Call and Response: Journeys in UU Lifespan Faith Development

UUCA’s RE Volunteer Orientation: The Movie!

By Michelle Bishop

Watch this video, created by Michelle Bishop to orient UUCA's volunteer RE teachers.

Have you noticed how life seems to be getting more and more hectic lately? As a person who spends a lot of time working with volunteers, I certainly have. If I can find a date/time that works for 50% of my volunteer teachers and me, I consider that a win!

At the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta we have tried various avenues to reach all of our volunteers. Two years ago we offered trainings at the beginning of each trimester (we had 4 trimesters—long story). Last year, after being enchanted with an easy-to-use video-making format during the UU History Renaissance module, I created a video.

Four young children wearing masks at UUC of Emerson, Marietta, GA

Volunteer leaders are crucial to many religious education programs! Can video help us train them?

The video (which you can watch in the sidebar of this page) was designed for volunteers who were unable to attend the congregation’s large scale orientation event or who join the teaching team later in the program year. It shares nuts and bolts information and some helpful hints on what is expected from them and what is available to them in the form of support.

Extensive beta testing was conducted to ensure appropriate pacing, information accessibility, and visual appeal. The video has been used with volunteers both as a standalone and in conjunction with the main in-person training. In the training, it provides a jumping-off point into deeper or more complicated topics like classroom management or the importance of ritual and relationship-building in the classroom.

I presented a workshop at RE Week @ The Mountain this past summer on the creation of this video. Other religious educators were excited about using this video format in parent orientations and making a video to show in place of the story for all ages. But most of the conversation was about how fun it would be to have middle school or high school students creating (and using each week) a video explaining their class covenant.

Next Steps!

Our teacher volunteer video was created with powtoon software. Once you download powtoon, I will be able to share our video with you and you will be able to edit it to use in many congregational settings. Contact me,, if you would like me to email you a copy.