Liberal Religious Educators Association

Annual Report 2016-2017


Highlights of our year

The Board began our 2016-17 year by updating our Code of Professional Practices, and closed with an update to what used to be called Guidelines for Professional Religious Educators and is now Best Practices for Employment of Religious Education Professionals. We encourage all members to familiarize themselves with our Code: engage with it, discuss it, and live into it. The latter guide is a useful resource for employers and employees alike. We would love to hear feedback about either document, via [email protected].

In San Diego we offered our Fall Conference “Money, Death, Race and Sex: Bringing the Spiritual Dimension to Tough Topics,” #LREDA16 #LREDAthrive. Many thanks to our Fall Conference Planning Team and their UUA partners for an excellent program!

The Board has heard your feedback about Fall Con costs. Along with our Conference Planner Bea Ann Phillips we are working on finding locations with the right balance of service (ease of transportation, adequate meeting spaces, nearby meal choices), and value. Your feedback informed the selection of a Denver hotel that included breakfast and an evening snack, and allowed members to choose more off-site meals that better meet their needs and budgets.

Through your donations, LREDA's 21st Century Fund supported three projects: “A Spirited Education; Home, Church and Community-Based Learning”; “In Liminal Time; Exploring Interim Religious Education in Unitarian Universalist Congregations"; and Phase III of Divign Thinking; Spiritual Leadership Development. Do you have an interesting project you need to fund? The deadline for application is December 31; to learn how to apply, click here.

One of the overarching themes of 2016-17 for the Board and some of our committees was self-assessment. Board members shared many of our identities as a way of getting to know who's in the room and, more importantly, which voices are missing. At every Board meeting we have worked to keep anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism in our words and deeds.

The Diversity and Inclusion Team (DIT) and the Board reviewed and updated the DIT's charge, which will further LREDA’s commitment to justice and equity.

The Nominating Committee has chosen to undergo a year of listening, reflection and discernment with the LREDA membership, affiliated groups, and stakeholders about their work, process and practices. To this end, the Nominating Committee has added two acting committee members for 2017-2018.

The LREDA Endowment Committee and Director of Development Laurel Amabile closed the Chapter Matching Challenge at Fall Conference in 2016. We surpassed the $35,000 matching challenge goal, and enabled 13 chapters to earn incentive bonuses totaling $7,200. The three-year Endowment Campaign culminated with over $500,000 in cash gifts, pledges, and planned gift intentions raised through the campaign—an outcome worthy of celebration!

Your LREDA Board meets in person each spring to plan for the coming year. In April we did some valuable work on our vision. We moved from a somewhat inward focus (serving our members) to an outward sense of ministry - serving Unitarian Universalism through faith development. The wordle below showcases some of the language we used during our time together.

Also in April, two of our members were awarded Credentialed Religious Educator - Master Level, and eight were awarded Credentialed Religious Educator - Credentialed Level. Congratulations!  Learn about the credentialing program and see a list of all credentialed religious educators here. We thank our members who have trained as mentors: they supported about 50 religious educators in the credentialing program last year!

In June we hosted our annual Professional Day, “Resist & Rejoice: Faith Formation in a Time of Radical Awakening,” led by Rev. Deanna Vandiver and members of the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal in New Orleans. We were thrilled to present Dr. Robin DiAngelo as Sophia Lyon Fahs Lecturer (along with two workshops) - a huge draw for many Unitarian Universalists beyond religious educators at General Assembly.

And finally we were proud to unveil the Staff Team Self-Assessment Tool, created by the Excellence in Shared Ministry Implementation Task Force with members of the UU Ministers Association, the UU Musicians Network, and UUA staff. May your staff teams dive into this work with a sense of collegiality, support, and grace.

Thank you to all our members for a vibrant, engaged, thoughtful, progressive, and deeply faithful year.

Growing Edges

Aware that strong Chapters are key to everything we do, the Board is working on ways to grow and support Chapters that need some help to bloom, while continuing our support of those that are thriving.

We are aware of a need for Good Officers in under-served areas, of Good Officers of colour, and of additional training for all as new issues come to light.

We applaud how so many of you responded enthusiastically to the call for White Supremacy Teach-Ins, and we're exploring how to continue supporting you in this important work as we move forward.

And we sense that it's time to review our membership dues as the work, voice, and reach of this organization continue to grow yet dues have remained the same.

Looking Ahead

As we move into 2017-18 with a new LREDA President, the Board is studying Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age, by Juana Bordas. We're exploring new ways of doing and being - as a Board, in our portfolios and LREDA's committees, as a profession, and as a faith.

We look forward to Building Brave Space together in Denver this weekend, and to hosting not one, but three Multicultural Renaissance Modules following Fall Con. Some of what we'll be doing at Fall Con is different. For example, there is no business meeting, but rather an interactive Member meeting. We will have a discussion about what is real for you in your work, your clusters and chapters, and in our faith.

The LREDA Endowment Committee is committed to increasing the funding of the endowment and engaging all our members as both annual contributors and legacy donors. We are pleased to have added new members to the LREDA Endowment Committee and to promote involvement of our members in the Wake Now Our Vision legacy matching gifts program over the next two years.

And finally, the LREDA Board looks forward to meeting with Board members of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) prior to General Assembly in June 2018, in Kansas City, MO.

May we be transformed by shared ministry in faith development, and may we bring love, equity, and justice into the world.


Notes from our friends

Meet the RRT! (Resource Revision Team)
The RE Credentialing Resource list is getting a makeover!  Three Credentialed religious educators, Leia Durland-Jones, Linnea Nelson and Sheri Phillabaum, have embarked on this marvelous adventure and hope to have a draft of the revised Resource List in time for the April 2018 RE Credentialing Committee meeting.  The RRT is still in the preliminary stages of deciding on how they will approach their work, but one thing we know is that they would love to hear from you with recommendations on what should be included on the Resource List.  Here’s a link to an online form:

If you have any questions about the revision, you can reach the RRT at [email protected]. (For questions about the current Resource List, please contact me directly at [email protected]).

November News from the Office of Church Staff Finances
From Jan Gartner, Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager

The Office of Church Staff Finances Team hopes that your congregation completed our Benefits Tune-up Workbook in October. (If it didn’t happen, of course it’s not too late.)

Please remember – and remind your coworkers – that November is Open Enrollment month for the UUA Health and Dental plans.

Finally, note that we plan to post the 2018-2019 Salary Recommendations and Geo Index Listing by the end of November. Stay tuned for more information.

Feel free to contact me with your compensation and staffing questions: [email protected].

Skinner House Books is thrilled to announce that Testimony: The Transformative Power of Unitarian Universalism, edited by Meg Riley is now available to order! Testimony is a dynamic collection of personal stories from people whose lives have been dramatically changed by Unitarian Universalism. Some have returned from the brink of despair, others have found renewed purpose and discovered the saving power of community. Together these vignettes paint a portrait of the real, felt impact of Unitarian Universalism. Readers can find a new appreciation for the ways Unitarian Universalism makes a tangible difference in the lives of real people who are struggling.

And Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, a 2017–2018 UUA Common Read, is newly available as an ebook in the Amazon Kindle store and on Google play. There is a short delay in publishing the discussion guides. Both will be available for download from this page by the end of October. If your discussion is scheduled before that time, contact [email protected]