Barb’s Bantering

(An occasional column from our Interim Religious Education Consultant, Mr. Barb Greve)Mr. Barb Greve

I originally hail from Massachusetts, where I am a member of the First Parish in Framingham, though I have worked with congregations across the USA, most recently in CA, CT, MA and GA. I have been a Unitarian Universalist throughout my life and I am a transgender guy.

As a transgender guy in a world that tells me on a moment-to-moment basis that my life is without value, I am proud to state that it has been the values and self-worth being raised Unitarian Universalist instilled in me that have not only sustained me but also inspired me and compelled me to help bring about a better world. I believe that by building strong lifespan religious education programs we can provide Unitarian Universalists with this same sustenance and offer opportunities where all our lives will flourish.

I believe Religious Education is a core value of Unitarian Universalism. Through religious education we learn tools for thea/ological reflection that help us to make sense of the world around us. We have opportunities to explore our own and others’ religious beliefs and values; and encourage one another’s spiritual growth. My mother is a religious educator, and because of this I learned from an early age that religious education does not only happen on Sunday mornings (nor is it just for the children). Religious education happens throughout the week and regardless of our age. It is my hope that we will embrace moments of spontaneous religious education with as much wonder and gratitude as we do the moments of planned learning/teaching.

You may be wondering, “What exactly is Interim Religious Education ministry?” Interim Religious Education ministry guides a congregation through the transitional period from one religious education professional to the next. In short, interim work is a thorough review of your religious education program, from mission/vision to implementation, including policies, processes and paperwork. For the duration of our consultaton we will examine how it is that we do the work of offering stellar religious education programs at UUS:E. We will dream about the future and ways we might bring that future into being. We will listen to the requests of people here in the congregation and to advice from other congregations and our district.

Transition in the leadership of a religious education program is a wonderful time to distinguish between the parts of the program that are most deeply valued and the parts that are repeated because that is what the congregation “has always done.” Our time together will provide you with the opportunity to experiment with new ways of leading the program without unnecessarily committing to these ways for the long term.

Interim religious education ministry offers you the opportunity to hold a mirror up to who you are and how you do the work of delivering religious education. At its best this time allows for reflecting on “what, how, why, how better, what’s missing?.”

Together we will challenge ourselves to improve upon the healthy parts of the program and change the unhealthy parts. We will review your history and your present, all in preparation for the future. And when it is all said and done, you will be prepared to move into that future with grace and confidence.


Mr. Barb Greve
Interim Religious Education Consultant