I am committed to the philosophy of a life span religious education ministry for every congregation I serve. I have had the privilege to work with several very skilled and dedicated Directors of Lifespan Religious Education to develop a program that meets the needs of a growing church. As a team we have paid special attention to creating a multi-generational community of celebration and learning taking care to honor the wisdom of elders as we meet the needs of our many young families. Such annual rituals as “secret pals”, OWL classes and a Coming of Age program have helped to create a vibrant learning community for all ages. In addition to including children in every worship service of the church, we now plan for a multigenerational worship once a month.
We practice curriculum mapping and I am committed to be an adviser to the volunteers and staff who do this vital planning work. I believe in actively meeting new families and when invited being part of training for our teachers and religious education staff. In my previous church, this same philosophy resulted in tripling of the RE program in six years.
I have been especially active in adult spiritual enrichment. Throughout my ministry I have identified, recruited and worked with members of the congregation in conjunction with the DRE and the leadership to design a diverse and comprehensive program for adult members. I believe that adult learning is often an untapped ministry which a Unitarian Universalist congregation is poised to offer not only its members but the wider community. The programs I have helped to design and manage cover classes in social justice, spiritual growth, philosophy, history of religions and ethics. My “preacher’s workshop” has been very successful in identifying and training worship associates.
For the last year my congregation has been developing a new kind of educational outreach aimed at attracting the “spiritual but not religious”. Our Create Meaning Center is part of a larger Western regional effort to foster spiritual understanding and UU values to our larger community. Along with our newly hired Director of Congregational Advancement, I have developed a comprehensive curriculum that covers topic as diverse as Kirtan Dancing to courses on philosophy and end of life planning. I have personally designed and taught dozens of these courses. More information may be found at http://www.createmeaning.org
Teaching is a fundamental part of my ministry. However, my role as a religious educator is to support the ongoing vision and mission of the congregation. I am, above all, a “team player” realizing that it takes many hands and minds to envision, plan for and execute a comprehensive faith development program. I would respect the direction and primacy of the religious education professional and staff in this regard.
I am also a “teaching pastor” through Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. As such, I (along with my current congregation) train the next generation of ministers as interns and student ministers. In this role, I am not only able to further the growth of Unitarian Universalsim but bring innovative thinking and worship to the congregations these interns serve. I am also an adjunct faculty member of Meadville Lombard teaching Congregational Polity. http://www.meadville.edu/
I serve on the Western Regional Sub-Committee on Candidacy for the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the UUA.
My teaching has extended beyond the churches I serve and I welcome that opportunity. I have been an instructor at the Frederick Community College in their “Learning In Retirement Program”. In my current congregation I have presented programs as part of UCLA’s “Omnilore Learning Program”. In my inter-faith work, I have served on the editorial board and have been a regular presenter of the “Dawn Unity Series”; quarterly presentations and conversations about vital religious issues with my inter-faith colleagues in our area. This highly successful program is broadcast on local cable channels across the South Bay region of Los Angeles. As a growth consultant I have worked with congregations in leading vision, mission and long-range planning workshops. And as a community leader I continue to educate civic and governmental bodies on civil rights issues and inter-faith understanding.
My involvement in youth programming has been an important part of my ministry. During my tenure I helped to recruit and train the youth advisors. They went on to develop a program that tripled the size of the youth group in several short years. I have led youth on heritage trips to Boston and on vision retreats in the wild. In my current congregation, I am involved in youth program development as well as co-leading worship with our youth group. Our coming – of – age program is highly regarded and I am honored to be a part of it every year.