On October 20 I boarded a plane for San Diego, CA to attend the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Fall Conference – the meeting of Unitarian Universalist professional religious educators. Despite the lovely grounds of the resort the conference was held at, we were closed inside a windowless ballroom for four intense days of workshops and programs focusing on the really HUGE topics that confront us in life: money, sex, death, and race.
I suppose it is not a surprise, then, to find that I was filled with information and ideas and also a bit overwhelmed by some of our discussions: how does money affect our view of our own value? How do we work to achieve true equity in our society between and among races, knowing that to do so means those of us who live in privilege will need to sacrifice so that others can be treated more fairly? How, in a changing culture, can we make sure that our own views on human sexuality and gender are aligned with our Unitarian Universalist values? How do we help our children, youth, and families to talk about death and dying in ways that are loving and unafraid?
I’ll say that these few questions were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg: so much was shared, and learned, that it would take me days to discuss it. Our denomination is also producing some terrific new religious education resources which will be published in the next few months; our religious education colleagues across the continent are using these resources in bold and exciting new ways – and all of this can benefit Follen Church.
When you support your religious professionals’ participation in continuing education programs like the LREDA Conference or the ministers’ retreat that Claire and Susanne will attend this week, you are making an investment in the ongoing health and wellbeing of this church. What we learn and discuss and explore comes back to you and contributes to the vitality of this congregation.
So thank you for affirming this opportunity to learn and grow and connect with colleagues. I appreciate it, and your faith in the steps that are needed to build a dynamic and strong religious education program here at Follen!