Skip to content

Home

Strong RE Programs Begin with Strong Leaders

Home
Strong RE Programs Begin with Strong Leaders

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lectures

The Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture

1.  MISSION

The purpose of the Fahs Lecture is annually, at the General Assembly of the Uniatrain Universalist Association, to present a speaker on the topic of religious education to this wide and diverse gathering of lay and professional Unitarian Universalists.  Each year, the Fahs Lecture Committee seeks to invite an individual whose life and work has shown a commitment and understanding of the meaning, the depth, and the challenges of religious education.  The speaker's role is to address some aspect of the sacred work of "leading out" learners of all ages , "educare", to help us have deeper understandings, higher visions, and renewed inspirations for this ministry.

The Fahs Lecture is named in honor of Sophia Lyon Fahs, the religious educator who in the middle of this century shaped the course of Unitarian Universalist religious education.  Her insights - including the notion that children develop religious understanding from their interaction with the world - revolutionized how we teach.

2.  HISTORY

This annual lecture held at the UUA General Assembly each year, was begun by members of the Board of the Liberal Religious Educators Association in the early 1970s, following a tradition of notable lectures.   Dr. Eugene Navias reports that previous to the Fahs Lecture, "the Religious Education Department once had major speakers at General Assemblies and their Unitarian predecessor, May Meetings, and that LREDA regularly had speakers at its annual dinner at GA.  One of the most notable speakers at one of these events in the years before the Fahs Lecture started was Cody Wilson, Executive Director of the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography.  His lecture at the LREDA Dinner in 1971 drew much positive attention and was later published by the UUA R.E. Department and distributed through the UUA Bookstore. 

"The big move with the Fahs Lecture was...to have a lecture on a topic that had some import to liberal religious education at a prime time at the GA - to rank along with the Ware Lecture.  ...a $1,000 grant [was] received from the Unitarian Sunday School Society to fund the first lecture."

 

HISTORY OF THE SOPHIA FAHS LECTURE AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION

YEAR

SPEAKER

TOPIC

PLACE

1974 

 Mary Daly,  author

  "God, the Father"

  New York, NY

 1975 

 Gail Thain Parker 
 President, Bennington College

 

Minneapolis, MN 

 1976

 Barbara Brown 
leading expert on 
biofeedback research

 "Changing Concepts of Mind and Spirit: Coping with the Mind Revolution"

 Claremont, CA

 1977

 Zella Luvia  
 Professor of  Psychology, Tufts

 "The Changing Worlds of Men and 
Women: New Opportunity or Loss?"

Ithaca, NY

 1978

 Denise Levertov 
writer, Professor of English, Tufts

 "Acres of Clams and What They Are Saying"

Boston, MA

 1979 

 Jean Houston 
Director of the Foundation for Mind 
 Research; President of Association of Humanistic Psychology

   "Theology and the Metamorphosis of Mind"

 East Lansing, MI

 1980 

    FAHS Night - instead of a lecture

an opportunity to create an autonomous association of  people interested in life-long religious education

 Albuquerque, NM

 1981

  Suzanne Benton  
accomplished sculptor, mask maker, actress & storyteller 

 "Women Myths and Masks" 
 new perceptions and understandings of women and myths of the Old Testament

 Philadelphia, PA

 1982

Maria Harris 
Andover Newton  Education 
 Theological School 

 "Sisterhood, Silence and Religious- Silence-Awareness-Mourning-Mutuality as ways of Learning and Understanding"

 Brunswick, ME

  1983

  Claire Fisher  
Aurilia Reinhardt 
 Professor, Starr King School for Religious Leaders

  "Another Way: Morality and Gender" 

 Vancouver, BC

 1984

  Joanmarie Smith 
 Professor, Methodist Theological School

  "Ecumenical Spirituality" 

  Columbus, OH

 1985

  William R. Jones

  "Moral Decision Making: Implications for Unitarian Universalist  
Religious Education"

 Atlanta, GA

 1986

  Carter Heyward 
Episcopal priest and Professor of Theology, Episcopal Divinity School

  "Reflections on a Feminist Spirituality for Justice"

  Rochester, NY

 1987

 Henry Hampton 
 executive producer,  
"Eyes on the Prize"

"Little Rock through a Big Window:  Reflections on Media and Movement"

Little Rock, AK

 1988

Mary Elizabeth Moore

  "Telling Stories and Crossing Boundaries"

 Palm Springs, CA

 1989

  Robert Keegan

   "Growing Young Hearts and Minds Toward Justice"

  New Haven, CT

1990

John DeFrain 
Professor of Family Science, University of NebraskaLincoln

"The Quality of Strong Families: A Primer for Unitarian Universalists"

Milwaukee, WI

1991

 William Jones 
UU minister, Director  of Black Studies, Florida StateUniversity

  "Primer on Oppression:  Liberals' New Agenda"

 Hollywood, FL

1992 

Doris Dyke 
professor, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto

 "Women:  Nurtured and Abused by Religion"

 Calgary, Alberta

1993

Charles Foster 
Professor of Religious Education, Emory University,Atlanta

  "Rainbows and Mosaics:  
The Multi-Cultural Future"

 Charlotte, NC

1994 

Thomas Owen-Towle 
 UU Minister

"Putting the Child into Our Midst"

 Fort Worth, TX

1995

 Roberta M. Nelson 
 UU Minister of Religious Education

 "Persistent as the Myriad Light of Stars" 

 Spokane, WA

1996

 Marie Fortune 
Director, Center for  the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence

"Doing Least Harm: A New Approach  to Sexual Ethics"

  Indianapolis, IN

1997 

Byrd Baylor, author

"Being in Charge of Celebrations" 

Phoenix, AZ

1998 

Bernice Johnson Reagon 
 educator, musician

"In Search of the Sacred"  (cancelled)

Rochester, NY

1999 

Dr. Ronald Cram, 
Executive Director of the Religious Education Association

“Beyond Tolerance: Racial Dialogue in an Era of Expanding Religion “

Salt Lake City, Utah

2000

Elias Farajaje-Jones, Professor of Theology at StarrKing School for the Ministry

"Meditate, Liberate, Educate."

Nashville, TN

2001

Thomas Groome, Professor of Religious Studies,Boston College

“Postmodernity and Religious Education”

Cleveland, OH

2002

Beverly Wildung Harrison, Professor Emeriti, Union Theological Seminary

“Sophia Fahs:  Freedom in a Colonizing Culture”

Quebec, QC

2003

Jerome Berryman

“Godly Play:  Finding Our Spiritual Direction Through Creativity”

Boston, MA

2004

Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier

“From Hospitality to Shalom – Pedagogical Strategies”

Long Beach, CA

2005

Elissa Bishop-Becker

“The Grief Spiral: The Transformative Power of Loss”

Ft. Worth, TX

2006

The Rev. Richard S. Gilbert

 

“Growing People of Prophetic Fire”

(Text of Lecture)

St. Louis, MO

2007

William J. Doherty

 

“Home Grown Religion”

 

Portland, OR

2008

CANCELLED

 

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

2009

Rabbi Sandi Sasso

"Nurturing the Spiritual Imagination of Children"

Salt Lake City, UT

2010

Dale McGowan

"Parenting Beyond Belief"

Minneapolis, MN

2011

Dr. Mark Hicks

"Religious Education for People of Color"

Charlotte, NC

 2012                        Louise Derman-Sparks "Bending Toward Justice: Race, Immigration, and Religious Education"  Phoenix, AZ