sybil Argintar, DRE, UUCS  at dre@uucs.org or (828) 230-3773

https://uusptnbg.breezechms.com/form/c26a19


News from the UUA

Faith Development Office

The UUA Common Read for 2017-18 is not one selection, but two. Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, Mitra Rahnema, ed. (Skinner, 2017) focuses on the Unitarian Universalist work of dismantling white supremacy culture. Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen (Beacon, 2017) offers a vision and guidance for some of our work in the public square. Download a Common Read discussion guides, in one-session and three-session versions, for Centering and Daring Democracy.

For more on What's New in Religious Education and Faith Development, click here.

Skinner House Books

The holiday guide from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop is now available! Check out this great resource for gift ideas for all of your loved ones. From inspiration titles and children’s books to unique UU items and jewelry, it’s all here! Free standard shipping on orders of $50 or more (within the U.S.) is also available from November 15th through December 15th. Your purchase from inSpirit contributes directly to the work of the Unitarian Universalist Association—thank you, and happy holidays from all of us at the bookstore!