Call and Response: Journeys in UU Lifespan Faith Development

Who Said UU History Can’t Be Fun?

By Pat Kahn

The first completely online Renaissance module, UU History, has now been offered four times, including the field test in 2013. Participants have given glowing reports on the online learning format as well as the breadth and depth of the module’s content. It seems that using technology to explore history makes a good match.

Emmie Schlobohm, Director of Religious Exploration for Children and Youth at the Boise (Idaho) UU Fellowship, summed it up nicely:

I definitely learned more and will be able to use what I learned in my work in this module because of the process time and the pace of the class. The webinar format was ideal for connecting across the miles. I feel like I have deepened existing friendships and made a couple of new friends and colleagues over the last few months.

…From the first session (Heretics), I was hooked! During the course of the class, I almost filled an entire spiral notebook with notes and ideas for integrating the stories into my work with children and youth. The gift of this module was to take me out of the daily administrative tasks and allow me to explore the more creative side of my ministry.

The module consists of eight 90-minute webinars; each requires two to three hours preparation and response through reading, writing a 250-word reflection, and exercises.

Like most Renaissance modules, the UU history module has a final project and presentation, which participants may do individually or collaboratively. Projects may be done in any medium, but participants must be able to share them online. The projects have been very creative, with a wide range of ways to make aspects of UU history engaging and meaningful. Here is just a sampling:

  • Mr. Barb Greve and Sadie Kahn-Greene developed interactive timelines when they participated in the field test of the module. Visit their timelines on these UU History topics: Founders, Reformers, Humanists, Making Life Religious, or The Living Tradition.
  • Jennifer Harvilak created a UU History interactive lapbook. Watch the YouTube video.
  • Chris Johns wrote a play (Word), ”UU History Mysteries, or How to Chalice Travel.”
  • Theresa Pizzuto created a Spirit Play lesson plan (Word) about Olympia Brown.
  • Katy Siepert created a website to introduce an eight-week religious education program, “The Heretics Parade.”

The possibilities are endless!

A new online Renaissance module, UU Theology, will be available later this spring. And we have begun to experiment with “hybrid” modules (some online sessions and one in-person gathering). The Adult Faith Development hybrid is underway in Maryland. The Curriculum hybrid is scheduled to start in May 2015, with the in-person day scheduled at the close of the UUA General Assembly in Portland OR.

Renaissance modules are open to all those interested in religious education leadership, including seminarians, ministers, religious education committee members as well as UU directors of religious education, professional religious educators, and volunteer teachers.

Next Steps

Check the calendar for upcoming Renaissance modules, on the UUA website.

Explore the UU History module leader guide on the Renaissance module resources page.

If you are interested in organizing a module, contact

About the Author

Pat Kahn

Pat Kahn served as the Professional Development Programs Manager in the Faith Development Office, with responsibilities that include the RE Credentialing Program, the Music Leader Certification Program and the Renaissance Program. She worked for the UUA in November, 2011 until June, 2019 as the...


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Servetus slide from MrBarbGreve timeline

A slide from the interactive timeline on heresy in UU history presented by Mr. Barb Greve and Sadie Kahn-Greene.
Jen Harvilak UU History interactive lapbook

Director of Religious Education Jennifer Harvilak applied learning from the online UU History module to her interactive lapbook project.