It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your Interim Director of Religious Education these past six months. I will be leaving on June 30. I am looking forward to some time off before starting a ministerial internship in the fall.
The congregation will be looking for another interim DRE for the 2015-16 church year to continue the work of the interim period.
This work includes coming to terms with the congregation’s history, discovering your unique RE history, revitalizing your relationship with the denomination, and committing to new RE leadership and a vibrant future for religious education at First Unitarian.
You have made a good start on exploring these areas during the Interim RE Startup in March with Unitarian Universalist Association Congregational Consultant Rev. David Pyle as well as the Board of Trustees listening sessions on Religious Education for All Ages and the Budget.
The RE Committee for Children and Youth, the Adult RE Committee, Rev. David Carl Olson and those working on the Interim RE Transition have also been involved in thoughtfully discussing a vibrant Religious Education program for all ages at First Unitarian. I hope you continue and deepen that discussion this church year.
Moving forward, Michael Brown has volunteered to chair the RE Committee for Children and Youth and is awaiting confirmation by the Board of Trustees. As you may know, Michael is entering his final year at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, preparing to enter Unitarian Universalist ministry in late 2016. Active at First Unitarian since moving to Baltimore in November 2013, he is serving as the Summer Minister for Worship Arts and has been working with the First Unitarianâ€™s Youth Group since September 2014.
Outgoing chair Melissa Walker, is staying on RECCY to assist with the RE transition along with Board member and former RE Chair Karla Peterson and Board member Laura Laing, the current the chair of the Adult RE Committee.
Dorothy Critcher has stepped up to chair the Interim RE Transition Team, which among other things, will be working on finding your next interim DRE and assisting with the transition to the new two hour RE Hour/Worship Hour format. This committee will also be working with the boardâ€™s Transition Team in looking at staffing options for the 2016 -17 year.
When I took the job at First Unitarian, I also hoped to learn about more social justice work from a congregation with a longstanding commitment to making a difference in its community and a minister with history of and dedication to community organizing.
The experience has been far deeper, richer and transformative than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for welcoming me into your congregation and letting me walk with you for part of your journey.
Best practices for religious leaders leaving a congregations call for me to leave space for the next religious educator by maintaining a respectful absence from First Unitarian for the 2015-16 church year.
This means I will not be attending First Unitarian services or events or responding to e-mails or Facebook friend requests. However, if our paths happen to cross, I will happily to greet you but cannot engage in any church-related conversations.
In the meantime, know that you remain in my heart and I wish you many blessings in the coming year.
In Faith and Fellowship,