professional days

LREDA Professional Day:  Accessibility is Love 

[a promotional graphic for the Liberal Religious Educators’ Association Professional Day 2024; an illustration of a person in a wheelchair with arms and one leg raised as though they are in motion, a red heart, and brown-skinned hand making the American Sign Language sign for “I Love You” are on a yellow background. Black text reads Tuesday, June 18, 12 pm ET/9 am PT, Accessibility is Love, with Rev. Julian Jamaica Soto]

Liberal Religious Educators’ Association Professional Day 2024 proudly proclaimed that Accessibility is Love. This online gathering offered us a chance to engage with some of the heart of Disability Theology, to share questions and expertise, and to spend some time focused on the areas of accessibility that matter to us most. We included some worship time, nice big breaks, and  a chance to show off our amazing spaces, for an enriching professional development experience for new and seasoned religious professionals alike.

Resources and Recordings will be shared with registrants soon!

Professional Days 2023: 

Tues June 20th - Wed June 21st

After Inclusion with Dr. Xiomara Verenice Cervantes-Gómez

Tuesday June 20th Program: Combined UUMA & LREDA Presentation

A combined UUMA / LREDA presentation: After Inclusion with Dr. Xiomara Verenice Cervantes-Gómez 

If at one time Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “famine of the church” aided in describing the loss of worship for not activating and feeding the souls of our ministry, it is indeed a glutton of inclusion that paints our historical present. For aliveness is no longer the norm to people of color and our transgender communities, inclusion and reconciliation are but an extravagant liturgical waste when souls are not afforded a right to be fed in the first place. In other words, why do we prepare a table for many when we only few arrive? As collective liberation brings together our diversity of humanness, it is also wasteful in the face of times in which certain bodies become less than human, and rather, expendable resources. Dr. Cervantes-Gómez speaks to an apophatic and process theology of the not-fully-human that demands of the church to minister in a time after we have accepted the divine brief to be inclusive. After Inclusion is a theological praxis of being with and alongside the Other outside of the church in a non-inclusive world. This talk meditates on how to rethink what collective liberation might look like for ministry from beyond the unexpected borders of the church.

This event was live streamed and recorded for our online registrants and for those unable to attend the Tuesday event in person. 

Wednesday June 21st Program:  LREDA only event

Dr. Xiomara Cervantes-Gomez presented to LREDA members on Wednesday. Engaging in dialogue with religious educators to expand on what it means to take a holistic approach to what community care looks like. See below for more information on Dr. Xiomara Cervantes-Gomez. 

A recording of this event is in the member-only LREDA Resources Portal

Our Keynote Speaker: Dr. Xiomara Verenice Cervantes-Gómez

Dr. Xiomara Verenice Cervantes-Gómez (she/her) is a queer and trans Latina theologian who ministers and writes at the interstices of body, race, and community. She is currently Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds faculty affiliations across disciplines including Religion and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. 

Dr. Cervantes-Gómez’s research centralizes subjects of embodiment, sexuality, and performance in contemporary literary, theological, visual cultures of color. Her first book, Bottoms Up: Queer Latinx Exposure (forthcoming, NYU Press) examines performance as a relational encounter with sexuality and death through a collective embodied aesthetic practice gesturing toward larger stakes of ideas about the nation-state, state violence, and sexual politics in contemporary Hemispheric Black and Latinx cultural production. 

Dr. Cervantes-Gómez earned her Ph.D. at the University of Southern California and M.T.S. in Religions of the Americas and Theology at Harvard Divinity School. Her work has been published in Religious Dispatches, Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Men and Masculinities, Chasquí: Revista de literatura latinoamericana, ASAP/Journal, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Journal of Visual Culture, and Routledge Handbook for Material Religion. 

Her research is complemented by over 15 years of service to religious advocacy and education, including a former board member to the Reconciling Ministries Network, alumna of Soulforce, consultant to Christian colleges and universities, her long-term advocate ministry to “ex-gay” survivors, and collaborative relationship with the Postcolonial Theology Network.

Find out more at

Professional Days 2022

Collaborative Leadership for Collective Liberation


with Aisha Hauser and Rev. Deanna Vandiver

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Professional Day either in Portland or online. Thanks to Aisha and Deanna for such an amazing and inspiring presentation and thanks to Kirsten Hunter for facilitating our online program.

Please share the video and handouts below with friends, and colleagues.

Unitarian Universalism is a faith that does not promise heaven or hell, only that revelation is ever unfolding. What if our systems of leadership reflected this theology? At our best we work together in community to make the world a more just and loving place. This ideal does not always manifest itself in our institutional spaces because of the inherited hierarchical and supremacist structures in which we operate.

What experiences of beloved community will be possible when we are willing to change these oppressive paradigms?

  • It is possible to affirm each person’s roles in our communities while appreciating each other’s gifts and talents.
  • It is necessary to transform oppressive power structures on the journey towards collective liberation.

Thank you, Aisha Hauser and Deanna Vandiver

Professional Days 2021

Reality & Resilience:  Responding to Ongoing Crisis

The 2021 Board with our 2021 Professional Day Contributors

Annual Meeting

LREDA members approved the 2021-2022 budget and voted for the new slate

Check out this Google Slides deck for more information on the slate.

Email us here if you have any questions about the budget or here for any other questions.

Aisha's first reading came from this book.

Past Professional Days

Professional Days 2020, Threading the Needles, was held on June 22 - 23, 2020.  Learning to center compassion, grace, and liberation is not an easy task for religious professionals in this polarized climate.  As Unitarian Universalists, we have an opportunity to create a container to learn how to center liberation, while affirming that we will make mistakes on the journey.  How do we de-center whiteness, while not misappropriating?  How do we acknowledge power differentials and social locations of each other, while holding each other with compassion?  

Professional Days 2019 & before