Renaissance Program: Religious Education Leadership Training
The Renaissance Program provides Unitarian Universalist (UU) Religious Educators a learning community within which they can easily access applicable skills and tools. The program offers twelve differently-themed modules, many of which are available in an online format with some being offered in-person. While these modules are a major component of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Religious Education (RE) Credentialing Program, they may be taken separately for general professional development. Renaissance Certification is achieved after the successful completion of five modules. Though developed for religious educators, religious professionals holding any portfolio in a UU setting may benefit from these educational opportunities. The following modules may be taken in any order:
- Administration as Leadership
- Adult Faith Development and Programming
- Curriculum Planning
- Ministry with Youth
- Multicultural Religious Education
- Philosophy of Religious Education
- Teacher Development
- Unitarian Universalist History (online only)
- Unitarian Universalist Identity
- Unitarian Universalist Theology (online only)
Similar to Renaissance modules, these other trainings are specifically geared towards staff teams of religious professionals, and can be used in the RE Credentialing portfolio:
- Family Ministry training
- Innovation for Shared Leadership training (expected in Spring 2019)
Explore the components of each Renaissance module and other trainings on the Renaissance module resources page. Some modules are available in online or hybrid formats. Regardless of format, Renaissance modules are organized and scheduled by a sponsoring group; view the calendar here.
In-person modules are designed to accommodate between 10 to 24 participants; online modules are limited to 15 participants. Renaissance Modules are open to all those interested in religious education leadership including seminary students, ministers, RE committee members and other lay leaders. Congregations support the Religious Educator by providing funding for registration and time off to attend.
Planning a Renaissance Module
Renaissance modules can be offered by regional staff, summer camps or conference centers, individual or clusters of congregations or professional organizations such as Liberal Religious Educators (LREDA) or Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA). If you are interested in sponsoring a Renaissance module, please contact the renaissance [at] uua [dot] org (Renaissance Office).
The UUA will provide names of qualified leaders as well as program materials, while the sponsoring group is responsible for registrations, publicity, local arrangements for hosting the module as well as leader expenses. Most modules require reading and preparation in advance which is the responsibility of each participant to complete. This information can be found in the Module Resources section.
At least six months before the anticipated date of the module, read the Renaissance Module Planning Guide (Word) and consider the following items a priority:
- Identify which of the available modules you wish to offer
- Set the date and secure a module location
- Establish a planning group that will give the needed support
- Identify and confirm two Leaders
- Designate a Coordinator
- Contact the Renaissance Program Office with any questions.
The cost of a Renaissance module is shared by the participants and the sponsoring group. Details of the cost breakdown are in the planning guide. The registration fee is determined by the local planning committee, based on its estimates of the conference costs. The conference budget must include:
- Honoraria for the leaders (the minimum honorarium is $600 per leader)
- Meals and accommodations
- Leader expenses including travel and accommodations.
When a participant has completed five modules (75 hours of Renaissance training), the Renaissance Program will send a Letter of Recognition and a Renaissance pin, in appreciation of the time that has been given in the service of quality religious education for our children, youth and adults. A participant may include these five modules and any additional modules toward completion of the Religious Education Credentialing Program.
It is strongly recommended that congregations give financial support to a Religious Educator who is attending on their behalf. For those in the RE Credentialing program, the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) offers scholarships.
Becoming a Renaissance Leader
The usual path to becoming a Renaissance Leader is:
- As a participant, take the Renaissance Module you are interested in leading
- Apply to become a Leader-in-Training (LIT):
- Complete a self-assessment using the Leader-in-Training evaluation form (the form is designed as an “after” module evaluation and is also used for the initial self-assessment.)
- Obtain a recommendation from regional staff or LREDA chapter leadership; someone who is familiar with your work as a leader or facilitator. The recommendation should include information such as how long they’ve known you, in what capacity, and why they think you’d be a strong leader. Recommendation should be sent with “Leader-in-Training Endorsement” in the subject line to renaissance [at] uua [dot] org.
- Once all application materials are submitted, the LIT goes on the Leader-in-Training list and waits for an opportunity to be placed with an experienced leader as modules are scheduled.
- Once LIT has co-led a module, the experienced leader completes the LIT evaluation form and feedback is provided to the LIT. Depending on feedback from leader and from participants, an additional placement as LIT may be required.
- With a successful evaluation, LIT gets placed on the leader list.