sophia lyon fahs lecture

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture 2024: 

Love as Accessibility: Buildings & Beyond

An illustration of a simple church building and a person who is sitting in a wheelchair with arms and one leg raised as though they are in motion. There is a pink heart behind these illustrations and an aqua background. Black text reads Fahs Lecture 2024, Love as Accessibility: Buildings and Beyond, presented by the Liberal Religious Educators' Association in partnership with EqUUal Access.

In this panel presentation, we'll explore stories of bringing more accessible spaces and radical welcome to our congregations and religious education programs.

The panel will be moderated by Mx Katharine Childs, LREDA Board President, who will be joined by Gretchen Maune, the UUA's Accessibility Resources Coordinator, and Elizabeth Foster and Imari Nuyen-Kariotis from EqUUal Access.

Watch a trailer for the Lecture here.

We would love to hear your questions about creating accessible RE programs. This year GA is online and the lecture will be pre-recorded, so GA registrants can watch it at any time during the conference. LREDA will also host a watch party, stay tuned for more details.

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture 2023: 

Fahs to the Future!

Religious educators are champions of community and adaptation, fighting the forces of injustice, and using teamwork to tackle the BIG WORK of faithfully becoming a more rooted, more loving Unitarian Universalism.

The 2023 Fahs Lecture brought together a panel of religious educators to explore the future of UU faith development: Aisha Hauser, Mx Katharine Childs, Kirsten Hunter, Emmalinda Maclean, and QuianaDenae Perkins.

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture 2022:

Earthly Inheritance: Ancestral Wisdom & Today's Climate Justice

by Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt

You can watch Sofía's lecture here.

Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt draws on her recently published book, Ecowomanism at the Panamá Canal: Black Women, Labor, and Environmental Ethics, to speak to the interconnections between inherited ancestral wisdom and climate justice. This lecture invites us to build beloved community as an Earth honoring faith.

Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt holds a Ph.D. in religious ethics and African American Studies from Yale University. Her academic work focuses on environmental ethics of liberation in a womanist and Latina feminist frame. She served for five years on the core faculty of Starr King School for the Ministry, four years as the Director of Racial and Ethnic Concerns of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and briefly as its Interim Co-President. Betancourt’s ministry centers on work that is empowering and counter-oppressive. Her book Ecowomanism at the Panamá Canal: Black Women, Labor, and Environmental Ethics was published by Lexington Books in January, 2022.

To purchase Sofía's book go HERE. Use the discount code LXFANDF30 to get 30% off.

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture 2021: 

Centering the Voices of BIPOC UU Youth & Young Adults

with Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, Kennedy Mattson, Karishma Gottfried, & Andreas Rivera Young

On June 25th, GA attendees joined LREDA to shift our focus to the growing edge, centering voices of BIPOC UU Youth and Young Adults.  The Fahs Lecture addresses the sacred work of "leading out" learners of all ages to foster deeper understandings and renewed inspirations for this ministry as they share their experiences and insights for our future.  

         Panel Convener - Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson 
         Lecture Panelists - Kennedy Mattson, Karishma Gottfried, & Andreas Rivera Young 

Watch the panel HERE

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture 2020:

Reflecting Critically on teachings about Native People

by Natalie Martinez and Jean Mendoza

Watch the video HERE, See the handout HERE

Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture 2019: 

Building a Community of Communities

by Dr. Paula Cole Jones

Paula Cole Jones gives the 2019 LREDA Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture at the 2019 UUA General Assembly in Spokane, WA. © 2019 Nancy Pierce/UUA

Watch Paula's Lecture HERE

Whether we consider faith formation, growth, social justice and/or dismantling white supremacy, Unitarian Universalists could use an identity update. This presentation embraces who we are and challenges who we think we are. Seeing ourselves as a Community of Communities changes our future and it is key to the Beloved Community.

What is the Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture?

The purpose of the Fahs Lecture is annually, at the General Assembly of the Unitarian 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.  

  Donate to the Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecture Fund


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.  

Click here to see programming as far back as 1974.