Fall Conference

Save the Date: LREDA Fall Conference  Virtual from 6-10th Nov 2024

More info coming soon!

LREDA Fall Conference 2023: Milwaukee & Online 

LREDA Fall Conference 2023: Make a Joyful Noise! Celebrate / Play / Resist

 Wed October 11th - Sun October 15th

UU religious education colleagues from across the continent joined us for our 2023 Fall Conference: Make A Joyful Noise! Celebrate / Play / Resist in Milwaukee, WI, from October 11th - 15th in downtown Milwaukee. 

We Celebrated the power of rest, play, and resistance through multi-platform worship, workshops, and identity programming that helped us engage with some of the most pressing issues in UU religious education today: creating spaces for meaningful & joyful connection, leading for anti-racism in majority-white spaces, and supporting LGBTQIA+ families & resisting anti-trans legislation. 

We offered curated rest & play spaces for IBPOC attendees, and trans attendees, respectively, while those with majority identities learned. Social and spiritual time together rounded out our annual conference, along with the UU Identity Renaissance Module offered immediately following the conference. 

Recorded conference content is available to attendees via email and in our Conference Facebook Group and Discord Channel.

Scroll down to see Slides from our Sponsors!

Conference Highlights

Worship with Beverly Horton

As last year, Beverly was our Worship leader. 

Beverly has been a UU for 23 years and a member of the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, Ontario, CA, for nearly as long. She has been active in the leadership at her congregation most squarely focused on music ministry and has extended that leadership to the broader denominational context, serving as the co-chair of the Nominating Committee for AUUMM (the Association of UU Music Ministries) and co-chair of the Dismantling Racism Study Group of the Canadian Unitarian Council. Delivering sermons and crafting services for UU congregations, speaking at the Hamilton branch of the UU United Nations Organization, and facilitating workshops at CUC conferences and gatherings, Beverly actively advocates for our individual and collective commitment to dismantling racism and achieving racial justice made manifest in the Beloved Community.

On Friday we visited America's Black Holocaust Museum

ABHM builds public awareness of the harmful legacies of slavery and Jim Crow in America and promotes racial repair, reconciliation, and healing. Our Friday afternoon presenter, Reggie Jackson, is the ABHM's Consulting Griot.

On Friday morning, in-person attendees visited America's Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM), a 30 minute walk (or 11 min transit ride) from the conference hotel.  The museum offers online exhibits for our online attendees.

find out more about the museum here

'Racism 301: A Deeper Dive into Anti-Racism Work' with Reggie Jackson, Co-Founder, Nurturing Diversity Partners (Friday 1:30-6:00 CT)

 We explored how to bring racial justice work to our congregations beyond book clubs and discussion groups, and engage deeply in the next steps that take us beyond introspection and into action. Reggie brought a wealth of both academic and community knowledge, and helped us engage with our own community racial histories and live into our organizational commitment to the 8th Principle.

A curated rest and play space was available for our IBPOC attendees during this workshop.

Reggie Jackson has been a much sought-after speaker and published writer for over a decade. Reggie specializes in sharing seldom-told stories and facts about the experiences of African-Americans and other peoples of color past and present. He is a Co-Founder and Lead Trainer/Consultant for Nurturing Diversity Partners, a consulting firm that fosters diversity, inclusion, and equity within institutions and communities.

Pre-Work for our Anti-Racism Day on Friday for our White Attendees

Reggie recommended the following content for our white attendees to watch and read. 

Viewing from World Trust TV:


Trans Justice and Resilience Workshop with Alex Kapitan, Co-Leader, Transforming Hearts Collective (Saturday 1-4 CT)

Trans communities are under attack—with breathtaking speed, nearly half of all U.S. states have now passed laws to outlaw best-practice medical care for trans and nonbinary youth and ban trans students from playing sports, in addition to a raft of other anti-trans laws. This is a terrifying and life-threatening time for trans people, and Unitarian Universalists are called to respond.

We learned about the current threats to trans people and what UU leaders and congregations can do to advocate for trans justice and also create spaces of safety and resilience for trans people of all ages in our congregations. Both are deeply needed. This workshop was led by Alex Kapitan.

A curated rest and play space was available for our trans/nonbinary attendees during this workshop.

Alex Kapitan (ze/per) is a trans and queer lifelong Unitarian Universalist with a long history of supporting UU congregations in becoming places of radical welcome for all. Ze is the co-founder of the Transforming Hearts Collective and the co-leader of the program Trans Inclusion in Congregations, and previously served on the steering committee of TRUUsT, the organization of trans UU religious professionals.

The Unexpected Journey with Rev. Mr. Barb Greve (Saturday Evening, 7-9 CT)

On Saturday evening we visited the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee for a dessert buffet and a talk from Rev. Mr. Barb Greve.

Life is a journey, no doubt about it. Often that journey takes us to unexpected places with twists and turns that bring surprises around every corner. For Barb, Unitarian Universalism has been at the center, for better or worse. Join him as he reflects on 50+ years of journeying with our faith and profession.

This talk was live streamed for our online attendees!

Our dessert buffet was by Pound for Pound Cakes by Nesha.

Thursday All Day: In Person & Online Workshops

  • The Name of the Game! with Rev. Craig Schwalenberg and Kathy Smith (In-Person & Online) - Games are more than just a fun diversion. They can promote community and deepen understanding in our worship, in the classroom, in business meetings, and in social gatherings. Role-Playing Games, used properly and intentionally, can allow us to explore possibilities and try on new identities. Come, let's play a game and make meaning together. As Your Game Minister, Rev. Craig offers a game ministry to congregations and wider community, exploring where spirituality and play cross paths and facilitation games for growth. He is an affiliated Community Minister with the Church of the Larger Fellowship. Find out more at YourGameMinister.com. Kathy has served as a religious educator for nearly 20 years, Kathy is dedicated to faith formation for all ages. She is an on-line moderator, a curriculum author, and the Director of Family Ministry at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge. Together, they are co-authors of the RPG-themed social justice curriculum, Building a Better World: What Role Will You Play?
  • Music as Play & Renewal with Emily Richards (In-Person Only) - Explore the various ways that we can use music as a source of joyful connection and renewal. Lift your voices as we share ideas to engage our youngest members and families, silly circle songs and games, song tales and music for worship, as well as music for relaxation and spiritual deepening. With a focus on our voices as our natural instrument, this workshop will explore the myriad avenues that we, as religious educators, have to bring music into our programming in a meaningful, and fun way. Emily is the Director of Congregational Life and Director of Religious Exploration, at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca. With a passion for the important work of ministry, a background in music education, and many years of administrative experience, she feels fortunate to be able to use her talents and expertise to help create community and connection. Emily is also a mom to two girls, a choral conductor and singer, and a lover of cooking, nature, and all things geeky.
  • An introduction to Spirit Play with Rev. Jennifer Innis (In-Person & Online) Spirit Play is a Montessori-based UU program of religious education, based on story, ritual, play and creativity. Spirit Play gives children the tools to make meaning of their lives within the container of Unitarian Universalism.  Jennifer is the settled Minister at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria and is a certified Spirit Play Trainer.
  • Board Games and Congregational Life with Tim Atkins (In-Person Only) - Tim is the LREDA Board Secretary and serves as the Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration for the First Unitarian Church in Oklahoma City. He currently serves on the UUA Nominating Committee and has previously served as a UUA Trustee, the Church of the Larger Fellowship as their Director of Social Media, and as a youth advisor and Religious Education teacher at his former home congregation in Atlanta.
  • Play in Worship: Brain, Body and Soul Work with Joy Berry (In-Person Only) - Soul Work sought to elevate and expand on the concept of “fidget work/busy bags” for use in worship and classroom settings by curating resources to integrate findings in neuroscience. We can help focus the mind, calm the body, and promote comprehension – while subverting the dominant paradigm about “what attention looks like” - with handwork that looks and feels like PLAY… for all ages! Joy Berry is the Children and Families Faith Development Specialist in the UUA's Lifespan Faith Engagement office. As a professional religious educator, she served congregations in three states. Most recently, as the interim director of The Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard, her focus was innovative practices in faith formation and equipping congregations for culture change with resources and curricula that center faith formation for all.
  • Art as Play with Jekaren Olaoya (In-Person Only) - "Art as Play" is an innovative workshop that redefines the creative process by encouraging participants to embrace spontaneity and playfulness in their artistic endeavors. Through a series of interactive exercises and guided activities, attendees unlock their inner creativity and discover new ways to express themselves through various art forms. This experience fosters a deeper connection between individuals and their artistic passions, making art a joyful and liberating expression.
  • Play Stations with Rev. Tandi Rogers (Online only) - Play Stations are back and virtual. In 2014 Play Stations took over the LREDA Fall Con with tables filled with art supplies and invitations to gather with colleagues to play as a valid form of adult faith formation. There was a ball pit, yes, my friends. Virtually we will continue the energy and ideas. What could a virtual ball pit look like… Well, we’ll find out. Rev. Tandi Rogers is the Director of Spiritual Direction Formation & Certification at Meadville Lombard Theological School’s Leadership Institute for Growth, Healing & Transformation. She is a proud Credentialed Religious Educator, Leadership Level.
  • You don't Outgrow Play:  Play and Adult Faith Formation with Kirsten Hunter  (In-Person & Online) - Kirsten is the LREDA Board Member overseeing leadership development and is the Director of Lifespan Ministries at South Church Portsmouth, NH.
  • Praygrounds with Mx Katharine Childs (Online only) - Praygrounds are spaces in the sanctuary for little ones to play during worship. These spaces are designed to support the inclusion of young people as part of worship experiences. Learn about the theory and practice with LREDA's Board president Mx Katharine Childs.

Slides from our Sponsors:

LREDA Fall conFERENCE 2022:

Faith Made Real: Living the 8th Principle

October 12-16 2022

Content from last year's conference, including all presentations, worship services, and slides, are shared in the LREDA Member Resources Portal under 8th Principle Resources. To access this site you need to be a member of LREDA.

This conference was a deep dive into the work of the 8th Principle, grounded in Civil Rights History and included a visit to the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration

We had a great team of presenters and worship leaders. Our presenters were Dr. Paula Cole Jones and  Sheila Schuh. Rev. Denise Graves was our Spiritual Care Director, supporting our members through the conference. Beverly Horton and the Rev. Chris Long lead our worship services.

watch sheila & Paula talk about the conference

The conference content supported Religious Educators in their individual and congregational anti-racism and anti-oppression work. We engaged with strategies to dismantle white supremacy within our Unitarian Universalist spaces, and where our power lies to create a Unitarian Universalism where faith can be made real.

Religious Educators who are Black, Indigenous, and other members of the Global Majority were affirmed into a LREDA community of support, encouragement, and learning. 

White Religious Educators were challenged and stretched in their places of power and privilege.

Intentional space was made for people of all identities to process the feelings that arose during this conference. 

The LREDA Board committed to offering a conference that centered liberation, love and community care rooted in our Unitarian Universalist faith.

About the Legacy Museum

The conference included a visit to the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL.

The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration is situated on a site in Montgomery where Black people were forced to labor in bondage. Blocks from one of the most prominent slave auction spaces in America, the Legacy Museum is steps away from the rail station where tens of thousands of Black people were trafficked during the 19th century.

About the lreda fall conference

Our Fall Conference generally occurs in the fall with over three days of special programming, including a keynote speaker, worship, a variety of workshops, and special interest meetings, Good Officer training, and the latest resources- all with the goal of educating, networking, and connecting religious educators from across the continent.  Your ideas for future themes and names of speakers can be emailed to Courtney at  continentalevents@lreda.org ,  and they will be considered by the Board and the Fall Con Planning Team.  Click on any of the hashtags below to view resources & videos from past Fall Cons.

Widening the Circle


Theologies of Suffering & Wholeness


Changing the Narrative