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Collected by the Essex Conversations Coordinating Committee
religious educators have become isolated from parish ministers, theologians, and
scholars of religion. A funny thing: these groups all share a common concern for
the religious growth and learning of individuals in our congregations. Why don't
we religious educators engage in more conversations with parish ministers,
theologians, and others? Think of Sophia Fahs and her groundbreaking work in
curriculum development from 1938 to about 1960. As she developed curricula, Fahs
engaged in conersations with theologians, biblical scholars, educational
psychologists, religious educators, parish ministers and others."
—Daniel Harper, from The Essex Conversations
As Unitarian Universalists enter the 21st century, what is central to our evolving
faith? What are our goals for lifespan religious education? What are the vital
components of our curricula? Collected here are frank, incisive and diverse
responses to these central and driving questions, from 31 religious education
professionals who participated in the Essex Conversations in Essex, MA, in April
1999 and April 2000. Useful as a guide for congregations to explore and
articulate the mission and faith of their membership, and as a tool for
religious education programming.
movement thrives without a vibrant, ever-renewed commitment to religious education. When I was President of the UUA, Stonehouse Conversations was
still being talked about more than a decade after they had taken place. Essex
Conversations, too, is destined not only to be remembered but to shape the
nature of our religious education for a generation or more to come."
—William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA.
"Taken seriously, studied and acted on, Essex Conversations will
lay the foundation for excellence in religious education for all ages."
—William R. Murry, President and Academic Dean, Meadville Lombard Theological
participant in the Stonehouse Conversations more than a generation ago, I
appreciate this continuation, update and renewal of that dialogue and earlier
book. This book is a provocation to individual reflection and group
—Earl Holt, Minister, King's Chapel, Boston, MA
"These essays articulate the promises and the challenges we face together
in nurturing spiritual and intellectual growth for children, youth and adults. I
found this exciting reading, both as a director of religious education and as a
—Millie Rochester, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, OR
"In reading Essex Conversations I am struck by a common theme of need for
community, an aspect often overlooked in this electronic age."
Skwire, Minister of Religious Education, West Shore Unitarian Universalist
Church, Cleveland, OH
For more information contact skinnerhouse @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.
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Publication Date: March 2001
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