2017/18 Issue Number 8

June 2018

In This Issue...

  1. Notes from the President
  2. Our New Treasurer!
  3. 2018 Fall Conference
  4. Milestones
  5. Stewardship Sermon Award Winner
  6. Celebrating Our Endowment Committee Leaders
  7. News from our Friends
    1. Skinner House Books
    2. UUMN
    3. Side with Love

LREDA eNews is a monthly newsletter. Please send submissions to [email protected] by the 20th of the month prior.

To be included in Milestones, send your work anniversaries, news, retirements, etc. to Gaia Brown at [email protected]

Creating a world guided by love, justice, and equity 

Advocating for and supporting professional religious educators
Advancing the field of Unitarian Universalist faith development
Engaging in the transformative power of shared ministry
Challenging systems of oppression



LREDA Members uphold our Code of Professional Practices. We are religious educators, youth ministry professionals, program assistants, ministers, CUC and UUA staff, and more.

Do you need help at work? Learn about how the Good Offices Program can provide support, or see a list of Good Officers here.

LREDA is a continental organization with members across Canada and the United States. To find the Chapter near you, click here.

LREDA funds available

Shared Ministry Resources

Connect & Serve


Email: [email protected]

President Annie Scott

Vice President Robin Pugh

Treasurer Juliet Donaldson

Secretary Andrea James

Continental Events Lily Rappaport

Professional Development Leah Purcell

Professional Support Jules Jaramillo


Administrator Kari Kopnick [email protected]

Conference Planner Bea Ann Phillips [email protected]

Director of Development Laurel Amabile [email protected]

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June Notes from the President

Annie Scott, LREDA President

Growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, my place as a female-identified person was reinforced everywhere I went, including my home. My parents were gentle, loving people and had very clear, traditional, and strict gender roles. There was nothing subtle about my training. I remember one time when my dad was heading out to the side yard to play catch with one of my brothers, I asked, “Can I play, too?” My dad’s response was quick and clear, “You don’t want to play catch, Sis.” When I asked, “Can I come down to the basement with you and fix the lamp?”, he said, “No, Sis, you don’t want to do that. You stay and help your mom fold the clothes.” I loved my dad, and regret his role in so much of my cultural education.

I was speaking with a retired, white, male-identified UU minister recently about delegate status for religious educators. He recalled when the number of male-identified ministers significantly outnumbered female-identified ministers and how much resistance there was to the change.

There’s a modern folk tale about a young person in Anchorage who was so tired of being cold and just wanted to make their way to Miami. They created a sign and stood on the side of the road to hitchhike to the warmth of Miami. Before long a friendly trucker pulled over and said, “I’m not going to Miami, but I can take you as far as Fort Lauderdale.” The dejected hitchhiker turned down the offer, waiting for the perfect ride. We have learned that one of the crippling characteristics of white supremacist culture is perfectionism, which keeps us by the side of the road rather than moving toward our goal, our ideal.

We Unitarian Universalists are in a time of change. We are growing in our awareness of the culture of white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy that have shaped, constricted and harmed our faith and our people. We have also challenged the status quo, always imperfectly.  LREDA is proposing another imperfect improvement to our association of congregations. We are proposing that religious educators be given a Voice & a Vote in the UUA’s General Assembly. We have created a set of imperfect Talking Points to assist in our conversations. Please share them with ministers you serve with, ministers you know, and delegates for the congregation you serve.

I look forward to seeing some of you in Kansas City for this exciting conversation and vote. And I hope many more of you will be online watching the live stream of this momentous time.

A Voice & a Vote: the time is now!


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.

Our New Treasurer!

With great thanks to the LREDA Nominating Committee, the LREDA Board of Trustees recently appointed Juliet Donaldson as Treasurer. Juliet will serve until end of June 2020, completing the term vacated in April. A message from Juliet:

Thank you to the LREDA Board for welcoming me into the role of LREDA Treasurer. I'm looking forward to using my accounting skills and giving back to this wonderful community of Religious Educators.

In 1993 I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the United Kingdom, training with Price Waterhouse Coopers, and have taken on a variety of accounting roles in both the public and private sectors in the UK.

Thirteen years ago I relocated to the US with my husband and four children where I discovered Unitarian Universalism. I enjoyed teaching RE so much I decided to switch careers four years ago and became the Director of Religious Exploration at UU Middleboro, a small and friendly church in Southeastern Massachusetts, getting my credentialed status last year.

 ~ Juliet Donaldson 


Outside the Box at Fall Conference

As we've been exploring our internal systems, the LREDA Board gave ourselves permission to rethink everything about our biggest event: Fall Conference

We asked ourselves, what do religious educators need in these exciting, challenging, truth-telling times? Our answers included: powerful, healing worship; understanding power dynamics and systems of oppression; inspiration to do extraordinary things; and celebrating the groundbreaking work that's already out there.

Join us in Houston, November 1-5 for

Moving Mountains - Together

Still in the planning stages, we are thinking outside the Fall Con box. There will be times when we all come together: connecting, worshiping, eating, sharing, and learning together is a highlight of Fall Con! And there will be times when we move into smaller learning environments, or tracks.

New religious educators will be offered a track that will provide a grounding in this vital and beloved work. The newly-revised Ministery with Youth Renaissance Module will be embedded in the conference to save participants money and time.  And we are exploring dynamic workshops and speakers that will speak to the needs of religious educators of color, and long-time religious educators. This year LREDA Large and Small will meet prior to Fall Conference. 

While we don't yet have more than this to share, we wanted you know how different the timing will be, so you can map out your travel. Again,

  • LREDA Large and Small gatherings will happen before Fall Con
  • New DRE and Renaissance Module tracks will happen during Fall Con
  • There will be other tracks offered during the conference as well. (If you are taking the Ren Mod, you'll need to complete the whole thing to get credit.)

If you have questions, ideas to share, or would like to get involved, please email Lily Rappaport, [email protected]

LREDA Milestones

Professional milestones should be self-reported to [email protected] for inclusion in the LREDA eNews.  

Natalie Fenimore, CRE-ML and Minister of Lifespan Religious Education of The UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset, NY), received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in May.  She is also celebrating 20 years as a professional religious educator. Natalie is a former president of LREDA.  

Andrea James, Director of Lifespan Faith Development at the First UU Church of Winnipeg (Manitoba), is marking her first year of having a lifespan role and the 10th year as a religious educator.  Andrea also serves as the secretary of LREDA. (Thank you, Andrea!)

Ellen Cormier, DRE at the UU Fellowship at Boca Raton, FL, is retiring after 5 years of service to that congregation.  While there, Ellen developed the ENCOUNTER program for multiage kids, with a focus on year-long cultural literacy in religious studies, social justice and environmental concerns, rooted in the seven principles. A life-long educator with Master’s degrees in Reading & Language Arts and Special Education, Ellen taught elementary, middle school and college level classes. She also served as DRE for 5 years at First Parish, Sudbury, MA, and she recalls the days when the multi-colored paper REACH packet, a most welcome resource, was mailed to DREs across the continent.  One of her contributions to REACH was a document that helped DREs understand and provide for children with special needs. Her future plans include taking her certified therapy dog to senior living complexes, quilting, and helping to develop a membership and retention program at her fellowship. She is especially grateful to Rev. Harris Riordan, her colleague and “boss”, for letting her fly!

Stewardship Sermon Award 2018 Winner Selected!

Please join the UUA, UUMA, and LREDA in congratulating the Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman for his Stewardship Sermon Award winning sermon, “Committed.” Please read the sermon (or watch the video of him preaching it!) here.
The Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman is the Lead Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, NC. He is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and a graduate of the St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC and Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. He served as an Arabic linguist in the US Army and, in 2005, became the first non-military clergy person to meet and speak with prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Over his 20 year ministerial career, he has served congregations in Indiana, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska. His passion outside ministry is SCUBA diving. 
Established in 1984, the Stewardship Sermon Award is granted annually in recognition of a sermon that best explores and promotes the financial support of our Unitarian Universalist faith. The $1,000 award is jointly sponsored by the Annual Program Fund (APF), the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) and the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA).  The selection is made by a representative committee using a blind process with standardized criteria. 

Celebrating Our Endowment Committee Leaders

As religious leaders, we know the real difference dedicated volunteers can make in the success of any program!

The LREDA Endowment Committee (LEC) has been evolving since it began its work 5 years ago, with an ambitious goal of increasing the LREDA Endowment Fund by $1 million. This committed group envisioned a campaign to actively engage all LREDA members and supporters in the effort. Over the course of the 3-year campaign, over $550,000 was raised and committed by over 300 of you, through a combination of cash gifts, multi-year pledges, and planned legacy gifts. Over 25 congregations supported the effort through their shared offering programs and gifts in honor of their religious educators. LREDA’s budget is already boosted by the investment returns we receive each year. This has been a most fruitful and beneficial effort, and we certainly have learned a LOT in the process!

Two people have been central to the organization and success of the LEC from the beginning—John Cavallero, Chair, and Pat Ellenwood. As their extended terms of service are ending this month, it’s a good time to affirm and celebrate their leadership and vision for the future of the LREDA Endowment Fund.

John Cavallero, White Plains, NY

After a dozen years of very active volunteer participation in the RE program in White Plains, NY, John began serving the First Unitarian Society in Hastings on Hudson as Director of Religious Education in 2005. At his very first Metro NY LREDA Chapter meeting, John raised the concern that members were asked to vote to spend more than we had in income, and with that he became the chapter treasurer. LREDA and its Chapters became an important part of John’s professional life from the start. He writes…

“Without the support of my cluster and chapter, and LREDA colleagues around the continent I do not think I would have made it in the profession. Wherever I went I found colleagues who supported me and affirmed my work – RE weeks at Star Island, The Mountain, Ferry Beach, Leadership school with the Portland, OR chapter, Fall Conference everywhere, and my local LREDA buds. As RE-supportive as my congregation was, it was my LREDA colleagues who kept me professionally energized and supported me through difficult times.

“It became clear while serving as Treasurer that LREDA could never raise through dues the funds needed to provide all the services our members deserve. We were blessed with an endowment fund raised a decade earlier by our wise forebears but fundraising for it had stalled and more funding was needed. At the suggestion of Gabrielle Farrell and the blessing of the LREDA Board, we began a campaign to double the LREDA Endowment Fund and increase it in future years with legacy gifts planned by our members and friends.

As with all the different roles I have served for LREDA, locally and continentally, it has been a joy working with colleagues – too many to name, but all appreciated and loved – for the good of the profession. With a steep learning curve and help from the UUA Stewardship Department and, especially, Laurel Amabile, we launched and managed a successful major campaign. Rarely have I made such a difficult request and received such enthusiastic response.

A highlight of my career as a religious educator was my service on the LREDA Board as Treasurer from 2011 to 2014, continuing with the LREDA Endowment Committee through this June. I continuously felt that I could never do enough to give back as much as I received, and it was an honor to serve LREDA in any way needed. I hope that our work will leave a lasting impression on LREDA and religious education throughout Unitarian Universalism.”

Pat Ellenwood, Wellesley Hills, MA

During her career as a religious education professional, Pat Ellenwood has served the Mass Bay District, LREDA, and the UUA in a variety of ways. She joined the LREDA Board in 1997 as VP in charge of continental events. She was President from 1999-2002 during which time, the board among other initiatives, established the first Antiracism Task Force and the Professional Standards Committee which led over time to the current Religious Education Credentialing Committee. Pat collaborated with others in writing the requests for funding from the Congregation at Shelter Rock that ultimately resulted in the creation of the LREDA Grant Committee which awarded incentive grants to congregations to increase the compensation package for religious educators in 75 congregations from 1998-2007. She served on the first LREDA Endowment Committee established in 1999 and rejoined the work in 2012 to work on the Legacy Campaign.

In a testimonial for the Legacy Campaign, Pat wrote,

“The women and men who preceded us always had a vision of the future and those who would continue their work.  Now it is our turn to look to future generations of religious education professionals by creating a substantial endowment for our professional organization.  Many years ago, the phrase, ‘When pigs fly’ entered the vocabulary of the members of the LREDA Board.  I am convinced that participation by 100% of the membership of LREDA will provide the lift off needed to get those pigs in the air. “

Her essay, "Changing Lenses" appears in Essex Conversations.  In 2002 she received the Angus MacLean Award for Excellence in Religious Education Leadership.  In 2010, she concluded 30 years of service to the Unitarian Universalist Society in Wellesley Hills, MA. During her retirement she continued to lead Renaissance modules and a workshop, the Puzzle of Religious Leadership.

 Pat and her husband, Steve have two daughters, Mandy and Heather; a 12 year old granddaughter, Kira; and a 5 year old grandson, Omar.


Now that the active campaign has wrapped up, the ongoing work of growing our Endowment continues. It is important for you to stay aware of the importance of our Endowment and informed about the ways you can support it. This can be done through add-on donations with your membership renewals and event registrations, as well as by online donations, monthly sustaining gifts, gifts made in honor or memory of a colleague, and special offerings arranged with the congregations you serve. To arrange any of these contributing option, contact us: [email protected].


Legacy giving is especially important opportunity to remember as you progress through your professional journey. This involves planning ahead, which is a varying amount of time for each of us. Considering ways to support LREDA as part of your estate planning—such as by a simple bequest through a will, or naming LREDA as a beneficiary on your retirement fund, life insurance policy, or other investment. The UUA offers planning resources and an Umbrella Giving Program, which enables you to support LREDA, congregations, and other UU organizations at no costs to the organizations receiving your gifts.

Wake Now Our Vision Legacy Matching Challenge

One unique planned giving opportunity available to us between now next June 2019 is the Wake Now Our Vision collaborative UU campaign designed to promote and incentivize legacy giving to UU organizations. LREDA can receive a 10% matching bonus for all qualifying pledges made through the UUA Umbrella Giving Program. For more information, contact Laurel Amabile, Director of Development, [email protected] or Laura Randall, UUA Legacy Campaign Director, [email protected]

News from our Friends

Skinner House Books

Skinner House Books is thrilled to announce two new titles! In Faithful Practices: Everyday Ways to Feed Your Spirit, edited by Erik Walker Wikstrom, an eclectic mix of contributors share their reflections about spiritual practices in their everyday lives and provide models for those seeking a practice of their own. If you loved the Skinner House classic Everyday Spiritual Practice, edited by Scott W. Alexander, and are looking for another creative and inspiring book like it, we recommend Faithful Practices! In Upcycle Your Congregation: Creative Ideas for Transforming Faith Communities, edited by Sarah Lammert, engaging essays from Unitarian Universalist leaders in the field show creative ways to transform and “upcycle” the main ingredients of our congregations into something relevant, innovative, and new. Both of these exciting new titles are available to order at inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop.

Unitarian Universalist Musician Network

Only hours left to support the UUMN via Faithify!

Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, Side with Love

GA Public Witness 2018 is being led by Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism focused on deepening our engagement as a faith in #EndMoneyBail work and leaving lasting gifts to the Kansas City organizing community. Since there is not one time reserved on the grid for Public Witness, we want to make sure that folks are aware that there are three opportunities for engagement on site and two for off site folks! This year our prophetic ministry at GA will not include a demonstration or rally. Instead we will kick off our #EndMoneyBail work and materially support local Kansas City organizing. So instead of your marching shoes, please bring a gently used purse or bag and generously support the Wish List of items for the care package build.

On site:

  • Public Witness: “Anatomy of a Bailout” Panel Discussion Thursday June 21st 1-2:30 p.m. in Room 2105 (PDF). Get ready with this webinar!
  • Public Witness: Care Package Build Project For the duration of General Assembly or until we reach our goal in Hall D
  • Public Witness: People of Color & Indigenous Hands On Project at Uzazi Village Saturday June 23rd 2:00 p.m. Off-site. Registration required.
  • The best, most updated info is here: www.uua.org/ga/justice/witness

Off site:

  • Public Witness: “Anatomy of a Bailout” Panel Discussion will be livestreamed at BLUU’s facebook and the GA live stream page
  • Public Witness: Care Package Build Project – join in by buying items for the care packages at  http://bit.ly/UUAGAPublicWitnessWishList

Facebook events are here and here