21st Century Fund

The 21st Century Fund supplies grants which support innovative projects that serve Unitarian Universalist religious educators and the field of religious education. Projects funded include (but are not limited to) innovative programs, training opportunities, publications, electronic networks, and services for religious educators. The 21st Century Grant program is funded by the LREDA Endowment. Donations to the Endowment Fund are always welcome!

Recent Funded Projects 

Sacred Skills

Project Author: Linnea Nelson

Access Sacred Skills: learning and serving together for free resources to share with RE Teachers. Sacred Skills includes videos and presentations on special needs, classroom management, snippets of UU History in America, bringing spiritual practices into the classroom, preparing spiritually for class...and more. Check out the growing list of resources online Sacred Skills: Learning and serving together.

In Liminal Time

Project Authors: Dr. Michele Townsend Grove, Lily Rappaport and Deb Weiner
The Guild of Interim Religious Educators (GIRE) understands that religious educators are change-agents. It is our goal to support professionals and the congregations they serve in the essential work of lifelong religious education, which is an evolving, dynamic form of ministry. As professionals and the congregations continue to grapple with what it means to be a learning people, GIRE will provide resources and support. The website, reliminaltime.weebly.com is one way we can support religious educators, interims, and congregations. 

Thanks to a LREDA Twenty-First Century Fund 2017 grant, the Guild of Interim Religious Education developed the webpage, reliminaltime.weebly.com to serve congregations experiencing transition in religious education staff and program. The website is divided into the following sections:
• Introduction/Home Page
• Starting Point
• Interim Tools
• Transition Stories
• Who are we
• Contact Page

Spirited Homeschooling

Project Author: Teresa Honey Youngblood
Spirited Homeschooling: Home-, Church-, and Community-based Learning in the Liberal Religious Family
Teresa Honey Youngblood surveyed over 400 current and past Unitarian Universalist homeschoolers to create this free resource. Spirited Homeschooling “is a book about making the values of liberal religion a dominant feature in the education of children in families who intend to raise shining, whole, justice-seeking, open-hearted, many-gifted, loving, faithful people in an age when those qualities are daily challenged from the White House to the lunch table to the cheer squad to the Minecraft chat bar. Spirited Homeschooling is part Family Ministry and Part Religious Education, and somehow in that synthesis, a thing that is new, too.” The book provides a foundational understanding of the philosophy, theory, and methods of this approach, as well as the author’s personal reflections as a schoolteacher, religious educator, and homeschooling parent. Additionally, the author has included stories and examples in the words of her respondents showing what homeschooling looks like in Unitarian Universalist families, featuring the hows and whys of Spirited Homeschooling.

Murray Grove Coming of Age Enrichment Retreat: Personal Credo Statement 

Project Authors: Tracy Breneman and Meagan Henry
The Coming of Age Enrichment Program is designed to enhance and deepen the experiences of participants in Unitarian Universalist Coming of Age classes. This is a credo exploration and writing workshop with an overarching goal to help our young people grow and develop in their Unitarian Universalist faith. Murray Grove is the pioneer of the curriculum, which is available for use by clusters of congregations throughout Unitarian Universalist districts and regions. There are specifically Universalist elements in the retreat, drawing upon the rich heritage of Murray Grove, its founding and the history of Universalism. This retreat is designed for youth in seventh through ninth grades with the understanding that each congregation may have youth who are a bit younger or older.

Collaborative Leadership Audio Program

Project Author: Lily Rappaport
The Collaborative Leadership Audio Program was recorded at the Star Island Lifespan Religious Education Week 2015. The program consists of nine recorded sessions. In this series, we explore themes related to our changing world, the changing nature of church, the critical role of great collaborative teams in navigating these changes, and religious education as a growth strategy. This program features talks and discussions with Carey McDonald, Patricia Infante, Starr Austin, Andrea Lerner, Patricia Hart, Cathy Seggel, and Pat Humphries & Sandy O. of Emma's Revolution, plus a wrap up conversation with Carey McDonald and Peter Bowden.

Divign Thinking

Project Author: Anne Principe
The Divign Thinking project was launched with a 15-hour, module style workshop and continues with ongoing outreach via the Divign Thinking website. The goal of this project is to develop the creative and critical meaning making skills of community and spiritual leaders, drawing inspiration from current business models, including "design thinking". The philosophy and intent of this project is to empower and encourage the development of identity as a spiritual leader. The origins of this body of work come from the deep shared experience of being a Unitarian Universalist religious educator. The LREDA 21st Century Fund awarded a grant for the Divign for a 2nd phase of development in February 2016. Watch the website for more resources. 

Leadership Development Immersion Program

Project Authors:  Jennifer McAdoo & Anne Principe
This program provided an opportunity for religious professionals to participate in an immersion learning experience directly. The goal of the program is to increase the skill and knowledge and ability for religious professionals to create, advise, and lead future Immersion learning experiences. The project resulted in a draft renaissance module (below) which is being considered for final development of a 15-hour module. Draft Module Side Street Programs for the Immersion Program

Kindleheart Chant Music

Project Author: Sharon Docherty Religious Education Music Coordinator, Foothills Unitarian Church Fort Collins, Colorado
Kindle Heart Music is a resource for chant songs designed to be shared with all who embrace the vision of justice, equity and compassion for all people. Simple songs created in this way can enhance community singing, worship circles, children’s celebrations, ceremonies, multigenerational gatherings and daily meditations. Please use and share these chant songs in a way that honors and respects the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Designed to be used by religious professionals and lay leaders in a congregational setting or by families at home. Instructional Videos and suggestions for using the songs in worship are provided. You can access the Kindleheart Music Blog at http://kindleheartmusic.com/

Create Meaning

Project Author:  Rev. Kelly Dignan
Create Meaning
is also a program platform that works closely with congregations, and religious educators in particular, to create in-person offerings in the community that support the mission and ministry of the congregation. To utilize the Create Meaning platform to offer courses and events through Create Meaning, please contact the Create Meaning center near you, or the Create Meaning director, Amy Rowland at [email protected]. View or download the Create Meaning Implementation Guide

Spirit Jam

Project Author – Katie Covey – Director of Religious Education South Boulder Valley UU Fellowship
This project will create a model for a Lifespan Religious Education Program incorporating Meditation, Nature, Music, Bodywork, and Invention/Exploration for spiritual practice and maturation, using paid Teaching Associates. Spirit Jam will be a new paradigm for Religious Education utilizing paid teachers which will provide a true faith forming religious education experience, without relying on overburdened, undertrained parent, often female, volunteers. You can access information about his new model as it unfolds here! 

Sexuality Film and Discussion Guide

Project Author:  Rev. Samaya Oakley
This project provided funding for the development of a video and discussion guide developed to explore a new paradigm of conceptualizing sexuality in UU congregations. The goal is to provide an accessible, high quality, and contemporary primer on issues related to sexuality using this paradigm. Philosophy is based in the idea that engaging with sexuality holistically rather than piecemeal is the most effective way at education, and that video materials are a highly engaging and useful medium for said edification. It increases accessibility of sexuality education for congregations. It will increase the channels for engaging sexuality, broader than only OWL classes and the aging Welcoming Congregation program. It provides an online platform for discussion and sharing of resources related to celebrating sexuality in our congregations. View and download the Sexuality as a Constellation Leaders Resources and Sexuality as a Constellation PowerPoint Presentation.

Angus MacLean RE Archives Work Session

Project Author: Betty Jo Middleton
Three to five participants will gather in the Archives to work on organization and classification of materials and receive and accession new materials donated to the Archives. The work session will take place over three days in autumn, 2014, exact dates to be determined. Religious educators experienced in curriculum development will create lesson plans based on materials in the Archives. MacLean Religious Education Collection is hosted at Meadville Lombard.

Special Needs Workshop Guide -- for use in congregations

Project Author: Judith Stein Farell
More information about this project coming soon.
Through Role play, discussion, experimental experiences and reflection participants will:
• Define disability in your own congregation and in the wider world.
• Generate a possible understanding of what it might be like to be a person living with a disability or to be the care giver or a significant other of a person with a disability.
• Begin a conversation and list what individual congregation members may need in accommodations and support in our classrooms and sanctuaries and what is feasible and realistic to supply.

Grant applications are accepted electronically. The deadline for applications is December 31st of each year.