Last month I had the privilege of attending the Liberal Religious Educators (LREDA) fall conference in Decatur, GA. This four-day conference is attended by Religious Educators from all over the country, and is an opportunity to learn best practices from leaders in the field. I spent four glorious days immersed in workshops covering staff relations, self-care, curricula, worship, and pastoral care with families. I met colleagues who, like me, are new to their positions, and others who have been Religious Education professionals for 25 years or more. Together we studied, learned, exchanged stories, and shared experiences. Together we also worshipped, sang, played, and connected. The conference nurtured both my mind and my soul, and I returned home with my head and my heart overflowing with ideas to bring back to UUS:E.
As the year unfolds, I hope to put many of these ideas into practice. In the meantime, here is a “Top Ten List” to pique your curiosity.
The Top Ten Things I Learned at the LREDA Fall Conference:
- In our words and our deeds, we all make music. We must be mindful of the music we are making, and always strive to create both beautiful harmonies and melodies.
- The Director of Religious Education is not the Lone Ranger! The DRE needs the support and collaboration of the entire congregation to make the RE program thrive.
- The COMMUNITY is the curriculum!
- The CONGREGATION is the curriculum!
- Mentors are important – for a DRE, and for everyone. Seek to mentor and to be mentored.
- Excellence is more than competence. It involves taking risks. Dare boldly and live bravely.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate!
- Hospitality is never a wasted effort.
- The most sacred work of a congregation is raising Unitarian Universalists.
- An investment in Religious Education is an investment in the future of our congregation, and ultimately in the future of Unitarian Universalism.
I would love to talk with anyone who might be interested in learning more about my experience at the LREDA conference.