In December 2004, three days after Christmas, I had a son. And, almost two years later, I stepped foot through the doors of Heritage for the first time. This little being in my life was what brought me in initially because I did not want to be the only one in charge of his spiritual upbringing.
My husband, Monte, is a 5th-generation UU, and would probably not have considered any church for our family beyond a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I, on the other hand, was raised in the United Church of Christ, so I was open to the possibility of other denominations. But a day spent searching the internet and Cincinnati churches left me firmly pointed in the direction of Unitarian Universalism, due mainly to the religious education program. I know that I’m not alone on this point; religious education is the reason many visitors come to our congregations for the first time.
Although we intended to try out all of the Cincinnati UU congregations, we never got further than our first visit to Heritage. We found our home here, and became members and very active lay volunteers, with both of us chairing or serving on multiple committees. Among these, I was a member of the RE Committee and still have, and use, the chalice Jenni Rytel made for me when I joined.
We moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, in 2009 and began attending the UU congregation there. A year after we moved, the Director of Religious Education retired and I decided to apply, mostly out of a desire to see my son receive the religious foundation that brought me to Unitarian Universalism in the first place. Ten years later, I have become a Director of a Lifespan program, a credentialed religious educator, a UU curricula author, and a trainer for the UUA. I am very excited and happy to bring my experience back to Heritage to help prepare for your next settled religious educator. My interim period will be a time to try new ideas in RE and see what fits best with HUUC.
I am looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and forming new relationships, and believe that a bridge can be forged between my two congregations that will last longer than my tenure at HUUC. And I really want to hear from you. What is working in RE and what could be improved? What have you wanted to see added? How important is RE to Heritage’s future? What are you willing to do to see RE succeed here? Those answers will help me to prepare the foundation of a program so that your new settled religious educator can hit the ground running this summer. I hope you’ll be a part of the conversation!