Message from our Director of Religious Education
LREDA Conference 2017
Although I have said it in a number of venues, I want to again thank the Board of Trustees for providing me the opportunity to attend my first Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Conference. This year's conference, held in Denver, was packed with excellent programming and time to network with my counterparts from across the US and Canada.
Of the 200 attendees this year, 50 were first-timers. That was apparently a record. So it was with a great deal of consternation that the LREDA leadership learned that two speakers hired to present a program were causing harm and discomfort to people of color, some white participants, and others with marginalized identities. People spoke up, they were heard, and I got to experience what I believe is how our faith works its way through a mess. I am glad I was there.
LREDA President, Annie Scott, on behalf of the Board, wrote the following as part of a letter to all LREDA members, post conference:
“While we deeply regret the pain inflicted on participants of color and others, what emerged was a lived collective experience of what dismantling white supremacy and centering the experiences of people of color and others with marginalized identities looks and feels like.”
I was able to experience firsthand restorative circles and racial identity caucusing groups. I am grateful for that experience. I look forward to incorporating many aspects of the wide variety of resources and materials I learned at the conference into our RE programs. I have a new set of go-to fellow professionals to correspond with and bounce ideas off. I am fired up!