Professional Religious Education Leadership
This page contains information for congregations and religious education professionals about the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Religious Education (RE) Credentialing Program, professional development for religious educators, and religious educator transitions.
Religious Education Credentialing
The Religious Education Credentialing Program is a three-level program for religious education professionals that nurtures the call to religious education as a profession, provides a comprehensive path for professional development, and articulates and upholds professional standards and guidelines in religious education leadership. This program is open to current religious educators - people who already hold religious education staff positions in Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations and organizations.
If you are interested in preparing for a career in UU religious education, contact Jan Gartner, recredentialing [at] uua [dot] org. The Religious Education Credentialing Program Resource List and other program materials can be used as guides to your preparation.
Benefits to the Congregation
- Stronger, more vital religious education programs and multigenerational ministries as the religious educator integrates learning into programming
- A religious educator with demonstrated knowledge and skill in the many areas of religious education leadership, such as program administration; Unitarian Universalist history; religious education philosophy; anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism; and right relations and professional ethics
- Assurance that the religious educator has met professional development standards and is held accountable to professional ethics guidelines by the UUA
- The potential for enhanced collegial relationships among staff members as the religious educator seeks to deepen and broaden professional and program development,
- A religious educator with the professional confidence that comes from knowing that s/he has been evaluated and recognized by the UUA as a professional religious educator, and
Recognition by the UUA as a congregation that supports and values professional excellence.
- The RE Credentialing Program Plan (PDF, 39 pages) summarizes the three levels of credentialing, and outlines application procedures and completion requirements.
- Forms and Resources help applicants and participants move through the credentialing process.
- Candidates are supported through the credentialing program by mentors. The Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) is responsible for mentor training and mentor matching.
Professional Development for Religious Educators
Just as we support members of our congregation in their spiritual growth and leadership capacity, it is important to encourage our staff in their professional growth and development. Enrichment opportunities abound, both within and beyond the UUA.
- The UUA's Professional Learning Units for Staff (PLUS) Program is a series of units serving as a free, self-paced orientation for new professional staff in Unitarian Universalist congregations. Through the PLUS Program, we strive to nurture new staff into well-equipped, spirit-filled professionals who serve and lead in right relationship with their colleagues and their congregation. Each PLUS unit is designed to be completed in no more than an hour.
- The webinar Give Yourself the Gift of Professional Development covers what professional development means, why it is essential, the many options available, and how to overcome obstacles of limited time and money.
- The UUA’s Renaissance Program is a fundamental component of the Religious Education Credentialing Program. Renaissance Modules are open to anyone interested in religious education leadership, including ministers, religious education teachers, and lay leaders.
- Professional Development opportunities are available through seminaries, retreat and conference centers, and events sponsored by the UUA and by UU professional organizations.
- Scholarship and Grants are available to assist religious education professionals in continuing their education and piloting innovations.
Religious Educator Transitions
The transition period surrounding the departure of a religious educator is a critical time in the life of a congregation. The resources below offer guidance to congregations and professionals about religious educator transitions and settlement.
- Director of Religious Education (DRE) Search Process
- Creating a DRE Job Description Advertisement
- Interim Religious Educators
- Public Relations Resources
Greetings! I’m Jan Gartner, Professional Development Specialist at the Unitarian Universalist Association. I strive to help sustain robust, transformative faith communities by ensuring that our professional religious educators and musicians are well-equipped and theologically grounded.
I am pleased to provide advice and resources to congregations and professionals on matters relating to professional religious education leadership. Please contact me if I can be of help.
Professional Development Specialist
recredentialing [at] uua [dot] org