Professional Religious Educators
Religious exploration (RE) programs are often overseen by religious prefessionals, in collaboration with a team of volunteers. The program leader is often called the director of religious exploration (DRE), but across the country we have directors of lifespan learning, directors of spiritual exploration, and more. Other RE staff may include youth and children’s program coordinators, RE assistants, and childcare providers.
Depending on the size of the congregation and the scope of the program, professional religious educators may be responsible for program development, volunteer recruitment and supervision, worship, Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education, communications, budget oversight, family ministry, and more.
Canadian Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators (CUURE)
There are rich opportunities for networking and resource sharing amongst religious educators in Canada. An organization, Canadian Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators (CUURE) is a collegial group. They offer regular opportunities for those doing this work to connect so that they can provide support to one another, help identify barriers to success and to identify successful strategies and approaches. Send an email to join the google group where the members of this group connect and network.
Becoming a Religious Educator
Religious educators come from many backgrounds. Some are credentialed, but most congregations do not require any specific educational program or certification. But they must have a wide range of skills and knowledge! If you’re planning to become a religious educator, you should become familiar with the following fields and topics, if you aren’t already:
- Administration, including recruiting and managing volunteers
- Communication technology and social media
- Writing skills
- Our Whole Lives sexuality education
- Pastoral care
- Safe Congregations
- Stages of faith development
- Worship service planning and leading
- Youth ministry
The Unitarian Universalist Association’s Renaissance Program, a major component of the credentialing program, offers standardized training in many of these areas. Once you are serving as a religious educator you can apply for the full credentialing program, which includes being matched with a mentor. The Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) also offers professional support and resources for all religious educators.